I have been very fortunate in this activity of fine dining guide to meet and interview some truly great people. On Friday 20th August 2004 Diego Masciaga gave his first web based interview and it was to fine dining guide in one of the little summer houses by the river. Neither prior nor since have I been moved to write such a detailed overview of an interviewee. I remind you of it below…
For the last twenty years, wherever I’ve been – for pleasure or business – I’ve sought out the best restaurant in the area. Some would say an expensive affliction but to me there is no greater natural high than the experience of a top quality restaurant. And having returned to The Waterside around 8 times a year for the last 10 years I can honestly say that no greater high is to be found.
After nearly two decades Diego Masciaga and the Waterside Inn have become synonymous. His winning blend of awareness, instinct, charm, honesty and humility is like a Roux trademark. He has the ability to make a person – whatever their mood, whoever they are – feel good about themselves. It is something you cannot teach or learn. It is worth its weight in gold. He has taught butlers for The Royal Family, served at Windsor, the Kremlin and the Palace of King Hussein but from the moment he shakes your hand with that twinkle in his eye, you are the most important person to him – and he means it – he will remember details about you (and not just your dining preferences) that make you feel special.
Diego was born in Oleggio, a small village near Stresa in Italy and by the age of 17 was working in Alain Chapel’s Michelin Three Star restaurant. Two years later, in 1983, he joined Le Gavroche where he was almost immediately promoted to Chef de Rang. By 1985 Diego was managing Le Mazarin for the Roux brothers which received a Michelin Star within four months of opening. In 1988 he started at The Waterside as assistant restaurant manager before being promoted to restaurant manager five months later.
As with any business the customer facing perception defines the brand and the Roux brand has been in safe hands with Diego…..I found Diego to be the most unassuming and charming man; totally self-effacing and at ease with speaking openly and candidly about his experiences. There’s a saying in business that no-one is indispensable, but I sense there is an exception to every rule. Interview took place Friday 20th August 2004.
Much has happened since, although the extraordinary work ethic involved in maintaining such a consistent high performance team has perhaps developed more visibility and recognition. Surprisingly, it was not until 2013/2014 that The AA inaugurated The Service Award as part of their annual launch day gala dinner ceremony; The Waterside were the first winners. Likewise The National Restaurant Awards 2014 saw fit to award Diego and team the National Service prize. Harden’s too, have recognized such great service.
Personal recognitions have also flowed – A Cavaliere from the Italian government – Grand Prix de l’Art de la Salle from L’Academie Internationale de Gastronomie – to go with the Master of The Culinary Arts.
Perhaps it is apt that The Diego Masciaga Way has been written by a customer of The Waterside, however more importantly by an academic experienced in performance, communication and influencing skills – Chris Parker is currently principal lecturer in Sport and Leisure Management at Nottingham Trent University.
The book will naturally resonate within the restaurant service industry and the customers of said restaurants but much further – the book is aimed at teaching those across all customer facing fields generic skills. Indeed the corporate sales professional, for example, might also learn about delivering consistency against obectives while developing influencing and communication skills.
To celebrate the launch of The Diego Masciaga Way, fine dining guide are running a sweepstake giveaway of one copy of the signed hard back book The Diego Masciaga Way. There is no charge to enter, simply retweet the competition entry tweet on the fine dining guide twitter feed. There are a few simple terms and conditions relevant to taking part:-
1) No charge to enter.
2) Retweet entry tweet on fine dining guide twitter page
3) Competition closes at 12pm Saturday 1st November 2014
4) No cash alternative to the prize of a book
5) Prize open to accounts on twitter from UK, USA, Italy and France only. Postal addresses must be in one those four countries to enter.
6) Post and Packaging included.
7) Void if prohibited.
8) Draw for winner will be made w/c Monday 3rd November 2014. fine dining guide decision is final.
9) Winner will be notified via twitter and have 48 hours to claim the book
10) re-draw may be made in the event of no claim but at discretion of publishers.
11) Observe twitter’s own rules regarding competition entry eg One account per entry per person.
Enter here, good luck: https://twitter.com/finediningguide
From November 1st you can buy The Diego Masciaga Way from, for example, Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diego-Masciaga-Way-Lessons-Customer/dp/1909273481/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414577282&sr=1-1&keywords=diego+masciaga+way