After graduating in 2013, he went on to work in San Sebastián at the two Michelin-starred Mugaritz restaurant, number 14 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. He later joined three Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena.
After honing his craft and soaking up the energy in some of the best kitchens in the world, Andrea knew he wanted to take his culinary flair directly to the people, and so Zagatti Gourmet Experience was born. His private chef business has seen him cook for some of the world’s most recognisable faces; from athletes and rock stars, to politicians and rappers.
During the UK lockdowns in 2021, Andrea - equipped with an unusual amount of spare time - created Mr Z’s Luxury Sandwiches, a London-based sandwich delivery service with a twist. From £50 caviar croissants to £250 gold covered ‘Billionaire’ sandwiches, Mr Z’s Luxury Sandwiches made the headlines and supplied Londoners with the most luxury sandwiches they’ve ever experienced. Andrea also spends time consulting for leading food, drink and hospitality brands globally. We caught up with Andrea to talk about his culinary journey so far.
What drove you to study the culinary arts?
"My love for the culinary arts started when I was 16 years old. Watching Heston Blumenthal’s show ‘Heston’s Feasts’. On the show Heston shows off his molecular cuisine abilities and it’s something I’d never seen before. In Ferrara, my hometown, all I saw was Italian cuisine. That’s it. Seeing Heston on TV was revolutionary. It got me interested in researching more about it and experimenting. My first ever dish that I cooked wasn’t scrambled eggs on toast, it was instead the ‘Sound of the Sea’ dish from The Fat Duck restaurant.
Heston changed my whole perception on what cooking is and what it can be. I’ve always been a very curious being and I wanted to know more about it. But first I had to start with the basics, as I had no training at all."
Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?
"Le Cordon Bleu is simply one of the most respected culinary establishments in the world. London is one of the most important cities in the world. It was a simple ‘2 birds with one stone’ situation. I wanted to go to the best school in the best city. That’s how you start a proper career"
How did the knowledge gained from the Grand Diplôme help your career?
"Massively. Le Cordon Bleu is the reason I got access to stage at Mugaritz restaurant. Without them, I wouldn’t know the precise basics of European cuisine. Without proper foundation you can’t build a wall and you for sure can’t build a palace. I thank my parents for allowing me to follow this direction and supporting me in the beginning of my career."
What would you say is your most valuable learning experience so far?
"Mugaritz for sure. It was like a military school. The way you were standing, working, cleaning, cutting, peeling, etc. In the minimum details they were training you and telling you off if you weren’t doing it in the right way. Le Cordon Bleu and Mugaritz helped build the person I am today and trained my mind to respect whatever ingredients I’m preparing and make sure the result is as close to perfection as it can be."
What would you say the best thing is about being a chef?
"When you feed your guests or clients, you help distract them from the outside world, struggles and stresses. Being around a dinner table is all about happiness, pleasure and the five senses. This is what makes me happy. To create experiences for my guests and make sure that what they’re living, is one of the best times of their lives and it will be remembered for a long time."
What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"Start with the proper basics. Find a way to learn the basics and build the foundation of your career. Don’t be afraid to speak with people, to ask their advice and recommendations. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the best restaurants in the world asking for a space to work there. That’s what I did. I emailed the first 100 restaurants in the world, and pushed to work in the ones where I really wanted to. I had to call Mugaritz 15 times before they allowed me in."
What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in one word?
What does your average day look like?
"I don’t actually have an average day. As I’m a freelance my routine is completely absent. What I can say is that I usually wake up, have a Difference Coffee Jamaica Blue Mountain, or maybe two, then head to the Bvlgari hotel, where I take phone calls, answer emails and plan events. Most of my days I plan dinner parties, restaurant consultations and my personal projects (restaurant, Youtube, Instagram, books, etc.)
Then I usually head out to a different restaurant most days. I love to eat out. So far, I’ve been to 600 restaurants in London alone."
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
"The uncertainty of the future. As I don’t have a salary, you never know what can happen the next month. Make sure that if you’re a freelancer you have projects ahead of you that give you certainty. I had times in the past where this was very challenging."
What inspires you every day?
"London inspires me every day. The vibrant energy of this wonderful city makes me want to do more and more."
What part of your role are you most passionate about?
"Travelling and cooking for the most influential people in the world. I absolutely love it and I’m humbled to be the one cooking for all these exceptional individuals."
Finally, what are your plans for the future or any ﬁnal words?
"I’d like to start by opening my own venue in London and create an empire of exceptional hospitality. This is my objective. I also want to help solve the global hunger problems by activating charity projects all around the world."
Find out more about our professional cookery courses and other culinary programmes to see how you can follow in Andrea's footsteps.