Maurizio Morelli, Executive Chef, Margot

The Staff Canteen

Italian chef, Maurizio Morelli has become a respected figure in the world of gastronomy and is often referred to as ‘the master craftsman of pasta.’ In October last year he was taken on as executive chef of the Italian inspired restaurant, Margot in Covent Garden by owners Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën.

As executive chef, Maurizio brings his wealth of knowledge to the restaurant focusing on classic Italian cuisine with an emphasis on quality, seasonal ingredients and drawing inspiration from Italy’s diverse regions.

>>> Read more about Paulo de Tarso

The Staff Canteen spoke to Maurizio about why he couldn’t resist Paulo and Nick’s offer, reflecting traditional Italian cuisine in his cooking and working with the best food suppliers in London.

Maurizio Morelli on his role at Margot, London

Burrata from Puglia%2C Heritage tomato salad%2C basil pesto

Burrata from Puglia,

Heritage tomato salad, basil pesto

You joined Margot last year, how’s it going?

The restaurant only opened a few months ago but I feel like I have been here forever. I have a very strong and talented team which makes everything we do so much easier. The response from our customers has been fantastic, it’s going extremely well!

What drew you to the position?

After I had been working in my own restaurant for 12 years I just wanted to do different things. I wanted to develop new food concepts, import and sell speciality food from Italy and get into consultancy. I was doing pretty well for just over a year but it was becoming more and more boring and I missed working in a restaurant. When I met Nick and Paulo and they showed me the project that turned out to be Margot, I couldn’t resist.

What have you brought to the role?

I guess my enthusiasm, my experience, my knowledge and my passion.

Food style and becoming a chef

How would you describe your style and food philosophy?

Simple, elegant, inspired by fresh food cooked and presented in a simple yet beautiful way. All my dishes reflect the Italian tradition of cooking and eating.

Info Bar

Favourite ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil 

Homemade tagliatelle 

Whole wild seabass 

Roman artichokes 

Guanciale (cured pork cheek) 

Signature dishes

Ravioli di pesce

Selection of fish ravioli with grey mullet bottarga

What made you want to become a chef?

To be honest, I don’t know. I guess food has always been important in my life. When I was a child food was all around me. Where I come from food was so important. I used to see people butchering the pig, making sausages, ham, and salami for the winter, making the tomato sauce in the summer for the rest of the year, picking and preserving vegetables, making jam, fruit juice and limoncello. My grandmother used to dry herbs and fruit in the loft to be used all year round.

>>> Pork recipes

Picking olives was a hard job to be done quickly, it took no more than two days to witness the process of the olives becoming olive oil. To taste the very first drop of the olive oil on a slice of bread was an amazing thing. Same for the wine, all the shops were small family run businesses. In the morning you could smell the bread from the bakery. Coming back home from school you could smell what people were cooking from every single house window.

Living in the UK and ingredients

You grew up in Rome, why the move to the UK?

I was working at The Hassler Hotel in Rome. During one of their food festivals in London at The Lanesborough Hotel the executive chef took me with him as his assistant. I fell in love with the city and the restaurant. I asked the executive chef at the Lanesborough if I could come to work for him, the following month I was here.

Being situated in the UK where do you find the inspiration for new dishes?

It is very easy. London is definitely one of the most dynamic cities in the world for food. There are so many talented chefs from everywhere working here to take inspiration from. The food markets are always full of the best seasonal ingredients.

Margot interior
Margot interior

Where do you source your ingredients?

I meet my suppliers every week and they guide me through all the ingredients available at the moment. I work with the best food suppliers in London and they import all the best products from Italy almost every day.

For Margot, I import the extra virgin olive oil that is produced very close to my mother’s house back in Italy.

Do you have a favourite ingredient you like to work with?

Extra virgin olive oil and homemade pasta.

How does it feel to be known as ‘the master craftsman of pasta’?

I feel very honoured as I learnt the skill from my mother.

You opened the restaurants Ibla and Latium, do you have any desire to open any more restaurants in the future?

Mmm, I would love to open a small hotel and restaurant in Italy by the sea.

What’s next for you and Margot?

You’ll have to ask Paulo that.

>>> Read more in the Menu Watch series here

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th July 2017

Maurizio Morelli, Executive Chef, Margot