Francesco Mannelli

Francesco Mannelli


Florence, Italy.


Where I grew up in the hills of Florence, my family picked olives to make olive oil and harvested grapes to make wine, so I’ve been involved in food and hospitality.

As my Mamma is a great cook, I grew up watching her passion in the kitchen, making pasta as a family for Sunday lunches, so I’ve naturally always been in love with food and wine from a young age.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

I chose to become a Chef when I was 13 or 14 years old — this is not unusual in Italy as it is one of the jobs you can work seasonally in the summertime for pocket money as a teenager.

With this, my passion grew to make this my full-time career. So, when I first came to Australia at 23, I already had eight years’ experience.

Australians have a great interest in food and that’s what appealed to me about working here. Sydneysiders like to go to restaurants and enjoy nice dinners and dishes.

There’s not that much attention to dining out in Italy, and maybe that’s because we’re lucky good food is part of our culture, but I appreciate that people talk about restaurants and what they have to eat here.

How would you define your style?

My upbringing influences the dishes at Mode Kitchen & Bar a lot because I don’t like having many elements in one dish. This comes from my Italian background where food is not overly complicated, rather, the focus is placed on the single highest quality ingredients.

The menu is Modern Australian with a Mediterranean influence. Our food is simple and seasonal, created to be enjoyed with good wine amongst good friends.

What is your feature flavour these days?

Simple - Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Obsessive-compulsive about?

Quality of produce and a great example of this is Oysters. I am very specific, where they are selected from, that natural flavour, the size and especially how we shuck them.

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influence:

One of my biggest influences is Jeremy Strode, my culinary hero and one of the most passionate Chefs I’ve ever worked with. He instilled the importance of celebrating a single ingredient when I was his number two at Bistrode CBD. I also look up to Peter Doyle, who I worked with at Est.

After all these years, he’s still the first in the kitchen doing the mise en place. He places such care and attention to detail in everything he does.

My wife, who works in hospitality is also one of my mentors.

What do you love about this business?

Being a Chef, it is the kind of job where you never stop learning. New trends come out almost daily, new techniques are always applied as well as watching old-trends come back to life.

With experience, Chefs are able to work in different kinds of restaurants and environments - from luxury hotels to street food kiosks, yet we’re always proud of what we’re doing.

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Simple, I say it again - Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

In my opinion, our Kangaroo dish. The use of Kangaroo loin crusted in Tasmanian pepper berry served with sautéed warrigal greens and beetroot tends to surprise our guests and we always receive positive feedback for flavour and texture. 

Mode Kitchen & Bar

Mode Kitchen & Bar

Great food, great drinks and great company...Sydneysiders celebrate the simple things in life at Mode Kitchen & Bar on George Street in the heart of the CBD. Delivering uncomplicated, yet memorable Modern Australian dining experiences for lunch and dinner, Mode strikes an ideal balance between a casual bistro and fine dining; with a touch of glamour from surrounds of polished wood, statement pendents and banquette seating. Take the first step towards your culinary destination with ocean trout tartare, cavolo nero, pine nuts, mascarpone and a rice cracker: before mains like grilled Angus tenderloin, porcini purée, veal jus and King brown mushrooms, or steamed Murray Cod, ajo blanco, grape, cucumber and dill. Be sure to leave room for chocolate mousse, roasted hazelnuts and raspberry sorbet.

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