Florence Knight

Florence-KnightFlorence is trained in classic French cooking, but her style has been influenced by multiple research trips to Venice, New York and the more adventurous restaurants in Paris.

Her father died in a road accident when she was in her late teens and studying at London College of Fashion. It was his death that inspired her to switch to cooking.

She was plucked from almost-but-not-quite obscurity to run Polpetto in 2010.

Polpetto is modelled on Venetian wine bars or a bàcaro, This is a Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young local wines.

Previously she had worked as a pastry chef at Raymond Blanc’s Diamond Club at Arsenal FC.

Florence grew up near Godalming in Surrey. Meals were often shambolic, but food was shared out from a central plate, an informal style of dining not too far away from the Polpo restaurants today.

“My poor mum gets a roasting for her cooking, but it wasn’t good,” says Florence. “My dad was a typical man in the sense that he’d cook and before you had it in your mouth you had to worship him because it was so amazing. He’d say, ‘Is it good, is it good, is it good?’ And we were like, ‘Oh my God, yeah it’s good.'”

In July 2013 he published her first cookbook containing more than 100 recipes, including the secrets of baccalà mantecato. Writing it caused Knight to examine her approach to food.

“I’m a magpie,” she says. What defines One is that the recipes are simple, all based around three or four central ingredients. “I see food in almost filmic terms,” she writes in the introduction. “A good story always has a single lead, normally with two supporting roles. Any more and the plot becomes confusing.”