The hospitality industry has made a strong comeback since the pandemic forced doors up and down the country to close. The number of people eating out has skyrocketed and many venues are now booked way in advance. So what is it like to be the craftsman of the delicious food that we crave while eating out? Our Head Chef, Antony, has answered some of those burning questions.

Antony Ruocco

My name is Antony Ruocco, I am 29 years old and was born in a small town on the Northwest coast of Italy called Savona, close to the famous city of Genoa. Savona is known for its large boat port, and when I was growing up, I used to spend time watching the large cruise ships coming in and out of Savona Port. I always aspired to one day be a chef on one of those prestigious ships, however, fate chose a different career path for me. I began my career training as a chef in college and worked at a restaurant called Due Palme which was famous for creating one of the best risotto dishes in the world and from there my career took off. I worked in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and from there I moved to Manchester, England then headed down South to Devon and now find myself as Head Chef of Mickeys Beach Bar & Restaurant owned by Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines.

Antony Ruocco. Head Chef at Mickeys

What’s your signature dish and why?

Marrowbone & parmesan risotto finished with veal glaze – inspired by my time in Due Palme.

Are there any chefs you admire and feel inspired by?

Michael Caines of course, along with Hayden Byrne and Massimo Bottura.

What’s your favourite dish to make at home?

Aubergine Parmigiana (Nana’s recipe!).

Do you have a favourite style of cuisine? 

Fusion, I like to fuse different cultures in my cooking, always keeping the Italian essence at the heart of every dish.

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tiramisu, there isn’t anything else close!

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