How I Got Here: Antonio Alderuccio

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Antonio Alderuccio founder and chef patron at Plant Club in Newington Green, London, on his childhood love of restaurants

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The founder and chef patron at Plant Club in Newington Green, London, on his childhood love of restaurants, being paid a fair wage, and learning from a costly business decision.

Why restaurants?
Since I was a kid, I have associated restaurants with warm and cosy spaces where just nice things happen, people get together around the tables, and others will take care of them for a couple of hours of conviviality. It’s something romantic which convince me to change my career path to follow my heart. Before becoming part of this industry, I was already a super foodie always on the hunt for new spots.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
As I mentioned before, this career is life-changing for me, I had a long time to think about it after having the chance to confront myself with industry professionals whom I had the chance to know as a customer and as a friend before I took my decision.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
There are many great restaurant groups in the UK, and the "best" can be subjective based on various factors such as food quality, innovation, service, ambience, and value for money. I don't have a favourite one at the moment.

What motivates you?
The fact of thinking to give a little contribution to this industry, taking care of a niche of the market, which until no long time ago wasn’t really well considerate.

What keeps you up at night?
Thinking about how to improve our services.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
All the people I had the pleasure to meet during my career left me with something which now is part of my knowledge luggage.

What time do you wake up?
Depend on the day, but usually at 9am.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
Pasta Aglio e olio e peperoncino

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
A customer came to the restaurant asking the waiter if we can serve a pasta dish with sauce on the side. I went to the table saying I will not do that because for me it was like asking a jacket shop to buy a jacket in pieces.

Favourite holiday destination?
My beloved Sicily.

What are you currently reading?
What is cooking​, by Ferran Adria.

What's been your best business decision?
Introduce pizza on delivery during the pandemic. I launched the pizza for the first time on the delivery platform with a great performance, 200% + of the sales.

And the worst?
I trusted the wrong investors, and they almost destroyed the project. I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
To be consistent, this is a long run; like a marathon, you must balance your energy to make it all the way.

What would it be if you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today?
If there was one thing to change in the restaurant industry, it could be to ensure that workers are paid fair wages and benefits and that there are systems in place to prevent harassment and discrimination. This could involve implementing policies that promote transparency and fairness in compensation, providing training on harassment and discrimination prevention, and holding employers accountable for violations of labour laws. By prioritising the well-being and dignity of restaurant workers, the industry could become more sustainable and equitable for everyone involved.


Born in Syracuse in Sicily, Italy, Alderuccio studied economy at the Cattolica University in Milan. He started his career in hospitality after moving to London, with his first job being a KP in a café. From there he rose through the ranks of the kitchen, beginning as a commis chef at Riding House Café and then working different roles in various hotels across the capital. He launched his Plant Club concept, a plant-based, gluten-free, organic Italian restaurant and natural wine bar, in 2019. 

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