From early childhood, Francesco could always be found in the kitchen cooking with his mother, making their own olive oil, tomato sauce, salami and bread. With the determination to buy his first Levis jeans with his own money, he started working in his uncle’s Gelateria in Calabria at the age of nine, learning to make ice cream and cakes. At 14 he met renowned Italian chef Angelo Sabetta who recognised his talent and encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a chef.
After catering college and opening his first restaurant before going into military service, Francesco moved to Rome in 1992, where he worked a short stint at the Jolie Hotel before joining The Grand Hotel et de Roma. He moved to London in 1996 to learn English and worked at several restaurants before starting to work at his dream hotel The Dorchester. A move back to Rome offered a position at the Michelin starred restaurant Eden Terrazza on the top floor of the Eden Hotel overlooking Rome.
In 2002 Francesco was approached by the Santini family to open ‘Santini’ restaurants in both Edinburgh and Milan. Moving back to London Francesco worked with Alan Yau as Head Chef at Yau’s Italian restaurant in Marylebone, Anda; he also worked with the pastry sections of both Hakkasan and Yauatcha and then moved to Bangkok to launch an Italian restaurant at the Royal Sporting Club.
In September 2005 Francesco opened Franco’s on Jermyn Street for the Hambro family to acclaimed reviews. Francesco then moved on to open the kitchen of renowned restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s latest London venture, St Alban in September 2006.
In June 2008 Francesco Mazzei opened L’Anima.