This is Nominee Spotlights, a series in which the Best of Western Washington chats with local business owners to get the inside scoop on everything good.
We were lucky enough to get a few minutes to catch up with Mauro Golmavri, the self-taught Owner and Executive Chef at Assaggio Ristorante. The restaurant, which translates to "taste" in Italian, has been wowing Belltown diners since opening in 1993.
Mauro grew up in Ancona, Italy and drew inspiration from his mother. He began his career in Rome, but is entirely self-taught. His resume includes gigs at La Fontana and Il Florentine in San Francisco, Valeriano in Napa Valley, Salute in Citta in Downtown Seattle and Calabria in Kirkland.
How did you get started in the restaurant business? Originally inspired by my mother, I began my cooking career as a prep cook in Rome, Italy. When people ask me, "How did you learn to cook?" I tell them "My stove and my oven are my masters: they teach me everything; they are like my gods."
Which member of staff keeps things running smoothly? Everyone! Kitchen, dining room, office, everyone is important.
How would you describe the vibe at your restaurant? Happy, lively, old-charm Tuscan farmhouse feel. When you walk through the doors you are walking into my living room.
Where do guests come from? Seventy percent of our customers are repeats and locals. And of course we pick up for summer with out of town visitors.
Wow - very precise. How would you describe your clientele? Aged 30 to 50, educated. I like to call them professional diners and love them all.
What's the most memorable thing that has happened at your restaurant? I would have to say one of the most memorable nights was when Martha Stewart paid Assaggio a visit before heading to jail. An honor and very charming.
What is your most popular dish right now? Cinghiale: Pappardelle with wild boar ragύ.
When you're at the restaurant, where do you like to eat? When not at the restaurant I like to dine at Wild Ginger and Jack's Grill for steak.
Published in: interviews