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Acorn Winner 2006: Leonardo Di Clemente

03 May 2006

Leonardo Di Clemente
Age: 29
Position: Senior sous chef, Four Seasons hotel, Canary Wharf, London

Career to date… Di Clemente trained and began his career in Italy before moving to the Hotel Suvretta House in St Moritz, Switzerland. He then returned to his homeland to work as chef tournant at the Parkhotel Laurin in Bolzano.

Since 2001, he has been with the Four Seasons group at its hotel in Canary Wharf, where he has been promoted four times, working his way up the ranks from first commis to his current role as senior sous chef.

Why is he a winner? Di Clemente is constantly looking at ways to improve the guest experience and has recently revised brunch at the hotel. Working closely with nearby Billingsgate fish market, he has changed it from a formerly Italian experience to one that has far more seafood, including a sushi bar. This has directly increased covers in the restaurant on Sundays.

He has helped the hotel reduce its food costs by half a point year-on-year. He is always searching for new suppliers that can provide quality produce at a good price - he's a dream come true for any director of finance.

Di Clemente has successfully implemented a garde manager training programme for his team, and their monthly briefings ensure they are fully aware of seasonality and preparation.

He has returned to his roots at the Etoile School in Italy where he has contributed to training programmes, books and guest lectures. He also develops local interest in hospitality and is passionate about working with schools and colleges. He develops training plans for all the apprentices in the kitchen.

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