Aldo Zilli is chef patron of the Zilli Fish Group and is one of Soho’s most flamboyant restaurateurs.
After catering college in Italy he was sent abroad for the winter season to hotels all over Europe. Aldo finally came to England at the age of 19 and decided to concentrate on his passion for Italian food, and started working in Italian restaurants, introducing new cooking methods and eclectic menus, transforming them from little-known venues to celebrity haunts. However, he soon outgrew the kitchen, becoming executive manager and training other chefs in his own impressive style.
Eventually, certain of his own success, Aldo Zilli decided to go it alone and acquired his first restaurant in Il Siciliano in Dean Street. Word quickly spread about the quality of food and the atmosphere created by Aldo and soon the restaurant was packed.
In 1988, he bought the premises at 41 Dean Street and opened Signor Zilli, following this in 1993 next door with London’s first authentic Italian bar, Signor Zilli Bar. Aldo opened Zilli Fish in Brewer Street in June 1997 and it has been bursting at the seams since its opening, now complemented by an authentic Italian Cafe right next door – Zilli Cafe.
Great Italian food and Aldo’s legendary sense of humour makes these establishments a magnet for people from the media and entertainment world.
In 1996 he was awarded Best Italian Restaurant Award in The London Restaurant Awards and in 1998 he collected the award for Best Media Restaurant for Zilli Fish. He has also won Favourite Showbiz Restaurant for Signor Zilli in the Capital Radio Awards.
Aldo is now a member of the Ready Steady Cook team (BBC 2) which attracts viewers in excess of 2 million – a position he was invited to take after his immensely popular episodes for BBC 1’s Sunday Life, where he focused on food waste.
Other appearances include:
BBC 1’s Step up to the Plate, ITV 1’s Daily Cooks Challenge, BBC 1’s Eating in the Sun, Channel 5’s Family Recipe, UKTV’s Market Kitchen, BBC 1’s Chelsea Flower Show, BBC 3’s The Real Hustle, BBC 1’s The One Show, ITV 2’s Extra Factor, ITV 1’s Christmas Cooks Challenge, BBC 1’s Breakfast, Channel 5 News, ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor MacDonald, BBC 2’s Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, ITV 1’s Daily Cooks Challenge, ITV 1’s Celebrity X Factor, and Celebrity Fit Club
Thomsonfly continue with Aldo Zilli’s in-flight food menu, which they launched in 2006 and are thrilled with the results. On the basis of the success of Thomsonfly, Thomson invited Aldo to re-launch all the food of their ships and granted Aldo his own restaurant, Zilli’s, which is filled to capacity every night.
Aldo has been resident chef for The Sun newspaper, and has written several books: Sainsbury’s Quick and Easy Italian Food; Aldo’s Italian Food For Friends, Zilli Fish, Foolproof Italian, The Zilli Cook Book, Fish Cook, Being Zilli (autobiography) and Zilli Fit.