Sally and Michela Galletto, Lucio’s, Paddington

Sally Galletto tried to steer both her children away from hospitality careers. She failed. Today Lucio’s is a true family affair, where Sally runs the office, patriarch and consummate restaurateur Lucio runs the floor, and their children Michela, 32, and Matteo are actively involved both front and back of house. 

“We are four very independent individuals, but when it comes to work we are a united front,” says Sally. “We thoroughly embrace the interaction of older generation and years of experience playing against the younger generation and new ideas. Lucio’s is a very personal restaurant and we love that we have at least one Galletto present for every service. There is constant dedication and commitment from all of us to see Lucio’s thrive and achieve what we all desire the most: exceptional hospitality.”

Michela, 32, started working at in the family business when she was 17. After studying international relations and trying her hand as a travel agent, she returned to the restaurant, knowing she’d never feel as passionate about a career elsewhere.

“I don’t see hospitality as a job, it’s a way of life,” she says. “I grew up at Lucio’s and have seen how hard my parents have worked to look after their customers, staff and suppliers and how meaningful those relationships are to a restaurant. They have taught me how little touches can make all the difference in a customer’s experience. Dad is a maestro on the floor and has taught me the art of service.”

Both Sally and Michela are part of the Council of WAR (Women and Restaurants), an industry group where women get together to share knowledge, brainstorm ideas, discuss problems and figure out solutions. “Having other women around to talk to who are going through the same experiences can be incredibly helpful and inspiring,” says Michela. “I am lucky to have had my mum as a strong female role model at home and at work.”  

Women are the hidden backbone of the industry, says Sally, often working as front of house as well as behind the scenes as accountants, human resources, marketing directors, event organisers and self-taught experts on immigration law, contracts and compliance.

The Mother’s Day weekend is a busy time for Lucio’s, although the restaurant isn’t open on Mother’s Day itself. “We have always closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays,” says Sally. “So many people ask us… even Mother’s Day? Yes, even Mother’s Day. We decided many years ago that family time was important for all of our Lucio’s family. However the Saturday prior is always super busy.”

It gives Michela and Matteo (and granddaughter Anna) the opportunity to spoil their own mum rather than someone else’s. “I think Mothers should definitely have more than one day a year as they do so much for everybody around them,” says Michela. “Mother’s Day gives us the opportunity to look after her for a change.”