Meet Fabio, LB’s Italian head chef!
LB’s Pizza House is Keswick’s longest standing pizzeria which has been serving up delicious Italian dishes since 1985. Located just of Keswick Market Square at the bottom of Kings Arms Courtyard, LB’s is full of atmosphere, charm and tasty pizza selections!
As delightful as LB’s Pizza House is, the single best feature about the welcoming Italian restaurant is our Italian Head Chef, Fabio Ricchieri, who brings a flavour of his homeland to the Lake District.
Inspired by his grandmother and auntie, cooking runs through Fabio’s veins and he has been heavily inspired by the wholesome dishes his family made while he was growing up. Good food was at the heart of the family and pizza making, in particular, is a part of Fabio’s life – his sourdough recipe is second to none!
We caught up with the Italian chef to learn a bit more about his past, his influences and what brought him to work at an Italian restaurant in Keswick.
Where in Italy are you from?
I grew up in a small Italian town called Frassinelle Polesine. It is approximately 43 miles southwest of Venice and about 6 miles southwest of Rovigo.
How long have you been cooking?
I started cooking when I was only 14 years old. I fell in love with it and have been cooking for 25 years now.
What inspired you to start cooking?
Both my grandmother and my auntie inspired me to start cooking. Growing up I was surrounded by great food and these two women inspired me to learn their tricks of the trade.
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Did your family cook a lot when you were growing up?
Yes, of course! Cooking was a part of our family life back in Italy.
Did you study cooking anywhere?
Yes, I studied 5 years at Hospitality School in Adria (Rovigo) and I have 3 Diplomas & Certificates
Have you always worked in Italian restaurants or have you worked in other kitchens?
I have worked mostly in Italian restaurants because Italian cooking is my passion. I have also spent some time working on cruise ships where the cuisine was international.
Do you have any top tips for people planning on visiting Italy?
- Never ask for a cappuccino with pizza or a pasta dish… otherwise we will look at you very weirdly!
- Don’t ask for a latte in a coffee shop, otherwise we will give you a glass of fresh milk – it happened to one of my friends from the UK once!
- We talk a lot with hand gestures so don’t be scared.
- Don’t ask for a pepperoni pizza as you would in English speaking countries because you will receive a pizza with peppers! The word ‘peperoni’ in Italian translates to bell peppers. If you wish to order a pepperoni pizza, order a pizza with spicy sausage or spicy salami.
What pizza from the LBs menu is your favourite?
Pepperoni pizza of course!
What’s your favourite Italian dish?
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe. It is a simple dish similar to Carbonara that is supposed to have ancient origins that stem back to the Roman Empire. When made correctly, this dish should have no cream or butter in it.
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What’s your favourite type of pasta?
My number one favourite is Tortellini, followed by Rigatoni.
How many countries have you worked in – and where?
I am lucky enough to have worked all across the globe! The places I have worked and visited through work are as follows:
- ITALY: Rovigo, Rosoline Mara, Lido Estensi & Rimini
- GERMANY: Bremen
- AUSTRALIA: Sidney
- BAHRAIN: Manama
- UNITED KINGDOM: London, Windsor & Keswick
- COSTA CRUISES: parts of Europe, Africa & the Middle East
I also once made a pizza one night on Malapascua Island in the Philippines while I was there on holiday!
Why did you leave Italy?
Because I wanted the experience of living in another country – I have a traveller soul.
Why did you come to England?
Because it’s a good country where the work-life balance is good. Plus, it’s not that far from Italy so I can visit home easily.
How long have you worked at our Italian restaurant in Keswick?
3 years now.
What is your favourite thing about living and working in the Lake District?
The beautiful surroundings, the local food and most importantly… the local ales! I have loved my time working at this Italian restaurant in Keswick.
Where is your favourite part of Italy?
Venice and of course, my hometown Frassinelle Polesine.
What is your stance on mixing cheese and fish?
Well for Seafood pasta, no cheese at all. Actually, in Italy we now do some pasta recipes with prawns and blue cheese.
What is your ideal Sunday meal?
A board of Italian cured meats, lasagne and a roast chicken.
What is your favourite aspect of British cuisine?
I like the big variety of meats easily available in Britain and how they are adapted into different meat and fish dishes.
Have you ever reinvented a British dish with an Italian twist?
Not yet… but watch this space.
Book a table at LB’s Pizza House
If you’re looking for an Italian restaurant in Keswick and want to try chef Fabio’s traditional cooking, why not book a table at LB’s Pizza House?
Our opening times are as follows:
- Wednesday – Friday: 12pm – 2pm & 5pm-10pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
To book a table, please give us a call on 017687 72083.