How has your Italian heritage and Brazilian upbringing influenced your cooking?
I’ve being making gnocchi with my mother since I was five years old. Apart from that, not much of my heritage influenced my cooking. I moved to England when I was 19 and all my professional training was done here. I do not know how to cook a single traditional Brazilian dish, although I cook a lot of Italian food at home.
What would you say is the inspiration behind the dishes you create?
All my inspiration comes from ingredients, travels and eating out a lot. I think it’s really hard to come up with a completely new idea. I always mix different ideas, combine them then add my personal touch to it.
How did you feel when you received a Michelin star and then retained it in the latest guide?
I was so happy for the team. It has been a very difficult year for us and they put in a massive effort. We were not really expecting this, due to the departure of previous executive chef. When I got the invitation for the dinner, it came as a surprise. Obviously, it is one of the best feelings ever. However, the day after, we were already thinking about retaining it for next year. Overall, we probably experienced two days of happiness and 352 of concentration and hard work.
What are your plans for the future of The Dining Room?
To keep evolving the food and the collaboration with the front-of-house team. We have a very clear idea who we are as a concept and what our guests expect when they come to eat at The Goring. However, I have always believed there is room for improvement.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career?
I think most of us chefs were given the same advice when we were young, which is the same advice I give to my chefs today. Turn up early, put your head down and work hard. Be a better listener than you are a talker. Work clean and organised. However, if I had to single out one piece of advice, it would be to stay humble. Always look back to remind yourself where you came from.
Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?
All my previous chefs had a huge influence on me: Julian O’Neill, Dale Osborne, David Gingell. However, the most influential person throughout my career is Yvonnick Lalle. His organisation skills, product knowledge and discipline are unbelievable. I spent five years working for him at Marc Restaurants and I still ask for his advice when I have doubts in my head.
What ingredient can you not live without and why?
As a chef there is not really an ingredient that I cannot live without. But let’s say I could not live without salt!
What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without
My headphones. Even when I am not listening to music, it cancels all the noise from the outside so I can have some peace in the airport or plane.
Where is your favourite place to eat in London and why?
The best meal I have had in London was at Umu but I haven’t been there for a long time. I don’t repeat restaurants very often but I have to say that Barrafina is my favourite spot. Every time I’m wondering around central London and don’t know where to eat, I always end up there. You can’t go wrong: simplicity and flavours at their best.
What do you like to do on a day off?
I like to wake up a bit late, go out and have some food, nothing fancy. Maybe go to the cinema in the afternoon and a cocktail bar in the evening.
Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
Travel. I am away every single opportunity I get. I also love football. Not playing as much as I used to but I can’t miss a Spurs match.
If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?
Anthony Bourdain, the greatest storyteller of the modern era. Also my cousins, brother and uncle are up there with the most incredible people to be around a table – the funniest group of people I have ever met.