Hi Sebi! You're Italian, tell us about your background and how you ended up in Stockholm.
I grew up in Rome and was thrown off course at the age of 17. Football was my great interest and I got in touch with a supporters' club, which spent all its time fighting. Things could have gone very wrong, but my mother gave me an opportunity to show that I wanted to make things right. I was offered a job at Exedra Roma, a 5-star hotel in Rome where my mother was the F&B manager. I had no restaurant experience, except that I grew up in Italy and food is a big part of our culture.
How nice of your mother. How did it go?
I ended up in the kitchen of Domenico. He was the head chef, managed over 15 chefs and took me under his wing. I really wanted to do the right thing and show my mother that I had changed. In three years I evolved, both as a chef and as a person. For the first time in my life, I felt passionate and fell in love with cooking and restaurant life. I saw chefs as rock stars... the hard work, late nights, a glass of wine and socializing afterwards.
How did you end up leaving Italy for London?
At the time, most of the good restaurants in Rome were family owned and I felt that you had to be related to go far. I ended up at Soho House in London and became the youngest sous chef ever at Soho House, I was 24 at the time. When I wasn't working, I was watching Gordon Ramsay, it was important for me to be a real shut-up chef, but I realized that I also needed to improve my English.
On the way to Pas d’Art you've been to a lot of star restaurants.
I've done internships and worked in several fantastic star restaurants, both in London, Rome and here in Stockholm. These include Fat Duck, La Pergola, Franzén and Ekstedt. I also spent some time at Oaxen. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with Stockholm and Scandinavia, it's absolutely fantastic that you can go fifteen minutes from the city and be in the forest.
What made you choose Pas d’Art?
It was one hundred percent the individuals. I feel a huge amount of confidence and am now 110% in the right place.
You have only been here for 2 months, but a lot has already happened!
Yes, more or less the whole menu has changed. We work more in season and more with local producers. It is also important for me that we work with exciting techniques. The processes take more time, a sauce can take several days with different steps. There should be more taste and more color! Above all, I want more interaction around the tables, the guests should share and taste more of each other.
The new menu has been really well received. What's the secret?
I have definitely listened to what the owners want, what their vision for the restaurant is. But most importantly, I made the new menu together with my team. They have to love what they cook and serve, only then will it be good! But this is just the beginning. I see this as a long project, investing in myself and in this restaurant. We will be together for a long time!
What do you want your guests to feel when they leave Pas d’Art?
I want them to leave talking about how great the food was. That people smiled and that we had fun!
How do we know your Italian blood in cooking?
Besides renaming the restaurant Padearto? Haha! Of course, I am to some extent influenced by Italian cooking, but what I mainly bring with me is that it should be playful, without various restrictions. We don't have to be a 100% French restaurant, we can dare to be playful about it.
Where do you eat and drink when you are free?
I like small restaurants and wine bars - where you get a great experience.
What do you miss about Italy?
The sun. The international atmosphere. Sitting on the street in Trastevere and drinking wine with strangers. Here you have to be careful that the police don't come if I start talking to someone I don't know while drinking my coffee, haha!
Thanks Sebi, we love that you are part of the Brasserie group.