Maurizio Cecco was just twenty years old when he arrived in Manchester, straight out of catering college in Sorrento.
Now, his restaurant Salvi’s has branches on John Dalton Street and the Northern Quarter as well as the flagship Mozzarella Bar and Restaurant and Deli in the Corn Exchange.
Over the past few years, the name Salvi’s has become synonymous with top quality, authentic Southern Italian cookery made from the best, carefully sourced Italian ingredients.
With its lovely outdoor seating, café-style upstairs deli and bar, and restaurant with private dining spaces downstairs (including The Wine Room), Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar is a deli, eatery and aperitif bar all rolled into one.
And for Maurizio, it’s all about family.
Salvi’s is named after Maurizio’s father, and it’s inspired by his mother’s kitchen back home in Naples.
There are joints of Italian cured hams, the finest freshly imported mozzarellas, and the kind of wines that transport you directly to sunnier climes.
Maurizio makes regular trips home to ensure he’s getting the very best of the best from the artisan growers and suppliers that he knows so well.
From sun-drenched lemons to juicy plump olives, you won’t find these products on the menu anywhere else in Manchester.
The Corn Exchange restaurant is famed for creating Neapolitan dishes where these very best ingredients are allowed to shine within simple but beautiful recipes.
And freshly made pasta is, perhaps unsurprisingly, at the heart of it.
The chefs make all the pasta by hand the traditional way each morning. This means that it’s super fresh and is Salvi’s own – just the way it’s done back in Naples.
Maurizio’s favourite dish – pasta in a San Marzano tomato sauce with anchovies and capers – is even named Pasta Salvi’s.
“This dish has been on our menu since we opened,” says the chef.
“It’s also my dad’s favourite pasta dish.”
The chef is so fond of the traditional recipe that he even shared the recipe and technique during lockdown, so that the next generation of chefs and enthusiastic home cooks can enjoy the authentic Italian dish at home.
And that includes passing the recipe down to his own young daughter, Sienna, who helped her father present the video tutorials which they broadcast live from the Salvi’s Facebook account while the restaurants were closed.
But if you want to try the real deal yourself, you don’t need to travel to Naples.
You’ll find it right here in Manchester, at The Corn Exchange.