A CHEF who appeared on TV?s Ramsay?s Best Restaurant has taken over the Bird in Hand pub in Sonning Common
A CHEF who appeared on TV?s Ramsay?s Best Restaurant has taken over the Bird in Hand pub in Sonning Common.
Santino Busciglio, a Sicilian, and his partner Helen Catchpole have been refurbishing the pub on the B481 Peppard Road since they became the landlords in October.
Mr Busciglio, 49, who lives in Twyford, has more than 25 years? experience as a chef and has worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in London.
He said: ?I have lived in this area for a long time, which is what made me to want to be here after many years of working in central London.?
The pub has been redecorated and refurnished with rustic wooden tables, while the kitchen has been fitted with a walk-in cold room.
Mr Busciglio plans to add more tables to the garden as well as installing an outdoor pizza oven in the summer.
He aims to serve traditional pub food with an ?artisan? twist ? many of the ingredients are made from scratch, from bread to ice cream.
Mr Busciglio said: ?We are a little bit different. For example, we salt the fish in our fishcakes ourselves and if we serve apple sauce we will have made it ourselves.
?There will be one or two changes to the menu every day because all the food is fresh.
?My background is in fine dining and I?m well known as an Italian chef but I love all food and the idea of producing good, simple food for local people appeals to me tremendously. It?s about the simple things. One of our customers said they were going to go to bed dreaming of our chips, which is amazing.?
Mr Busciglio was born in Sicily and moved to England as a baby with his family, who settled in Lancashire.
He started his career as a chef at Villa Cesari in Manchester before working in Paris, Brussels and Kortrijk for seven years.
He returned to England in 1993 to work in Marlow and Santino?s restaurant in Reading Road, Henley.
He then worked in London with the Red Pepper Group at the Black Truffle, followed by head chef positions at Rosmarino, Alloro and Zafferano.
Most recently, he worked at Volt, Number Twelve in Bloomsbury, Mennula in Charlotte Street and The Elysée.
He has appeared on the BBC?s Masterchef and Ramsay?s Best Restaurant on Channel 4 when he worked at Mennula.
He said: ?I got on very well with Gordon. He is one of the greats and he was very kind to me. I think if you have a lot of passion, which I do, and work 80 hours a week then he likes you.?
Mr Busciglio said the Bird in Hand was already becoming popular.
?It has all been word of mouth and all local people, which is really nice and what we wanted,? he added.