Meet The Team – Massimo Montone

Posted on April 24, 2015 by admin

aqua shard restaurant manager Massimo Montone

For our latest Meet The Team interview we speak with Massimo Montone, restaurant manager, who was part of the original opening team for aqua shard and remains a popular and very visible member of the management team!

Ciao Massimo! How long have you worked in hospitality?

All my working life – in fact since I was 12, when I started helping out in my brother’s restaurant in our little home town in southern Italy. It was there I discovered that I liked entertaining people. At 14 I went to hospitality school for five years and during summer break I worked in hotels in Cortina and Rimini which was great experience. After graduating I was in the army for a year doing my national service, but even during that time I worked in the officers’ mess so was still involved in hospitality!

After that what was your first full-time job in hospitality?

After I left the army I came to London and although my English was poor, I put together a CV as best I could and mapped out all the top hotels, taking my CV round to every one on foot. I got my first job, as a runner carrying heavy trays, at Claridge’s. I learnt so much from the waiters and head waiters there about the most traditional style of service. It was wonderful.

It sounds it! How did you then progress to becoming a restaurant manager?

While working at Claridge’s full time I also went to English classes five nights a week and would buy the Evening Standard to improve my reading. After a while I went to Bermuda, where I worked my way up to head waiter then assistant manager and sommelier. I did the opening of a restaurant there called Aqua – no relation! – and stayed there for just over two years before returning to London.

Back in London I worked as assistant manager at Hush in Mayfair, where I learnt about delivering quality service at volume, and also took a course in hospitality management at Westminster College. I was on the opening team as assistant manager for the Marriott Hotel Canary Wharf, then worked for Christopher’s Group, Gaucho and Just St James, which is where I met John Wiltshire who is now GM (general manager) at aqua shard.

As restaurant manager, what does your role involve?

I see myself as being responsible for two key areas – our guests, and the people who look after our guests, the team, ensuring both are happy. I lead the team from within, setting standards and procedures, monitoring them and helping the team to deliver them through coaching and training.

What’s been your most memorable experience of working at aqua shard?

I love the magic that we can bring to our guests’ special occasions, from a simple dinner for two to large private events which take over the whole restaurant. For one such of these, the hosts booked a really very well-known performer to entertain their guests; but thanks to the discretion of the whole team, to this day it has never been known that that person was ever here. And no, I can’t tell you who it was, sorry!

Many thanks for your time Massimo!

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