Ciao Milano, Hello Soho
Soho is known for its live entertainment, great food and vibrant nightlife but did you know it’s also home to one of London’s largest Italian communities?
Earlier, we caught up with Massimo Carlotto, who was born and raised in Milan but now calls Soho home. We interviewed him to find out what brought him to the big smoke and how he’s finding life as an honorary Londoner.
PaySend: So Massimo, what made you move to London?
Massimo: Well, you’re going to laugh, but actually, love brought me to London. Yeah, I moved here, a few years ago now, for a girl. Crazy! Things didn’t work out, but they say these things happen for a reason. I think perhaps, I was supposed to fall in love with London instead and that I did, especially with Soho.
PaySend: But there must be things you miss about Milan?
Massimo: My Mamma! She has always been so important to me. Both her and my Nonna have had such a big influence on my life and my profession. Sadly my Nonna is no longer with us, but I speak to my Mamma back home all the time. She comes over to London, and I’m happy to hop on easyJet and be home in 2 hours whenever I can to catch up with the family.
PaySend: Family is so important, isn’t it? You said your mother and grandmother influenced your profession. Can you tell us a little more about what you do?
Massimo: I’m a private chef, specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. Like many Italians, I love my food. It’s something that’s ingrained in you from the very beginning and plays such an important role in family time. My Mamma and Nonna taught me to cook as a young boy. They made the most amazing food. A lot of the dishes I create are inspired by the food I ate at home.
When I first moved here, I worked in various Italian restaurants, and it was great. I developed my skills, made new friends and had the best time. It’s only been recently that I decided to set up as a private chef. There’s a real demand for the restaurant at home experience in London, and so far, it’s going really well.
PaySend: We’re pleased to hear it! So, you know a thing or two about authentic Italian food. What’s your favorite dish and what are the best Italian restaurants in Soho?
Massimo: I’ve got to say Risotto alla Milanese is one of my all time favorites and not just because I’m from Milan. Well, okay maybe I’m a little biased! It’s a traditional Milanese rice dish with saffron. It’s creamy, delicious - a little taste of heaven!
And the best places to eat? Soho has so many! Bocca di Lupo is a great Italian. Mele e Pere is another. Go to Princi if you are out for your lunch break – they serve simply amazing melanzane parmigiana! If you are in a mood to cook at home Lina Stores on Brewer Street has a great variety of authentic Italian cheeses and proscuitto di parma. Or you could just hire me as your private chef for the evening! Sorry, I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little self-promotion.
PaySend: So are you worried about Brexit and are you planning to stay here?
Massimo: Well, this is not something we are definitely happy with, but I think Brits have always been very pragmatic people and I know for sure that they can’t live without Italian pasta, mozzarella and tiramisu. So yes – I’m planning to stay here and see how it will pan out.
PaySend: We might take you up on that offer! So Massimo, are we right in thinking you’re already a PaySend customer?
Massimo: That’s right! One of the chefs at the restaurant I worked at recommended it to me. It’s great for sending money back home to my family in Italy. International money transfers can be complicated, but with PaySend it’s quick and easy to do from your mobile phone. The money delivered fast and only costs £1 to send to an Italian bank account. If there is a promotion, I can even send money for free! The exchange rate of pound to euros is also great. It makes a real difference to my family and me.
PaySend: It’s good to hear you’re finding it so useful! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today, Massimo. We wish you the best of luck with your private chef work and hope you continue to enjoy using PaySend.