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[Part 2/6] Staying Positive During CB: A Chat With Roberto Galetti

Reinventing Michelin Starred Garibaldi to Serve Customers through Delivery & Takeout

This is part 2 in our series, click here to see our first interview with Sharon Ismail!

As many F&B businesses are hit hard by the current measures, we speak to Roberto Galetti, Executive Chef, Managing Director, and owner of award winning and Michelin starred Garibaldi Italian Restaurant in Purvis Street on how his life and business is changing.

Today, Roberto shares with us how he and his team changed the way they prepare their award winning dishes, changed the way they operate, and built a logistics operations from scratch to bring the same food to customers through delivery and takeaway.

Garibaldi is now doing takeaway and free deliveries island wide, order yours here (20% off dine in prices)!

Chef Roberto Galetti in front of Garibaldi resturant

Hi Roberto, can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I came to Singapore in 1999 and opened Garibaldi in 2003. After Garibaldi, I started the Garibaldi Group of Restaurants that includes 21 restaurants all over South-East Asia with multiple brands. I left the group in 2013 and kept only my first restaurant, Garibaldi, that has been awarded 1 Michelin Star since 2017.

My hobbies involve cars; I like cars of every type from vintage to classic and sports to luxury. I don’t love speed but rather, I love the design and the feeling those cars are able to transmit to me. I buy cars based on my childhood dreams, cars that I dreamed of when I was child are in my bucket list.

I believe Flexibility is the key in every successful business.

How is a typical day different now? 

My days are now completely different from before. We have 46 staff employed at Garibaldi, and on a daily basis we usually have 38 on duty, but now we have to split the team and work alternate shifts. This excludes a few key people, including myself. 

Every morning, I come into the restaurant at around 9.30AM. I usually start off my day with helping the customer service team arrange the schedule for delivery, then I move on to the kitchen to help my chefs be ready in time for the delivery. We work hard to respect the delivery time requested by the customers, and we aim to be at their homes about 5 minutes earlier… This gives you an idea of how detailed I am in my job and my life. Once the operations are set and under control, I sit at one of the desks in the dining room and do my office job while waiting to be called for a delivery.

Chef Roberto + Admin working on deliveries in Garibaldi Italian Restaurant

I am not doing all the deliveries by myself of course but, when it is possible, I like to personally thank our customers who are supporting us during this hard time. We do a straight shift from 11:30AM till around 9PM. This means that in the afternoon we are in the restaurant on standby for delivery and we constantly think of our next move. Unfortunately, I do not have much time for my private life at the moment, but I am ok with that because since my daughter, Kiara, was born in 2015, my team has always worked doubly hard so I can spend more time with my family. Now, it’s my time to work hard.

How are you coping with the outbreak? What are some challenges that you’re facing in a time like this?

When this outbreak entered our lives, in our business and in our society as a storm and we had very little time to adapt ourselves. Closing the restaurant was an action that would affect not only me but also the 46 employees that work with me. The pressure is immensely huge because 46 employees means 46 families that are living off Garibaldi… that pressure gave me the strength to take action and fast.  

We were left with no other choice but to explore the takeaway and delivery business. We knew that food created by a Michelin Restaurant could not travel, so we reinvented and changed our approach starting from the food itself. We changed our style of cooking, our food presentation, and we even implemented a logistics operation where we could stay in control.

Garibaldi Italian Restaurant Delivery Boxes

Garibaldi’s set up with delivery boxes. Check out their menu here!

We did not want to rely on a third party, as they do not understand the philosophy behind Garibaldi. For example, the pasta cannot be served overcooked, so we cook it for a reduced amount of time in the water and we mix it with the sauce. Then we separate them and pack the pasta and the sauce in 2 different packages. This is to avoid the sauce (being hot) from continuing to cook the pasta. Once the customer receives our pasta, they will pour the sauce into the pasta and mix it again. By doing this, you can still enjoy an ‘al dente’ pasta that has been cooked 30 minutes before. In less than 2 weeks, with tasting after tasting, we reached the level we wanted and now we are proud to say Garibaldi’s online quality is the same as that of the one we serve at the restaurant. 

Can you tell us what has been 1 positive thing that you’ve noticed during this CB?

People start understanding that Health is everything you need, the luxury of being healthy is more precious than any diamonds could ever be. People start realizing Money cannot buy health. We are all rushing and rushing for more, forgetting that when it’s enough, it’s enough. Hope this will be a great wake up call for the whole world.

With the measures in place, many have to change the way they work and live. Can you share with us what are the 2 positive new norms/habits/changes that you’ve developed during this period?

At work, we embrace the power of Flexibility, changing our style of work completely. Even though it has been very hard, all of my staff are happy to contribute to this challenge and happier that now, since we close at 9PM, we are home much earlier than before. 

Chef Roberto in front of Garibaldi Italian Restaurant

Considering I can’t entertain my friends, whom of course I miss, I have taken a personal change by taking this chance to do the intermittent fasting diet that I have wanted to do since a long, long time ago. This means I am having my breakfast at 8AM, then my lunch at 2PM and I am not eating till the next day for breakfast …looks like a joke but only now I understand the meaning of the word breakfast … BREAK FAST. 

I have already lost 5KG and I feel much better - I sleep well and wake up less tired. In this particular period, I need to be very focused and sharp as lots of decisions need to be taken fast so I have stopped drinking alcohol that usually turns me lazy. In short, I am applying the famous words…healthy mind in a healthy body.

What else keeps you going in a tough time like now? Any advice to share with others on how to stay positive in this tough period?

The choice is always in our hands. We could do nothing and close the restaurant, accepting the loss, or try our best to earn something and reduce that loss.

Failure has never been an option in Garibaldi and my team knows that very well. In fact, when I shared with them the situation, they all said “let's try, we must try first, we must do our best, if it doesn’t work, it’s fine, but at least we tried”.

Staying positive is essential, never stopping to believe we can get through this and be much stronger at the end of it is fundamental. If you start to feel fear, you will fail. 

As you have bought our sheets before please describe Weavve sheets in one sentence.

Life can change very fast, this CB is the proof, so now more than ever I have realized how important it is to spend quality time doing whatever you are doing.  Weavve sheets allow me to sleep comfortably and get quality rest. 

Chef Roberto and family on Weavve Home bed sheets

Featured in this photo is our TENCEL™ Classic Set in Midnight.

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