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Question Time – Alessandro Pizzolato, Settimo Head Chef

Settimo’s head chef Alessandro Pizzolato steps up to answer InQueensland’s 10 questions.

Jan 11, 2024, updated Jan 11, 2024

What was the highlight of 2023 for you?
Being recently awarded Hotel Chef of the year by the Australasian HM Awards. The whole year has been wonderful professionally but definitely that recognition was the icing on the cake. Working closely with Guy Grossi, developing Settimo to the point is today gave me an incredible opportunity to grow as a chef and find the right platform to express myself freely. I am very grateful of it all.

If you could have done something differently last year, what would it be and why?
There is not much I would change about what I did in 2023, but the lesson I have learnt is to be more patient and kinder both at home and at work. It is important to have drive and purpose, but it is equally important to inspire and support the people around us. That is the most important lesson of 2023 for me.

Who is someone to watch for in 2024?
It is hard to pick one to be honest, with all that is happening in Brisbane at the moment, but I am curious to see what Thomas Liam Tze (former Greca) is going to do with his venue Emme opening soon on James Street. 

What is your most vivid memory of the festive holidays?
Christmas with my family as a child in Rome. My grandmother always made sure that Christmas Day was celebrated with grandeur. We had an amazing Christmas tree, the whole nativity and the most amazing food. We were always dressed up, and it was just magic. I have the most beautiful memories of waking up at my grandparent’s place on the 25th with my cousins and run in the dining room to see how many presents Santa had left for us.

Do you have any unique or funny holiday traditions?
I stick with the classics to be honest. Seafood on Christmas Eve, big lunch on Christmas Day, lots of Panettone, and Cotechino (pig trotter sausage) with lentils on New Year’s Eve at midnight. It’s an Italian tradition that is meant to bring luck in the New Year. Back in Italy we would spark up lots of fireworks, but I feel like if I did that here, I’d probably end up in jail!

What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2024?
To be the best version of myself for my family and all the people around me. I want to keep progressing as a human being and as a chef and celebrate every day as a unique opportunity to do good.

If you could have anyone from any time period attend your Christmas lunch, who would you choose?
I think it would be my grandparents. I would love for my daughter Isabella and my wife Sarah to have the opportunity to speak to them and celebrate Christmas together. As a famous personality, probably Frank Sinatra. I reckon he’d be a good chat. And maybe get a private show at Christmas lunch!!

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Coastal holiday or city holiday?
Ideally a cold city holiday. Italy at Christmas time is amazing. Nothing like the beautiful villages in the Dolomites all dressed up. It is a living fairy tale. In Australia Coastal for sure. Margaret River would be the dream. Amazing nature, great wines and sunsets over the ocean.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?
I’m looking forward to see what we will achieve at Settimo and all the wonderful events we will organise. I am also looking forward to see my little one going into year 2 like a champion, and to make some beautiful memories with my family, hopefully with a nice Italy trip at the end of next year.

Do you have a summer book or podcast you can recommend? 

  • “A higher branch” by Sam Mokhoul. 
  • Both the book and the podcast. It touches personal and professional topics in a holistic way, and gives great insights and how to better ourselves and enhance our performance in all fields of life.
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