Meet Chef Russell Impiazzi, Executive Chef in charge of Food and Beverage at the London Hilton Metropole Hotel. Russell and his team have been fantastic in supporting the local community during the COVID-19 outbreak, donating food to local charities and schools as well as lending equipment to St Mary’s Hospital.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence? I'm the Executive Chef in charge of food and beverage, conferences and events – or simply put, Jack of all trades: master of none!
2How long have you been doing this job? I've been in a professional kitchen since I was 14, so a fair few years. I’ve been here at the London Hilton Metropole since September 2018.
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?Some and some I think. I just happened to be in London for a work conference at the right time and received a call out of the blue. Having been based out in Dubai for the last 23 years, the time was right to come back to London.
4What’s the best part about your job? It's always about the people, being able to make people happy with genuine hospitality is a real privilege. We also have such an incredible group of talented young team members here whose progress over the past year has also been great to see.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job? There have been a few. One that always makes me smile:
We were working in Dubai on a VIP outside catering event in the middle of the desert, literally in the middle of nowhere. It took us two hours to get to the location surrounded by nothing but sand, and one of the chefs I had working with me asked; ‘Chef, do you know where the toilet is?'
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I have three young children and a pretty full on job so any time I have with them is always great. However, only when they are not fighting, asking me for things, arguing over the TV, not agreeing on where to go out, or not liking what’s for dinner… apart from that they are great. Honest!
7What do you like about this area? To be honest, I come to work and then go home again.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area? I need to get out more!
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you? I think in these exceptional times it takes exceptional people and you cannot be more exceptional than the entire NHS team across the country. The selfless approach that they have and the incredibly difficult circumstances that they are facing on a daily basis - and yet still going to work to ensure that we are looked after with the best possible care - is truly inspirational.
It does not stop there. From the volunteers at the local food banks who do such an incredible job to support the community, to the bus drivers and tube workers who get our key workers to where they need to be. The shelf stackers and cashiers at the supermarkets and the logistics behind transporting all that produce, not forgetting the bin men who keep everything clean and even to my team here who are working to look after the key workers at St Mary's Hospital and our guests who cannot travel back to their own countries – every single one, truly incredible.
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?I think when the dust settles on where the world is now, as far away from TVs and internet as possible, with just peace and quiet, my family…. and a few cold beers, I’m good with that.