Aldo Zilli Interview - San Carlo expand to Cheshire

Marcello Distefano and Aldo Zilli

Marcello Distefano and Aldo Zilli - Credit: Archant

Cheshire Resident caught up with Aldo Zilli as leading italian restaurant group San Carlo opened its doors in Cheshire.

The latest of the 13 UK restaurants which include the popular San Carlo and San Carlo Cicchetti on Manchester’s King Street West, will be known to locals as iconic Hale restaurant, Players.

Aldo, who is San Carlo’s Chef Consilere has become something of a regular visitor to the North West as San Carlo’s expansion continues apace. So we wanted to find out what makes him tick.

1. What was the first thing you ever cooked? How old were you where was it?

The first thing I cooked was gnocchi with Mamma Maria in her kitchen at the tender age of eight, and I still love it to this day!

2. What made you want to become a chef?

The reason I wanted to become a chef is that it allowed me to travel the world and express my talent in many different countries. The thing I love is being able to express myself through food and not having to necessarily speak the lingo.

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3. Do you have a food philosophy?

My food philosophy is to use great seasonal ingredients and keep your cooking simple.

4. Where do you like to eat?

I love eating out as cooking at home is a bit like a busman’s holiday for me! Usually I would go for Oriental Asian or Pan-Asian cuisine as I cook a lot of Mediterranean food myself.

5. Who is your favourite dining companion?

My favourite dining companion in business is Mr. Carlo Distefano from The San Carlo Group. He is as critical as me and normally chooses really great restaurants and also loves great wines. But usually it would be Nikki, my gorgeous wife, keeping me company and she is also quite fussy about food so we usually end up chatting about the restaurant all night.

6. What is your favourite dish?

I actually don’t really have a specific favourite dish but if I am going to eat Italian then very simply a thin crust pizza cooked in a wood burning stove, topped with buffalo mozzarella, culatello ham and wild rocket, yum – cheap date!

7. What do you think of restaurants in Manchester?

Manchester is thriving with restaurants but the San Carlo Group is very hot in this great city as they now have five different restaurants and are full of great customers!

8. What do you like about the North West?

The northwest is definitely my favourite part of England as I love the people; everyone is so much friendlier than in busy London

9. If you could cook for anyone living or dead who would it be?

If I could cook for anyone it definitely would be Princess Diana as I was a massive fan of hers and miss her still now.

10. What next for Aldo Zilli?

What’s next for Aldo Zilli? Well, I don’t know where to start! If I told you, I would have to shoot you! Buon Appetito!

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