Luigi Cagnin, The Ritz London

The Staff Canteen
Luigi Cagnin

Luigi Cagnin discusses his role as Restaurant Manager at The Ritz London and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Luigi Cagnin

Place of work: The Ritz London

Role: Restaurant Manager

Bio: Originally from Venice, Luigi started in the industry 16 years ago, learning his trade in several five-star hotels in Europe. He arrived in London ten years ago and he has been at The Ritz London ever since, winning the Master of Culinary Arts in 2013.

Chef Skills

Luigi Cagnin takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been working at the Ritz?

Having started at The Ritz London in 2005 as a commis waiter in The Ritz Restaurant, I have progressed through the ranks and I was appointed Restaurant Manager in 2013. I am currently in my 10th year at the hotel and continue to learn more about the industry and hotel every day.

What made you decide to go down the front of house route rather than working in the kitchens?

Although I also spent some time training in the kitchen, I feel I am more suited to the front of house, where interacting with the Guests allows me to share my enthusiasm and passion for both the food and service. I love the diverse atmosphere that The Restaurant provides, from a relaxed summer day where our guests can sit on The Terrace overlooking Green Park to an electric Saturday night, where we have Live at The Ritz dinner and dancing.

What kind of training have you had?

After completing a five-year course at catering college, I worked in St Moritz, Switzerland for one and a half years under the guidance of Claudio Molinari, a renowned figure when it comes to 5-star fine-dining service. I then moved to Germany for three and a half years to further my training in fine-dining establishments as well as learn the language, before joining the skilled team at The Ritz London in 2005. The Ritz has provided me with the opportunity to learn and develop my skills and knowledge in classic service under the guidance of Simon Girling, executive food and beverage manager, and I have taken part in several competitions including the Annual Award of Excellence, Waiter of the Year and Master of Culinary Arts. I have also benefitted from observation training in other leading restaurants. I am very passionate about the hospitality and restaurant industry and in my spare time, I enjoy dining out in restaurants as well as reading food and drinks books.

What qualifications or experience do you think someone should have in order to have a successful career in the hospitality industry?

If you are starting out in the hospitality industry, qualifications are not the be all and end all. Many people in the industry start with no qualifications but hard work and a genuine passion can go a long way. The key is to have a positive attitude, being motivated and above all having a love for what you are doing.

Having said this, a basic food and beverage knowledge, understanding of standard health and safety practices and being able to provide a certain level of customer service are necessary skills.

Would you encourage people to try and build their career in one restaurant or try and experience as many different restaurants as possible?

Personally, I believe it is beneficial to experience different establishments working with different people, different managers and even in different countries. By doing so, you give yourself the opportunity to gain much more knowledge, experience different styles of management, service procedures and customer care as well as meeting a greater range of passionate professionals.

Finally, if you could go back and start your career again, would you do anything differently?

I wouldn’t want to do anything differently. Admittedly there have been certain things I could have done differently but each experience, good and bad, has taught me a lesson. I am confident in the decisions I have made and don’t think I would be where I am today had I done things differently. I would advise people starting in the hospitality industry to be patient and allow plenty of time to learn all the necessary skills - we are often looking to progress too quickly. If I had realised the importance of learning and making the most of each experience and stage of my career I would definitely have saved myself some time and mistakes.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd March 2017

Luigi Cagnin, The Ritz London