Gastronomy News Chef

Giorgio Locatelli: “As a young man, I worked 12 hours out of 24. Now I reduce the shifts for my staff”

Elisa Erriu
copertina giorgio locatelli

Working conditions in the restaurant industry have changed, and now the goal is to consider (also) life outside the kitchen: Giorgio Locatelli explains how he reduced the weekly service hours.

Cover Photo: Amara Cipro

The News

“Up to ten years ago, it was normal to work twelve hours a day in the kitchen, I don’t remember ever thinking it was too many hours.” This is how Giorgio Locatelli, internationally renowned chef and judge on Masterchef Italia and owner of the acclaimed Locanda Locatelli in London, offers Sole 24 Ore an insight into the challenges and opportunities the restaurant world is facing, even for those who are new to the sector.

ok Giorgio Locatelli Mogano
Mogano By Giorgio Locatelli

In an era where sustainability and technology play crucial roles, Locatelli reflects particularly on the evolution of the kitchen and how these forces are reshaping the industry. Technology has revolutionized the modern kitchen, improving quality control and expanding marketing possibilities. Locatelli cites the example of temperature probes for fish as one of the innovations that have made preparation management more efficient. Moreover, social media has transformed how restaurants promote themselves, allowing them to reach a wide audience quickly and effectively. Being "Instagrammable" can make a difference, attracting a young and virtually always connected audience.

LocandaLocatelli Intro 02 2
Locanda Locatelli

The concept of sustainability has taken on central importance in the culinary landscape. Locatelli emphasizes how his restaurant has always maintained a close relationship with local producers, preferring English-sourced meat and fish. However, he also notes that sustainability is often perceived as an elitist privilege, while it should be a universal concern. For Locatelli, sustainability is not just a buzzword but a concrete commitment to responsible and environmentally friendly practices.

LocandaLocatelli chef giorgio

Another significant challenge is the staffing shortage in the sector. Locatelli observes how the aging population and the declining number of young people choosing culinary careers are putting restaurateurs to the test. To attract and retain talent, it's essential to improve working conditions, offering fair wages and sustainable hours. Locatelli highlights how, compared to the past, significant progress has been made to ensure a more balanced and less stressful work environment.We have adopted several measures, for example, we are closed at lunchtime on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we can focus more on evening service, reduce everyone’s weekly hours, and most importantly, allow the staff to build a social environment outside of work.”

ok Giorgio Locatelli

The high cost of living is another challenge that restaurateurs must face, with operating costs continuing to rise. Locatelli recalls the times when profit margins in starred restaurants were much higher than today. Today, running a gourmet restaurant entails high costs, from exorbitant rents to staff salaries, to energy and gas bills. Despite these difficulties, Locatelli insists on the importance of discussing and raising awareness of these issues to find sustainable solutions. With the increasing popularity of vegan cuisine, the renowned chef also sees an inevitable need to shift towards more sustainable diets. Food production must evolve to ensure adequate protein intake without compromising the environment.

giorgio locatelli ph Melissa Alcena
@Melissa Alcena

After years of experience, Locatelli sees himself not only as a chef but also as an entrepreneur. This duality allows him to balance culinary creativity with the demands of managing a successful restaurant. His greatest desire is to work with young people, passing on the passion and skills needed to excel.

Latest news

show all

We respect your Privacy.
We use cookies to ensure you an accurate experience and in line with your preferences.
With your consent, we use technical and third-party cookies that allow us to process some data, such as which pages are visited on our website.
To find out more about how we use this data, read the full disclosure.
By clicking the ‘Accept’ button, you consent to the use of cookies, or configure the different types.

Configure cookies Reject