DIARY: Franco and Bruno are the pasta masters in St Luke’s dining room

Fascinating as the radical new working method, workers’ co-operative, horizontal structure, and all-round bright-young-thingness of St Luke’s is, it was with some trepidation that the Diary approached in-house lunch with the charming Andy Law.

Fascinating as the radical new working method, workers’ co-operative,

horizontal structure, and all-round bright-young-thingness of St Luke’s

is, it was with some trepidation that the Diary approached in-house

lunch with the charming Andy Law.



We’re not great fans of in-house. It usually means a few curled-up

sandwiches and byzantine coffee pots. Well, this time we were wrong,

very wrong.



First there was the smell. A delicious aroma of garlic and tomatoes

wafting up the stairs from St Luke’s basement in the former Wolff

Olins/Laing Henry building in Euston. Then there was the huge kitchen,

the bustling dining area with giant Habitat tables nestling among ping-

pong tables and Apple Macs where sad people played with the Internet

and, of course, the classic Italian chefs.



Not just any chefs, mind you. Franco, from Toscana, just happens to be

the founder of the much-loved San Frediano restaurant in London’s Fulham

Road. After 20 years, he sold out in the late 80s to devote more time to

worrying about his boy, Dave Buonaguidi, who just happens to be the

joint creative director of St Luke’s. Bruno, from Parma, the one who

looks like Luca Brasi, the mean bloke from the Godfather (as in ‘Luca

Brasi - he sleeps with the fishes’), was the head chef, until he

disagreed with the new owner on future creative strategy.



When St Luke’s moved into the former toffee factory in January, the

workers’ co-op found themselves ‘lumbered’ with a designer kitchen range

designed by Wally Olins. They didn’t know what to do till Dave asked

papa for advice.



The boys started coming in for fun in February and now serve up a short

menu with options and great puds at unbelievably cheap prices

(especially if you know San Fred’s) Monday to Thursday. (On Fridays,

it’s curled-up sarnies and byzantine coffee machines.) They serve 35 to

40 covers a day and go big on vegetarian sauces - obviously, as

Italians, not through choice but because ‘a lotta da women don’ wanna

put on too much weight’.



We were treated to a magnificent Tuscan bean soup with perfect al dente

pasta, followed by a stunning bowl of spaghetti with tuna and olives.

The tiramisu, made on site an hour or two earlier, was to die for. If

they’re in a good mood they’ll name a dish a day after a member of

staff. On the day we were there, yet another member of staff had

discovered they were to be a parent - a phenomenon the boys,

inevitably, put down to their ‘magic food’.



Their fame is spreading, too. We heard doctors from round the corner

phone to ask if they could come to lunch. But they rule with an iron

fist - even visiting clients have to put their dishes into a behind-the-

counter dishwasher.



So what do the boys make of agency life? ‘English people, I don’t want

to offend them, but they don’t understand Italian food well,’ Bruno

says. ‘That’s just a joke, OK?’ Actually, Bruno, anything you say is OK

by us.



Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).