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Meet the chef: Carlo Scotto, chef patron at Amethyst in Mayfair, London

We talk to Carlo about his new restaurant, career influences, passion for cooking and favourite dishes.

By LLM Reporters  |  June 14, 2022
Chef Carlo Scotto

With over 15 years of experience working in some of London’s top restaurants, chef patron Carlo Scotto is back with the opening of fine-dining restaurant Amethyst in the heart of Mayfair.

Famed for his creative and hyper-original tasting menus, which has earned him rave reviews over the years, Carlo brings his inimitable culinary style to Amethyst for an intimate dining experience which promises to take its diners on a gastronomic journey.

Centred around a sensational real amethyst chef’s table and an ever-changing tasting menu, the restaurant draws inspiration from Carlo’s extensive travels through Europe and Asia, in particular Scandinavia and Japan. We sat down with Carlo to find out a little more.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, including your where you are today, professionally, and what got you here?

Cooking has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I’m Italian and as with Italian families, food is at the heart of everything we do. Throughout my childhood, I was in the kitchen with my family, which spurred me onto working in professional kitchens across the world.

Throughout my career, I’ve spent time in some of the world’s renowned and celebrated kitchens from Japan, France and Sweden, before coming to London to join the teams at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, Angela Hartnett at Murano and Galvin at La Chapelle.

All this has led me to launching Amethyst, an intimate restaurant which aims to take diners on a gastronomic journey in the heart of Mayfair.

Carlo Scotto in the kitchen
The charismatic Neapolitan chef, Carlo Scotto, who earned rave reviews for his creative and hyper-original tasting menus at Xier, is picking up where he left off pre-pandemic with the opening of Amethyst on Sackville Street in central London. Image credit: Lateef Photography

What or who inspired you to become a chef?

I’ve had a passion for cooking from a very young age. I grew up cooking alongside my grandmother, helping to prepare family meals. But the real inspiration came when I first stepped foot in a professional kitchen. I was only 13 years old when I started working as a chef apprentice. The day I started; I knew this was where I wanted to be.

Who has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?

Bjorn Fratzen is definitely the chef that I’m looking up to and my cooking style is very much like his. His food is pure, understated class with a balanced taste structure, refinement and individuality.

What’s your signature dish?

It’s a choice between two. It would either be the salmon and foie gras, where the salmon is cured with rose water and paired with a marinated Armagnac foie gras and yuzu jelly. Or my other signature would be the black cod with caramelised miso.

What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?

Making sure that each dish complements one another. I’m inspired by many cuisines, especially Nordic and Japanese, so I needed to make sure I had the right balance between them. I’m a perfectionist so there has been a lot of experimenting and testing to make sure every element of the menu is rich in flavour, with a balance of acidity and sweetness.

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

Definitely! The menus at Amethyst are inspired by my travels and the techniques and flavours I have discovered from working in kitchens across the world. Each dish represents one of these travels and I want to take my diners on a journey with me.

How would you describe your cooking style?

Creative, hyper-original and theatrical. My food is inspired by Nordic and Japanese cuisines with French and Arabic influences, while my presentation and techniques are influenced from working in some of the best kitchens in the world.

Amethyst restaurant
Centred around a sensational real amethyst chef’s table and an everchanging tasting menu, Carlo Scotto brings his inimitable culinary style to Mayfair’s flourishing restaurant scene with an intimate and engaging gastronomic experience. Image credit: Lateef Photography

Do you have a favourite time of year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?

Right now is ideal, the turning of seasons from spring to summer. Lots of colours on the plate and I love to work with citrus and fruits at this time of year.  

What is your favourite ingredient to create with?

I always find this question tough as I’m always changing my mind! It really depends on the season. At the moment, I would say citrus fruits as the flavour can really change the shape of a dish.  

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?

I think if I wasn’t a chef, I probably would have been a financial trader or a Mixed Martial Art fighter. I know that they are completely two worlds apart! I actually did martial arts training and I love the competitive nature.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

Sounds simple, but my go to at the moment is a rice salad, mixed with homemade olive oil, lemon, herb and garlic dressing. Delicious!

When are you happiest?

In the kitchen during service. Nothing can beat the buzz.

What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?

A blender – no kitchen should be without. I have a few of them – I would recommend a Vitamix as the best go-to blender.

When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?

In the mixed martial arts gym.

What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?

OMG, I love ice cream!

Amethyst food
Amethyst’s 12-course tasting menu takes diners on a gastronomic journey of meticulously prepared plates featuring clever and creative flavour combinations, influenced by the simplicity and elegance of Nordic and Japanese cuisine, with French and Arabic influences. Image credit: Lateef Photography

Where is your favourite place to dine?

One of the best places I’ve been is Noma in Copenhagen. It was incredible! I’m hoping to soon go to Björn Frantzén’s own Frantzen restaurant. His cooking style is similar to my own so it’s next on the ‘to try’ list.

What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend?

Personally, plant-based meat. I know that could be controversial but for me, I love to cook with fruit, vegetables and plants as there is so much that can be created and the flavours are amazing.

What do your future plans entail?

Amethyst is the focus right now. I want to push myself to make this the best I can make it.

What differences do you find working with local produce as opposed to non-local produce in terms of what you can create and flavour? 

Local is always the best. I’m very proud to work with some local artisan suppliers and the support that we are getting is incredible. We try to support our local suppliers as much as possible, though sometimes we need to source from further afield to reach some more unusual ingredients for a dish.

How do you go about menu planning? What’s the process from picking the ingredients to getting them fresh into the kitchen and into dishes?

I’m a very creative cook. Always in the kitchen trialling and testing new dishes and flavour combinations. At Amethyst, I want the menus to be hyper-seasonal which means the menu will change constantly depending on what is in season and what our suppliers have at the time. Keeps me on my toes!

How would you describe the food you create at Amethyst to someone who’s never experienced your kind of food?

Expect a hyper-original and creative menu where the food is the star. All my dishes are inspired by culinary techniques I’ve learnt throughout the years, with influences from Nordic, European, Japanese and Arabic cuisine.

Amethyst restaurant food
Amethyst is open Tuesday to Saturday, offering six and 12-course tasting menus at £90 and £150 respectively with a three (£45) and five-course (£55) lunch menu available on both floors. Image credit: Lateef Photography

What’s your favourite flavour combination?

I love to use citrus and try to combine it with many ingredients, even the ones that shouldn’t go together. Though the winner is sweet and sour; at Amethyst we have an Amethyst Geode dessert with white chocolate paired with yuzu.

What is the USP of your restaurant?

It has to be our 21 cover chef’s table, which is directly in front of the pass so I can see and speak to my guests. We’ve had it made specially for the restaurant and it takes up the ground floor. The table itself is blended with real amethyst (my birthstone) and quartz, with irregular edges throughout which jut in and out. Each little section sits two, which seems like your own table. Or you can come together and talk with others at the table – completely up to you.

Factbox

Amethyst is open Tuesday to Saturday, offering six and 12-course tasting menus at £90 and £150 respectively with a three (£45) and five-course (£55) lunch menu available on both floors. Wine pairings are available at an additional £135 for the classic and £195 for the prestige based on the 12-course menu.

Address: 6 Sackville St, London W1S 3DD
Phone: 020 3034 3464
Website: amethystdining.com