Italian-born Flavio Carnevale is the owner – operator of MARTA, a dedicated cucina Romana, which opened in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay in October 2017. Flavio grew up with a strong appreciation for food, as the son of a butcher and the grandson of a farmer in his hometown of Rapone, a small village in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. Like most young Italians, Flavio headed for the bright lights of the big city to pursue his studies, migrating to Rome at the age of 17 with a dream of becoming an architect.
To support his schooling, Flavio worked as a server in restaurants with some of Rome’s biggest personalities, including Roman nightlife celebrity Bartolo Cuomo. The hospitality bug ended up biting Flavio hard, and he spent the next ten years working in Rome’s famed restaurants, such as Caffe della Pace, a favourite spot of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Francis Ford Coppola (and about as close as you can get to living La Dolce Vita). In Flavio’s view, hospitality relates to a restaurant’s entire package so he endeavoured to become the chef’s closest ally in every job, learning their recipes and techniques acting as a kitchen apprentice by day then on the floor by night.
Flavio’s next adventure took him to working in Barcelona Spain at Tragaluz then onto Sydney in where he quickly became enamoured by Australia’s vibrant hospitality scene. Flavio started in Paddington Alimentari followed by six years in Sydney’s much-loved Italian eatery, Fratelli Paradiso Potts Point before making the bold transition to restaurateur in 2012. He launched Popolo, a southern Italian restaurant inspired by his childhood in Basilicata.
After running Popolo in Rushcutters Bay for five years, Flavio shifted the focus from southern Italy to Rome to launch MARTA, his second restaurant, in Popolo’s former space. Flavio’s passion for food and wine regularly finds him journeying back to his adopted city to source exciting new products, unique to MARTA.
“MARTA is about bringing the best of Roman Italian restaurants to Sydney. It’s my joy to share it with you. Alla caciara!” – Flavio