Sandro Giovanazzi, head chef and proprietor, La Parmigiana restaurant

08 December 2005
Sandro Giovanazzi, head chef and proprietor, La Parmigiana restaurant

Sandro Giovanazzi is head chef and proprietor of Glasgow's long-standing and well-regarded - it's listed by Michelin and the Good Food Guide - Italian restaurant, La Parmigiana.

Despite graduating with a degree in history of fine art with Italian language and literature from Glasgow University in 1981, Giovanazzi found himself falling irresistibly into the family business soon after and has been working there ever since.

However, these days his role is as much about juggling paperwork as it is about cooking.

"Running a restaurant used to be about cooking good food and looking after your customers, but now there's a lot more office work and bureaucracy that comes with it," he says.

Regardless, a path into the catering world for Giovanazzi, 48, was perhaps something of a foregone conclusion, as his great grandparents ran an osteria in northern Italy, and he grew up surrounded by his family's evident passion for food.

His grandfather originally came to Scotland just before the First World War, becoming involved in the fish and chip business. Years later, in the late 1960s, Giovanazzi's father and grandfather opened their first restaurant in Glasgow, paving the way for the launch of La Parmigiana in 1978.

Giovanazzi is proof that a love of food, and talent, can be just as good as professional training. Starting at the bottom, the self-taught chef has risen from peeling potatoes to running the kitchen, although much of his culinary flair he puts down to his food-obsessed background and his family who nurtured his tastes and flavours.

"I had always enjoyed eating out, and I still enjoy good food," he says. Time spent as commis chef in Rome while studying in the late 1970s hinted that his move into the catering industry was far from a fluke.

He jokes that the best thing about his job is "getting to go home at the end of the day", but it's clear that his work is his passion.

"I enjoy cooking food to satisfy people," he says. "As a chef in a small restaurant, I can source top-quality bits of fish, the freshest ingredients, and cook them to the customer's satisfaction. Getting good feedback never stops being rewarding."

Salary Watch: what restaurant managers should be earning

Non-themed/branded restaurants
Unit manager LowNormalHigh
Turnover up to £750,000 £18,000£20,000-£25,000 £30,000
Turnover £750,000-£2m £22,000 £25,000-£30,000 £40,000
Turnover £2m-plus £28,000 £30,000-£40,000£45,000
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