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Our People - Restaurant Manager
From the Eternal City to London, Knightsbridge and the Berkeley, Koffman’s Restaurant Manager Sandro Alessandrini knows good service
My parents met in a village in the Abruzzi region, an area about 20 miles from Rome famed for its national parks, where they eventually married and settled down. Our house was split over three floors and three generations: my grandfather on the ground floor, my family on the first, and my Uncle Giulio’s family on the second. Because I was the youngest, I was spoiled by everyone. I also became the family “runner”: ice cream, cigarettes, last-minute groceries – the call always rang out, “Sandro!”
There were just six of us in school, and we were mostly taught by a married couple, Gemma and Vincenzo. It was Vincenzo who gave me discipline and the ambition to succeed, as well as a lasting appreciation of ancient Greek and Latin history. He died in 2008, and I put flowers on his grave whenever I go home. My education continued at university in Rome, where I studied economics, but a trip to New York to work for my uncle, who owns a restaurant and wine bar on 56th and Broadway, put paid to that. It was this experience that convinced me what I wanted to do next. Returning to university only confirmed what I thought, and it was time to make a new start.
I’d been coming to London as a teenager, to visit my sister Novella and my nephews Luis and Niccolo, so I already felt I belonged here somehow. My first six months were spent living with her and working at Skylon at the Royal Festival Hall, before joining Koffmann’s with my then manager in August 2011. I love it here. Ever since my early years as the family runner, hospitality is what I do best.
I believe in a relaxed approach to service, but I also believe you need to be totally dedicated and pay attention to detail to deliver it. So I have to be methodical, with a carefully planned regime of single espressos to keep me alert! I’m proud to work in such a highly regarded restaurant under Pierre Koffmann, to whom Tatler recently gave a Lifetime Achievement Award. Essentially, you need to love your guests – if you don’t, then this isn’t the life for you.
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The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7235 6000
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