Celebrity

Aldo Zilli’s Surrey life chopping up wood and serving Judi Dench

Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli said he loves life in Surrey after moving to the county with his family from London. Aldo moved from Chelsea to the Surrey Hills and called the added space in the area “amazing”.

Aldo, 66, is the founder of Casa Zilla in the Redhill area. The venue is not only an Italian restaurant, which opened during the pandemic, but also home to Aldo, his wife Nicola and their two children Rocco and Twiggy. Clearly, Aldo is a big fan of inviting people to his house as during lockdown last year he opened a drive-in cinema in a field at his home.

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He said at the time: “This is a chance for people to come and experience a real slice of the legendary Italian hospitality. I have loved my move to the Surrey countryside, and the extra space has given me the opportunity to throw open my doors and show people what the Zilli experience is all about.”

Aldo started his career in the UK in a Surrey hotel and went on to open many restaurants in London before his move to the county, including Signor Zilli and Zilli Green. Interestingly though, he said in a 2013 interview with Ria Amber Tesia that he would “never” open a restaurant in Surrey as it’s “very stressful”.

However, despite his move to the county years before he was less than pleased with Surrey’s food scene in a 2019 interview – branding it “mediocre”. He said: “I would say it’s quite mediocre. I never know where to go and eat which is less of a problem as we cook at home all the time.

“Maybe I’m spoilt coming from London, you’ve got everything you want in London.” He did go on to say that Surrey is improving though, citing Reigate for its many restaurants.

Aldo isn’t short of celebrity customers, having cooked for the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Johnny Deep and George Michael. In December last year he even posted a photo of himself serving Dame Judi Dench – another Surrey resident – calling her a “great customer” of Cashier Zilli.

His Surrey restaurant is also a finalist in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2022. Outside of cooking, Aldo seems very much at one with the open countryside.

In an interview with Surrey Life published in 2020, he said: “I live in the Surrey Hills [in Bletchingley] and invested in a pro Pinarello bike so I can tackle the ups and downs of the hills.” He went on to say that he explores “life in the wilds” with his children and dog as well as cutting up wood and lighting fires.

He added: “Moving from a small place in Chelsea to having 10 times the space is amazing – I highly recommend it!”

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