68 | squaremeal.co.uk
rancesco Mazzei's name is known to
thousands of people who will never
eat in his restaurants but have tasted
his food nonetheless. Not because
they've made a recipe from one of his
cookbooks (his �rst, Mezzogiorno, isn't
out until next month) or dined at L'Anima,
the bluechip City Italian where he was chef
patron until earlier this year. Nor is it because
they're looking forward to his arrival at
Sartoria, the Savile Row restaurant owned
by DD London that Mazzei is set to revive
when it reopens in November.
No, they know Mazzei's name because
it's there on the menu at Pizza Express, right
above the Calabrese pizza that he created
for the omnipresent chain six years ago,
introducing the British high street to what has
now become the most famous ingredient
of his native Calabria: the spicy, spreadable
sausage called 'nduja.
After seven years cooking southern Italian food in the City,
chef Francesco Mazzei's aim is to bring the best food from
all over his native Italy to his new home on Savile Row
WORDS BEN MCCORMACK
"In Calabria they call me 'King 'Nduja',"
Mazzei laughs. "They treat me like a superstar:
every time I go home I'm on Rai TV. That pizza
has gone all around the world and the guys
who make the 'nduja do very well from it, it
gives jobs to 30 or 40 families. It's the best
compliment, not necessarily for a chef, but
for a person, when you do something good
and you really get something back which is
not money, it's not material - it's love and
respect. I think there is nothing better in life."
This pride in the best Italian ingredients
will continue at Sartoria. "The thing we keep
forgetting is how great, how simple, but at
the same time how sophisticated Italian
cuisine is. Italians don't complicate their lives
by putting things on the plate to look pretty.
We concentrate more on the ingredients.
We get crazy about ingredients, travelling
miles and miles to �nd the right tomato or
the right extra virgin olive oil."
"ITALIANS DON'T COMPLICATE THEIR LIVES BY PUTTING THINGS
ON THE PLATE TO LOOK PRETTY OR TO LOOK AMAZING. WE
CONCENTRATE MORE ON THE INGREDIENTS"
above PHOTOS: LYDIA EVANS, YUKI SUGUIRA