Can you tell us something about your studies?
I was born and grown in Montepulciano, in the province of Siena. During my studies at the Pellegrino Artusi hotel school in Chianciano Terme, I was lucky enough to transform what was a simple interest in the world of hospitality and catering into a real passion, also going to work in in nearby area during the summer months.
What about your career path?
After completing my studies, I decided to move to Florence because I had the desire to deal with the restaurant realities of the big city hotels and what was supposed to be just a professional stage for me has turned into my new home.
Each experience was obviously formative, not only on the professional side, but also on the human side. After 3 years spent at Palazzo Ricasoli, I had the opportunity to work at the Onice Restaurant of Villa la Vedetta, 5 stars Relais & Chateaux in Piazzale Michelangelo, together with David Materassi and the Executive Chef Stefano Santo. After that, I spent 12 months at Villa le Maschere on Lake Bilancino, another 5-star, Small Luxury Hotel of the World. This experience was crucial as I worked with Alessio Ziviani, who later became Restaurant Manager at the Grand Hotel Villa Cora in Florence and a person who allowed me to follow him in this experience, proposing to be his assistant and Giampiero Puddu, formerly a Restaurant Facility manager.
After 2 years at Villa Cora and all my professional life spent in a hotel, I had the desire to live my job in a restaurant and after a short interlude in a start-up in Signa, I joined the staff of Ristorante Ora d’Aria, 1 Michelin Star. Here, Chef Marco Stabile, gave me the opportunity to follow the sommelier service at the tables, while, at the same time, I was following the A.I.S training course.
Then, in 2017, I joined the staff of the Brunelleschi Hotel as Assistant to the Restaurant Manager Domenico Napolitano, and today, I have the task of carrying on the concept of hospitality and catering that we have at Brunelleschi.
What exactly does your job consist of?
Making hospitality and catering to the best of one’s ability.
If I had to summarize it briefly, I would say: “Knowing, Knowing how to be, Knowing how to do”.
How do you manage a room in a 2 Michelin Star restaurant?
I think in the same way of how the rooms of each restaurant are managed, that is with passion, dedication, self-denial, attention, desire to try one’s hand and a natural predisposition to make people feel good; but the list would be much longer…
What do you like most about your job?
What I like is the work itself, the organization of environments and tasks, the service standards, the study of the dishes, the ability to know how to convey them, to be able to fit all the movements and passages of the service as if they were gears of a watch. Everything we do and build depends on us. Everyone is important.
What do you like most about the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant?
Well, in this case, I can say that I saw him grow, becoming part of it to help the team. I feel like it’s mine.
What is it that makes the difference in your work?
We are human beings, so I would say empathy.
It allows us to immediately get to know our interlocutor, capturing signals about his personality and his tastes. It allows us to model the service, in terms of dialogue but also of timing and therefore to intervene in a tailored manner with each Guest.
What is your typical day?
As soon as I arrive, I go around the departments to greet my colleagues, trying to convey positivity and breathe it from them. With a joke or a tease you always start well….Then you have to concentrate. I look at the environments and what needs to be done to be online before the service. I dedicate myself to scrolling through the emails and checking reservations, in order to have an overall view of the day to be able to organize any extra activities to be assigned and carry out all the tasks in compliance with the work shift. I dedicate the afternoon to the longer-term planning aspects. Before the evening service, we stop with all the dining room and kitchen staff for an in-depth briefing. At this point, we start the service and the fun begins.
What do you like to do in your free time to recharge?
I have always been a very sporty person and today I suffer a little from this lack.
In my little free time, I really like doing free body physical activity, but I am not a lover of gyms. I dedicate myself to some gardening in my small green space at home, spending time with family and seeing old friends again.
Do you take care of the selection for the wine list yourself?
The world of wine fascinates me a lot and I like to be able to create a wine list that goes well with our Chef’s cuisine and that is also very personal, that can tell who we are.
I have been involved in the wine list since my arrival at Brunelleschi, first with the previous Restaurant Manager Napolitano and today I carry it on together with the young sommelier of the restaurant, Lorenzo Paoli.
What philosophy guides the research and selection of wines?
We wanted to choose wines that represented us, that told a story of the territory and, not least, that were a good marriage with our dishes.
What we are looking for today are wines marked more on elegance and freshness, on their enjoyment, but a wine list must also be able to satisfy every palate.
In a certain way, we can say that any wine list will never be a finished work.
Can you tell us something about the Santa Elisabetta wine list?
Ours is a young restaurant and our cellar is too.
Over the years, it has been turned upside down several times, focusing on areas or vines that we thought we needed to implement.
Today we are focusing on giving a more international breath and a greater depth of vintages.
Which dish and pairing would you recommend today at Santa Elisabetta?
For those who sit at our table today I would like to recommend the linguina creamed with a seaweed butter, sea urchins, tuna bottarga and bergamot. We combine it with a glass of Monte Rossa Franciacorta brut Nature “Coupé” (mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) with good structure and complexity to cleanse the palate and accompany the hints of citrus.
Why should a customer choose the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant?
I think ours is a place where there is a lot of freedom of expression, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, and this certainly leads every employee to feel important and part of a family, and then find themselves giving their best during the service. . I believe that this is our strength and that the Guests who sit at our tables breathe our freedom.
Freedom that turns into continuous research and change, so those who return can always find something different.