Francesco Mazzei hails from Calabria - the toe on Italy's boot and the region noted for producing n'duja (a spicy, spreadable pork sausage). Like n'duja, Mazzei has come to prominence in the last few years impressing fellow chefs, bloggers and critics alike. From making ice cream at his uncle's gelateria at the age of nine to working at London's prestigious Dorchester Hotel and on the pastry sections at Hakkasan and Yautcha, Mazzei has led a varied career that has straddled Rome, Edinburgh, London, Bangkok (where he opened an Italian restaurant at the Royal Sporting Club) and Calabria.
He opened L'Anima in 2008, which became one of the leading lights of London's collection of Italian restaurants - `Many lay claim to being number one Italian restaurant, but Francesco Mazzei's L'Amina has the edge' (The Observer, 2013). Signature dishes at L'Anima - such as Charcoal scallops with n'duja and salsa verde and Spit roast leg of lamb with cannellini beans and black cabbage - offer prime examples of a style that marries rustic Calabrian flavours with Modern European precision. His next project opens in Autumn 2015 with the relaunch of Sartoria in Mayfair.
This, his first book, is a straightforward `80 terrific southern Italian recipes' with an introduction to the food of Southern Italy.
Calabrian-born FRANCESCO MAZZEI is chef-patron of L'Anima, one of Britain's most celebrated Italian restaurants, and he launched L'Anima Cafe in the summer of 2014, the first of a new chain planned to expand over the next three years. Francesco appears regularly on Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef and he hosted the MasterChef celebrity final at L'Anima in 2014. He is a regular in Waitrose Magazine and in 2010 launched a new range for Pizza Express: starters, Insalate semplice and Tricolore and four mains. He is a promotion partner with Electrolux and is working on his first TV series on southern Italian cooking.