5 Questions with Head Chef Francesco Mannelli from Mode Kitchen & Bar

The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has always been a must visit for locals and tourists alike, and for anyone looking for great food Mode Kitchen & Bar headed  by Head Chef Francesco Mannelli is definite highlight of any visit to the hotel. We sat down with Chef Francesco to chat about the Restaurant, what Inspires him and how he came to work for the Hotel.

  1. How would you describe Mode Kitchen & Bar?

Meaning ‘of the moment’, Mode Kitchen & Bar is a modern Australian restaurant with a Mediterranean influence that strikes a balance between fine dining and bistro. We offer uncomplicated and unfussy food using the best produce of the season. The venue is luxurious but also welcoming, with friendly service that makes for a memorable dining experience.

  1. What’s your inspiration behind the menu?

I draw inspiration from the ingredients, and then I create the dish. Due to my Italian background, I like to celebrate fresh and seasonal produce, without using too many elements on the plate. In addition to the Mediterranean influences, I’m also inspired by my sous, junior sous and pastry chefs and the cuisines of where they’re from – French, Chinese and Korean to name a few. Every touch makes a different flavour.

  1. What are the must have dishes?

For seafood lovers like myself, our fresh whole fish catch of the day is incredible. It’s cooked in our wood-fire oven and served with capers and olive sauce. My supplier selects the best fish available every day for me. Otherwise there’s our spectacular 21 day dry-aged, 1kg Coorong Angus T-bone steak from South Australia. I use the same cooking techniques of the traditional Florentine dish, “bistecca alla Fiorentina”. It’s also cooked in the wood-fire oven and served rare, so it’s really tender!

  1. What’s the concept behind the cocktails, and what’s your drink of choice?

Our cocktails are classics with a modern twist. Restaurant manager Simone Cordedda and team of bartenders are passionate about crafting cocktails using minimal garnishes but maximum flavours. For a pre-dinner drink, I love our signature Mode G&T, which uses Archie Rose gin and StrangeLove Dirty tonic. The native bark in the tonic gives it a really unique and refreshing flavour. And for post dinner, I can’t go past Ex²TNI, our premium espresso martini which combines two espresso shots with Patron XO Café, Ketel One vodka and Mr Black liqueur, and topped with a house-made chocolate and hazelnut crumb wafer garnish.

  1. How did you become a Head Chef here at Mode Kitchen & Bar?

I decided to become a chef at the age of 13 or 14, so when I came to Australia from Florence at 23, I already had eight years of experience in restaurants and hotels. I have been living in Sydney for ten years and previously worked at many hatted restaurants, but when I was contacted about this opportunity at Mode Kitchen & Bar, I jumped at the chance to become a part of the Four Seasons family and have freedom of expression through the dishes. Having been involved from the beginning means I’m constantly learning.


About Francesco Mannelli

Simplicity and seasonality is central to Tuscan cuisine – and Francesco Mannelli stays true to his Florentine roots no matter where and what he cooks around the globe: specialising in simple dishes executed exceptionally, and always with the best seasonal produce.

The Italian-born Sydneysider has more than 20 years’ experience in kitchens of top restaurants and hotels in Italy and Australia. For the past decade, he has worked in hatted Sydney restaurants including Est, Bistrode CBD and Osteria Balla.

When he’s not cooking, Francesco likes to travel around the country to meet producers and discovering different ingredients, from creamy Tathra oysters from the south coast of NSW to grass-fed English longhorn beef from grazier Richard Gunner in South Australia.

Francesco is also a keen fisherman – a pastime he picked up in his childhood, when he would travel 100km from Florence to the beach every weekend to fish off the sand. He keeps up the tradition in Sydney, taking his two young daughters fishing on the weekends north to the Central Coast or south to Jervis Bay.

About Mode Kitchen & Bar

Mode Kitchen & Bar is a new Sydney CBD restaurant celebrating simple dishes executed exceptionally well with impressive technique and the freshest local ingredients.

Meaning “of the moment”, Mode Kitchen & Bar responds to the demand from Sydneysiders and city visitors alike for a simple and uncomplicated yet utterly memorable dining experience.

Dinner & Drinks never looked so good then at MODE Kitchen & Bar …

by Arrnott Olssen
Editor Rogue Homme