Lino Sauro is a renowned chef and entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in some of the world’s finest restaurants. As the Head Chef and visionary behind Olio, his newest immersive dining venture in Chippendale’s Kensington Street precinct, Lino is sharing his version of Sicilian cuisine with Australia. And boy-o-boy is it a delight!
So his background… Growing up in a small Sicilian village on his family’s farm, Lino was surrounded by abundant fresh produce and seasonal cooking. As a teenager, Lino longed to see the world and thought that being a chef was a job that would enable him to travel. Lino started studying in Sicily before leaving home at just 15 to travel and work. He admits back then, he valued cooking as a means to earn money for travelling rather than as a career.
With bags packed he travelled and explored Italy and Europe.
Travelling, cooking and exploring Italy and then Europe, Lino worked under many chefs. He learnt about different techniques and explored new ingredients, Lino made it his personal goal to cook exquisite food from the soul and to be successful.
Opening in 2016, Olio has carved a unique niche in the Sydney dining scene with Lino’s take on Sicilian food, introducing a new Italian way to cook and eat. Taking inspiration from his rich heritage and the flavours of his surrounds, Lino delights in sharing an authentic and modern Sicilian experience with his enamoured guests.
Olio was born.
I recently sat down with Lino to find out more about him and Olio.
Food is your everything Lino,
What is your favourite comfort food to make?
Definitely a great Spaghetti Aglio e Olio or tomato base.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Workaholic, Passionate, Persistent.
Travelling and food go hand in hand. Where is your favourite place to travel? And why?
After Italy (Sicily), I really love to travel to Japan. Both places have three things in common; great respect for the ingredients, amazing simplicity in food – yet a unique way to combine flavours and of course a millennial tradition in hospitality.
Did you always want to be a chef when you were younger?
Not really. I actually chose this job initially as it was a very good opportunity to travel the world. I only started to take being a chef seriously after I turned 30.
You have been in the biz for over 30years, international restaurants, won awards and inducted into WSQ mentor chef Hall of Fame! Add to that, You have also cooked for Famous celebrities… What has been your career highlight?
When I look back on my career and the accolades and opportunities I have been given I am very very grateful. To me though, I am a simple family man with a passion for good food and nothing beats cooking for my wonderful wife and two gorgeous children at home.
What can someone expect when dining at Olio?
Great hospitality, great Sicilian food with a bit of twist and incredible seafood in the most simple and purest way on your plate.
I know this would be like choosing your favourite child but what’s your favourite dish at Olio?
I might sound prosy, but I really love my bucatini with sardine, saffron and wild fennel.
Who is your biggest mentor/inspiration in your life?
It’s hard for me to pick just one, everyone I have worked with in my last 30 years has taught me something unique.
Can you give any advice to anyone starting out in becoming a chef?
I could go on for hours, however, my three top tips of advice are:
1. You need to be dedicated and put your career first – be prepared to sacrifice your free time when starting out.
2. Always choose the best person to learn from and not the most famous.
3. If you want to be a chef, hold off starting a family until you are settled.
Most important question, how do you like your coffee?
I started drinking coffee from day one and will until the day I die, espresso is my weakness!
Olio Kensington Street
Level 2, The Old Rum Store
2-10 Kensington Street
DINNER – Mon-Sat: 6pm-10pm
LUNCH – Thurs-Sat: 12pm-3pm
TERRACE – Mon-Sat: 5pm-10pm
Phone: (02) 9281 1500