60 seconds with the chef Giorgio Locatelli

09 March 2006
60 seconds with the chef Giorgio Locatelli

Giorgio Locatelli's passion for food is legendary. His passion for Italian motorcycles is less well known but just as avid. He talks to Emily Manson about the charity ride he's organising, and the joys of motorcycling

Why are you organising this event? Riding is one of my passions. We hope to have about 100 bikers take part on 1 May to help us raise £6,000 for the children's charity
IC Trust, which does research into food allergies such as anaphylactic shock. There's a raffle, too, with items such as a helmet signed by world champion bike racer Valentino Rossi - that should raise quite a bit.

What's going to happen on the day?
The ride will start from the Ace Café on London's North Circular Road and go down to Dorking, where we'll have a fantastic ride around. I've got Illy coffee to bring a van so we can all have a lovely cappuccino halfway through. Then we'll come back to the restaurant and have a fantastic Italian meal.

When did you discover your passion for motorbikes? I was born in a tiny Italian village with one bus a day, so you had to have a motorbike to be independent and get anywhere. My father always had bikes and we used to take the piss out of him and call him a Mod - although he had a bit more flair than the English ones. Also near my home town are two big motorbike factories, MV Agusta and Cagiva, which produce amazing bikes, so we were surrounded by them.

What bike do you ride and why? An Aprilia RSV Mille; the size suits me, as I'm quite tall and the Aprilia has that extra leg room, as well as being a bullet. I ride a Vespa in town and have a Ducati in Italy. My problem is finding time to ride them all. It's like having a beautiful girlfriend and never going to bed with her.

Would you ever ride anything other than an Italian bike? No - not unless the only other option is a donkey. I would never ride a Japanese bike. They've taken over making all our cars already, and even the fast bikes are like riding a hairdryer - not like Italian bikes, which are like stallions.

What draws you to motorbikes? It puts you apart from the rest of the world. My job is all about teamwork, and the bike's the only thing I do myself. I put on my helmet and feel free. Going for a bloody good ride really cools you down. That's why a lot of chefs like them - it's like fishing. After all that time immersed with other people, it's great to have a little bit of time with no questions, no people and just time to think.

What do people have to do to enter the charity ride? All you need is to have the money, about £65, and an Italian bike. We won't allow anyone with a Japanese bike to join us. It would ruin our day.

To book a place, go to www.italianbikeonline.com. To read about last week's Chef Eats Out at Locanda Locatelli click here.

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