Episode 145: Russell Norman: Founder of Polpo and Brutto

My guest today is Russell Norman.

Known as The Restaurant Man, he is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning founder of celebrated restaurants with first THE POLPO restaurant group and now BRUTTO.

Hailed as “London’s coolest restaurateur” and having been described as the man who saved restaurants after the financial crash, Russell is a restaurateur with over 20 years of experience in London restaurants – he worked his way up from bartender to waiter, maître d, general manager and operations director at Caprice Holdings before opening his first restaurant Polpo.

Never one to follow trends, in fact, he sets them…it was Russell who started our love affair with small plates, sharing platters and a move away from the fussiness of fine dining. It was also Russell who started the strict no-reservation policy that spread like wildfire.

Russell has said, “A lot of people fantasise about opening their own restaurant, thinking it is going to be a bit like a dinner party but with a till, but it’s a fallacy” The reality is 18-hour days and they would be tired and miserable”. And yet he says for him, the feeling of running a restaurant is as though “someone’s plugged into the mains”.

Hope you enjoy today’s episode. Don’t forget Russell’s beautiful book Brutto is out now.

Thank you to our sponsor Nestlé Carnation for supporting us in this episode and helping us to bring the show to you every week. Head to their website www.carnation.co.uk for lots of recipe inspiration and there’s even a free downloadable recipe book waiting for you there too.

Don’t forget to come and find us on Instagram and Tiktok @desertislanddishes

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