Aldo Zilli to host drive-in theatre at his Surrey home
- Credit: Archant
The star chef has opened up his estate to the public for a series of film screenings
To me, home is…
My house, Casa Zilli, in the village of Bletchingley near Redhill.
Tell us about your collaboration with Flix Drive hosting a selection of drive-in film screenings at your property this summer...
I’m a consultant to the restaurant business, and when lockdown came, I had to pack up completely. I started cooking for the local community, and it was so well received that people started reordering. My wife Nikki launched a candle range called Casa Zilli a couple of years ago, and I said to her: “Why don’t we expand that range into food?” Three months later, it’s turned into a very, very busy enterprise. My son Rocco makes the pizzas for it and my daughter Twiggy does all the labelling. When I was asked to do the drive-in film screenings, it was a no-brainer. I have 18 acres of land, and I had felt in light of lockdown that it needed to be used. We’re taking Casa Zilli food to the cars too!
You won the TV series Celebrity Hunted in 2019. What was the experience of being on the programme like?
It was intense between me and Jean-Christophe [Novelli, my partner on the show] because he was being difficult and I was being more difficult! At the beginning, we split up for a few hours — that never got shown — because we couldn’t take it any more! Then we decided that two was better than one, so we got back together and we won it. We’re very, very determined people and we come from a similar background, so it was intense.
- 1 Where to watch the Perseids meteor shower in East Anglia
- 2 The incredible Cornish stone structures with an exceptional history
- 3 5 wild swimming spots in Cheshire
- 4 National Afternoon Tea Week: 10 of the best tearooms in Kent
- 5 The 5 best spots for wild swimming in Somerset
- 6 4 of the best places for open water swimming in Hampshire
- 7 Hoards of spider crabs on Cornish beaches are not a danger to the public
- 8 11 pretty riverside pubs in Hertfordshire
- 9 Scotney Castle makes an appearance in Netflix's The Sandman
- 10 See inside this stunning Westonbirt home, on the market for £2.65 million
Where is your favourite place to spend time with the family in Surrey?
There are quite a few farm shops round here — we love going to those. My local fishmonger comes to outside Nutfield Priory every Friday and Saturday so I pick up all my fish from him, and the Priory Farm Butchery team are very good friends and I’ve called them to supply food for my customers.
Where is your favourite place to shop in Surrey?
I love garden centres. I grow all my vegetables and herbs with products from them — that’s my relaxing time. Priory Farm Nursery is a good one. I always go there — they’ve got everything I need.
Where do you go to unwind in Surrey?
I own a woodland, and I’ve created some spaces that I can go down to, relax in and take the children to. For Twiggy’s 12th birthday recently, we did a woodland trip with a specialist and 10 children.
Where’s the best place to eat and drink in Surrey?
Casa Zilli! We’re going to start doing socially-distanced pop-ups in my garden so you can come and savour Casa Zilli food at Casa Zilli.
Where’s the best place for a night out in Surrey?
I know it’s boring, but I don’t go out in Surrey! We’re very close to [comedian and actor] Bobby Davro, so he came here the other night and entertained all my friends. Me and my business mind said: “Why don’t we do this for real, then — have a comedy night?” He said: “That would be great!”, so we’re doing the first one in September.
If you could move anywhere in Surrey, where would it be?
If I was pushed to leave where I live now for any reason, then I would probably go back to the Guildford area where I used to live and hang out — around Guildford, Godalming, that kind of area — or Hampton Court way. We’re spoilt really in Surrey — we’ve got so many beautiful areas.
Describe your Surrey life in three words.
Green, inspirational and educational.
Flix Drive In screenings will be held at Casa Zilli from 29 July to 2 August. For more information and to book tickets, visit flixdrivein.co.uk and for more information about Casa Zilli, visit aldozilli.com