Giulia Caffiero: the joy of serving again at Geranium

The Italian dining room professional from the Danish restaurant tells us her story. And the emotion of opening again on the 3rd of June

15-06-2020
Giulia Caffiero, born in 1992 in Cagliari, has bee

Giulia Caffiero, born in 1992 in Cagliari, has been working at Geranium in Copenhagen since October 2019. After the Danish lockdown in March, the restaurant - 3 Michelin stars, number 5 in the World's 50Best – opened again on June 3rd 

It’s strange to think that I love my job more than myself. At the same time, this is a job I would have never thought of doing. I’ve never studied dining room service nor attended catering school: I attended the liceo classicoand always thought I would dedicate my life to art. Indeed, I enrolled into the faculty of Cultural Goods, in Cagliari. Only now I realise I’ve focused my life on a different art from what we would usually think, the art of hospitality.

I think that my entire journey can be summed up in just one word, “love”. Love for work, for dining room service, for people, for food. I started my career in 2013, at Cucina.eat, a great opportunity. Giuseppe Carrus and Alessandra Meddi guided me into the restaurant world (completely unknown to me) explaining how it worked, and all the goodness it had. In particular, Giuseppe introduced me to the wine world, he was a master and passed me the same passion that today I try to convey to each client.

After two years, I decided to go to Milan, to Marco Ambrosino’s 28 Posti. Here I became aware that dining room service was my future. Every time a client smiled, it was adrenaline, my daily drug, what pushed me to improve day after day. The chef taught me to love food and raw materials; Iris Romano instead taught me how to present what we serve, hospitality, and taking care of each single guest.

After almost two years, however, I felt something was missing. I wasn’t complete and the fact I had never studied service techniques revealed to be a great inner lack for me. So I arrived at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. Here too I found a great master, maître Nicola dell’Agnolo: he immediately understood he had to smoothen my skills and be very patient. He taught me discipline, precision, attention to detail, discretion.

With their dishes full of love and history, Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani lit up in me the desire to tell secrets. After two springs, at 27, I decided to leave again this new “home”. All three restaurants have been, in some way, a home to me. I felt I had to improve more, and so in October 2019 I decided to go to Copenhagen.

Geranium is the restaurant of my dreams and I would have never thought of being up to the task. Here the word “love” is the most important of all. It’s what the entire team says all the time: Rasmus Kofoed and Søren Ledet, chef and dining room manager, they’re the perfect hosts and welcomed me immediately as if in a real family. My new guardian angel is Mattia Spedicato, my manager, from Lecce! He’s my guide inside Geranium, and taught me the so called “Scandinavian method”: love and respect the other always, be it a client or a colleague. This is our team’s strength: you can sense our harmony during the service, and it makes every guest feel at ease.

Unfortunately, after 5 months the world stopped. In March we closed because of the emergency. Two months without working were really hard, but every cloud has its silver lining: indeed, the break helped unite the team even more, we’ve rediscovered ourselves and what we love, it has helped us improve our imperfections. I’ve never felt alone: every week we had a video call, all together. We shared what we were doing, how we were experiencing the block. Fortunately Denmark closed the borders very soon and the situation was not as tragic as elsewhere in the world.

We could go out: I spent lots of time studying, riding my bike and exploring the city, always paying attention to avoid contact with others, keeping distances. Copenhagen is a tidy city, civilised and respectful so it was easy to live these weeks without panic.

On May 20th, the good news arrived: the restaurant was to open on June 3rd. Not the same Geranium, we’re adopting all the safety measures imposed by law: here we don’t have to wear masks and gloves, but tables must be spaced out and absolute hygiene is mandatory. The sense of hospitality will have to reign as and more than ever: we will have to be even more loving with clients, and communicate our calm when we’re with them.

With chef Rasmus Kofoed

With chef Rasmus Kofoed

With Mattia Spedicato, from Lecce

With Mattia Spedicato, from Lecce

Creamy beans with butter, pumpkin seeds and cooked and raw vegetables, one of the dishes at Angelika, the new plant-based temporary restaurant of Geranium. The menu includes 8-9 dishes and costs 650 Danish krowns (around 90 euros). Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Creamy beans with butter, pumpkin seeds and cooked and raw vegetables, one of the dishes at Angelika, the new plant-based temporary restaurant of Geranium. The menu includes 8-9 dishes and costs 650 Danish krowns (around 90 euros). Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

We’re very excited because it’s a new project, a temporary restaurant inside Geranium. It’s called Angelika, from Gerd Angelika, the chef’s mother who taught Rasmus to love vegetables. It will be a plant-based restaurant (that is to say no ingredients of animal origin), inside our inspiration kitchen, a project that the chef had been working on for a while. Open only at lunchtime, it will represent the cuisine of Geranium but in a simpler way, more convivial and accessible.

I’m so happy to be working again. And to convey once again to the world all the joy of a special restaurant.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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