Alessandro has lived a life as a chef that nearly all other chefs would envy. He’s worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Italy, he moved to Australia and become Executive Chef at Sydney’s Park Hyatt. In 2009, he opened his own restaurant, Ormeggio at The Spit, which was included in The Australian’s prestigious Top 50 restaurants, and has held two coveted Chef’s Hats in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide since 2013. In 2014, Alessandro opened his second restaurant and he’s now even made his own cookbook entitled, “A Lombardian Cookbook”. With such a decorated career and with so many people saying they want to get into cooking on their Bucket Lists, we thought why not ask an expert. Here is what Alessandro had to say:
1. Where did your love of cooking start and how do you think others can find it?
Eating! I was lucky enough to have a nonna who was an amazing cook. I was always under her feet in the kitchen when she was cooking, eating as much as I could, and she instilled in me her passion for cooking, and the ability to use food to bring family together.
2. What was cooking like in the early days for you? It’s a hard industry to work you way up in, no?
Hard work, long hours, thankless tasks – and in Europe back then you mainly worked for just food and board to get the experience. You sure learned a lot though.
3. What does the average day in the kitchen look like?
Early starts for me as I’ve got to spread myself across the 4 restaurants. My role is more restaurateur than chef these days, so I’m managing people, finance, operations, logistics, relationships… Meetings with my teams, brainstorming and menu development, tasting, sourcing suppliers, setting and testing systems and procedures, etc. Then usually service in the evenings, at any one of the 4 venues, running the pass, working with the crew and meeting our guests.
4. What keeps you in the cooking industry?
The adrenalin, the great friendships, the constant learning, the hunger!
5.What’s been the biggest moment of your career so far?
Opening day of each venue always rates highly!
Earlier this year I invited Takahiko Kondo, the head chef of one of the world’s best restaurants, Osteria Francescana, to come to Australia and cook with us for some collaborative dinners, which was great.
And I’ll always mention Park Hyatt Sydney as a highlight – being Executive Chef there was fantastic.
6. Have you got three tips for anybody looking to get into cooking or being a professional chef?
You’ve got to be super organised, clean, fast and know your timings and deadlines. When you start your prep in the morning you can’t just think about the next service, you’ve also got to be on the ball for the next few days as you may have things you need to prep in advance that take time to make. An example would be bread – that’s a 3 day process when you are using sourdough, live cultures, hand shaping and all the other things that make it so delicious.
7. What’s next on your Bucket List?
A whole day off with my family.
It was a pleasure Alessandro, we hope to speak to you again in the future.
And we left it at that. If anybody wants to see what Alessandro has been doing please head over tohttp://www.alessandropavoni.com.au/ and follow him on Twitter: @AlexPavoni.