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30 Minutes With...

...Tony Crolla, group CEO of Edinburgh-based restaurant chain the Vittoria Group

How did you get into the industry?

I was born into catering, mainly Italian restaurants. My father and sister had a fish and chip shop and my wife’s family do the same, so it’s in the blood, I guess you would say.

What’s your favourite food?

I love fish and chips, of course, but a bowl of my wife Angela’s or mum’s lasagne is preferred.

Is there a food you won’t eat?

I hate cucumber and its smell!

If you could open a fish and chip shop anywhere, where would it be?

I did, just last year with Bertie’s, a stunning 300-seater restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh serving proper fish and chips. I’m hoping another one will follow soon.

Where have you had the best fish and chips?

I really enjoy the fish and chips at Berties, naturally, but on my travels I loved David Miller’s at Millers in Haxby, York. I just loved his energy and passion, it flowed through everything he did in the store, in training and in his chats with us.

What side do you have with your fish and chips?

Mushy peas since I discovered them a few years ago.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?

I have lots and it depends on where I am in Europe. I love Sartoria in Saville Row, London, and Zumba also in London in Knightsbridge. Nearer home we love going to Gleneagles for the experience.

What is your go-to drink?

Easy, a glass of Brunello di Montalcino wine. It's the wine that most critics cite to be the best in all of Italy.

What dish reminds you most of your childhood?

Fried egg and homemade chips at mum’s. It was a treat as we always ate Italian.

What is your guilty food pleasure?

Ice cream, it makes me happy, especially paired with a great movie on screen. Pralines & cream is my favourite.

What’s been your weirdest food combination?

Banana and Nutella sandwiches, it was something we had in Italy and, I have to say, it was spot on!

What one piece of equipment would you love to purchase for your shop?

An automatic head chef ideally, but failing that a machine to prep the haddock and cod.

If you could have anyone join your team who would it be?

Gordon Ramsay as he takes no prisoners and is a real leader.

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