05 Jul Introducing our New General Manager, Gianluca Austin-Rizzo
Originally from Puglia in Southern Italy, Gianluca brings a wealth of experience to Simpsons following a varied and successful career in the hospitality business after a very early start!
Leaving home aged just 14 to train at the prestigious CFP Vallesana Hospitality school located in Sondalo near the Switzerland border, Gianluca arrived in England in 1999.
His very first position here was to work for Michael Roux Senior at the Waterside Inn in Bray – one of only five restaurants in the UK to hold three Michelin stars – and this fuelled his passion for hospitality even further.
Starting here as a waiter, nearly seven years later after gaining the title of Assistant Maitre D’Hotel, Gianluca’s potential was seen by Michel Roux who then asked him to become manager of The White Hart Inn in Nayland near Colchester, where he learned the financial aspects of the trade.
On a brief return to Italy, Gianluca helped to set up Piazza Duomo with chef Enrico Grippa, and was part of the team that secured the first of it’s now three Michelin stars.
Whilst he enjoyed the experience of establishing a new restaurant, Gianluca was keen to return to the UK’s diverse culinary scene. Following a managerial position at Yynshir Hall in Mid Wales, here also gaining a Michelin Star, having Sommelier Accreditation and a big passion for wines allowed him to take a slight detour on his career as he took a position as Sales Manager for Eurowines – a London based wine importer with a strong focus on Italian wines. After a successful period travelling around the UK, it was time for Gianluca to get back to his main passion.
The hospitality business then took him to Bath where he designed his own concept of a contemporary Italian restaurant, then soon after, love took him to settle in Malvern, Worcestershire where he married and still resides.
Here Gianluca took a position as Food & Beverage Manager at The Cottage in the Wood Hotel – an iconic property on the Malvern Hills.
Since starting at Simpsons in February 2018, Gianluca has already made an impression on restaurant owner Andreas Antona.
Andreas says, “Gianluca not only has an impressive CV but his passion for hospitality is genuine and his customer service skills are excellent. He’s a fantastic addition to the team and with his experience and know-how, I’m sure he can help Simpsons maintain its status as being one of Birmingham’s best.”
Gianluca describes his position here at Simpsons as a “privileged and dream role”.
“I am extremely happy to become General Manager at Simpsons. For me, Michelin Star dining is very much about the experience as a whole. From the beautiful property and gardens, the welcome, the time spent here… the food and wine from our expert team of Chefs and Sommeliers alone makes the dining experience at Simpsons a memorable one and building and training a team to provide an impeccable service – a cut above the rest, really creates those special moments and lasting memories.”
“I look forward to a long career here at Simpsons. Working alongside Andreas and Executive Chef Luke (Tipping) helping to maintain the excellent reputation and status they have earned over the years I also hope to make my mark by taking the whole customer experience to the next level.
Looking ahead, I hope to inspire and welcome a new generation into a highly passionate and rewarding career in the world of hospitality.”