Diego Masciaga has joined Claude Bosi's two-Michelin-starred London restaurant, Claude Bosi at Bibendum, as a front of house ambassador.
Masciaga, who spent 30 years as general manager of the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, is already spending at least two days a week with the team in west London. He has supported the reopening of the Oyster Bar ground-floor bistro and will expand to the first-floor restaurant when it opens in September.
Bosi told The Caterer he and Masciaga had formed a long-term partnership that would see him take charge of the service level, working closely with the teams. He said he felt "very lucky" to bring him on board and added: "People want to learn from Diego and my guys were so excited to have somebody like this."
Masciaga confirmed that he would continue to undertake consultancy work, but would be in contact with Bosi and the teams at Bibendum every day.
He and Bosi had first met at the 2018 Catey Awards, where Bosi picked up the Chef Award and Masciaga received the Lifetime Achievement Award. They went on to host an event together, which Masciaga described as a "wonderful" experience. He added: "Something clicked, both personalities are searching for – not perfection, because perfection does not exist – but to get as close as possible."
He continued: "I just see this as a wonderful, wonderful experience, because there is a great team there. A great team in the kitchen and a wonderful team in the front. It is nice to work with professionals if they need support and if they have any queries or questions or doubts, there I am.
"It allows me to train the staff and show them how important customer service and front of house are. I personally think – even more now after this horrible thing we've all been through – that what people are looking for is a smile, for open arms and to be welcomed like it's their home, and this can happen in a pizzeria, in a brasserie and also in a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.
"After three months people have come out from under a big grey cloud and they want to be served by those with a smile who care about their health. They're not there just to serve food, but to care about them."
Masciaga was born in Italy and worked in France before coming to London to work at the Roux family's three-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant in London between 1983 and 1985.
After a year as restaurant manager of Le Mazarin in London and returning to France to work at Restaurant Alain Chapel in Mionnay, he joined the Waterside Inn restaurant in 1988.
He was awarded the Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (the equivalent of a knighthood) in 2012 by the Italian government in recognition of his contribution to the hospitality industry and for supporting young people in the profession. In 2010 he became only the third recipient of the Grand Prix de l'Art de la Salle from L'Académie Internationale de Gastronomie.
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