AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Luca Spagnolo

Luca Spagnolo


Puglia, Italy.

My journey began in Italy where I was born and raised. However, after many different jobs, I soon realised that I needed to leave my home country in search of a better future and I ended up in London.

I began my career in the hospitality industry as a Pizza Chef in a small café in the heart of Soho. Although it was a humble beginning, it enabled me to learn to speak fluent English.

I quickly fell in love with the kitchen and poured my energy into learning the craft of a Chef. For me, cooking is not just about putting together ingredients to create a dish, but rather it's a form of art that requires attention to detail, precision and creativity.

I take great pride in creating dishes that not only taste great, but also look beautiful on the plate. 

Over the years, I worked hard to hone my skills as a Chef, taking on various roles in different restaurants and kitchens. I am constantly learning new techniques and experimenting with different flavours and ingredients, always pushing myself to be the best Chef that I could be.

Eventually, my hard work paid off and I was promoted to the position of Head Chef at a one-hatted restaurant. This was a significant milestone for me, but I didn't stop there.

I continued to work tirelessly, constantly striving to improve my craft and consistently deliver exceptional dishes to my customers. Now, my sights are set on achieving a second hat for Signature Restaurant and I am working even harder than before to make this a reality.

Looking to the future, I have a dream of opening my own restaurant some day. I want to create a space where I can showcase my culinary vision and express my creativity in a way that is truly my own.

I know this will require a lot of hard work and dedication, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to make this dream a reality.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

No, I began my career thinking I preferred working in a trade like an electrician, welder, or mechanic (I have tried all 3), but I wanted a better future, so I left Italy for good.

I started a new path in the hospitality industry and I’ve decided that’s what I want to do with my life.
How would you define your style?
Modern, contemporary. 

What is your feature flavour these days?
I can tell you that food and flavour trends are constantly changing and evolving based on a variety of factors, such as cultural influences, health and wellness trends and sustainability concerns.

Right now, I am concentrating on a seasonal menu that consists of only Queensland produce.

Obsessive-compulsive about? 

Attention to details, making sure that every dish is made and presented to perfection.

Your greatest culinary influence: 

I like turning every culinary expression I experience every day into inspiration for my work.

This inspiration is mostly taken from books and the social media of amazing Michelin-starred European Chefs. 
Sometimes it comes from a particular course that catches my attention during a degustation menu, a dish made by a peer. It comes from many different sources.

What do you love about this business?
As a Chef, I love the ability to transform simple ingredients into delicious and visually appealing dishes that can bring joy and satisfaction to people’s lives.
An ingredient you can’t live without?

Cheese, mushroom and truffle. 

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Smoked eggplant culurgiones (type of Sardinian ravioli-like stuffed pasta), macadamia curd, miso cream and sherry glazed onions.               

Signature dish:

Brisbane Valley quail with smoked bacon jam, beetroot and dried apricot and pickled blackberry. During seasonal menu changes, I like to play with different purées or garnishes to discover new combinations of flavour. 

Tell us something no one knows about you?

I have been known to finish work and have a glass of vino. I sometimes enjoy watching Gordon Ramsay’s reaction Tik Toks. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Hopefully I would like to see myself as a business owner probably in Europe.



Celebrating a shared passion for food, wine and a promise to constantly evolve, Signature restaurant is the pinnacle of Emporium Hotel Southbank's culinary collection. Located on Grey Street, this venue boasts a 150-year-old stained glass window, blush pink and burnt orange tones, a backlit white onyx bar and bespoke furniture, while more than 1000 handblown glass balls crown a range of design features. From a menu crafted to be innovative, start with Mooloolaba swordfish, corn, pistachio, basil and fermented capsicum, enjoyed with a drop from The Library's 6000 bottles of wine. For the main, delve into Fair Game wild venison, sweet potato fondant, shallot, pear and sage, or Wagyu tenderloin, pioppino mushroom, chestnut and broccoli, before strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake to finish.

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