Calabrian born Francesco Mazzei was raised with a passion for food, often in the family kitchen baking bread and making pasta with his nonna and mamma.Francesco had his first taste of the professional kitchen working in his uncle’s Gelateria where he had mastered Italian cakes and gelato by the age of nine. It was at the age of fourteen where his natural talent was recognised by renowned Italian chef, Angelo Sabetto, who encouraged Francesco’s journey into becoming a chef himself. After having attended catering college in Calabria, Francesco moved to Rome in 1992 where he worked in the Grand Hotel until 1996 as a Sous Chef. Then moving to The Dorchester in Mayfair, London, cooking under Willi Elsener and Henri Brosi for4 years as Executive Sous Chef. Following his time in London, Mazzei returned to Rome to work at the Michelin-starred Eden Terazza (Sous Chef for 1year in 2001). He then moved on to open restaurants all over the world, between2004 – 2007 including the Santini Restaurants in London, Edinburgh and Milan, Anda with Alan Yau on Baker Street, Hakkasan (Istanbul and Miami) and Yauatcha. In 2006/7, Franco’s on Jermyn Street and Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s St Albanin 2007/8. .
L’Anima, Francesco’s first restaurant opened in London in 2008 (until 2015) with a menu inspired by traditional cooking from Calabria, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia. Francesco went on to release his first cookbook Mezzogiorno: Francesco Mazzei Recipes from Southern Italy and became a regular feature on BBC shows including Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef,The James Martin Show and on the Italian edition of Hell’s Kitchen with Carlo Cracco.
In 2015, Francesco took up a position as Chef Patron at D&D’s Sartoria on SavileRowe in Mayfair. His restaurant Radici opened in 2017, showcasing simpleCalabrian cooking in a relaxed and rustic Islington site. Francesco (also in2017), opened Fiume in Battersea, is inspired by southern Italian flavours from the coastal regions and islands off Italy including the Amalfi coast, Sardinia and Sicily, the modern Italian restaurant overlooks the Thames.
Francesco is currently chef consultant for restaurants and hotels around the world.