Luca grew up in a kitchen stacked with prosciutto, pancetta and wheels of parmesan from his Dad's food truck. When his Mum, a chef, was home she was cooking, the food channel always on and recipe books everywhere. Steered into culinary school, Luca shied away from onions and garlic, falling for the smell of butter on his hands. While friends ran wild he worked and trained as a pastry chef until, sick of missing all the fun, he finally threw down his apron and hit the road.
Following his heart to Australia, Luca headed to Mildura for the harvest. He woke with the sun to pick snap peas, green beans and redback spiders, chasing kangaroos away from the crops. Rainy days were spent in the hostel playing pool and poker with travellers from around the world, learning to cook spätzle with German backpackers. “When I first came to Australia all I knew was Italian food. Now I can give you Japanese, Chinese and Mexican. I found soy sauce, ginger, coriander.”
While addicted to the adrenaline of working in a kitchen, he really loves to cook staffies at Potts Point’s iconic Apollo. “We sit down to eat together before service, and each time it’s special. When I cook for friends I want to see them licking their fingers, with big smiles on their faces and shining eyes. We share. Everyone digs in. You recreate the family you don’t have here.”