Our dedicated team at L'Ortolan

MARCO NARDI, Restaurant General Manager

Marco Nardi - Restaurant Manager ReadingMarco is a very passionate professional, and just like one of his favourite wines - he is considered a "biodynamic" manager.

His hospitality background started at the age of 14 in Italy, when he decided to join Hospitality School with the goal of one becoming a great Chef.

After a summer season in a hot, Italian kitchen - he realized  that he was missing the direct contact with guests, hence why in his 2nd year he decided to focus on Restaurant & Bar Management.

At the age of 15, during his first international experience at The Palace Hotel in Gstaad ( Switzerland ) he discovered what later would become his great passion and obsession - wine.

During his 3rd year at Hospitality School, he started researching hotels and restaurants with great and notable wine lists and Sommeliers to work with, and thus he ended up working at several Relais & Chateaux properties in Italy and Europe, where he finally reached a Manager position as Matire Hotel and Head Sommelier at Saint Hubertus Resort in Cervinia ( Italy ).

Finally deciding to search for a new challenge, at the age of just 25 years old, Marco has moved to UK which in his view is considered " one of the most open-minded country when it comes to speaking and discovering wine ".
His first steps led him to Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire, under the guidance of Francesco Gabriele (now the Wine Director at Chewton Glen). There he had the chance to be a part of a two year consecutive Best Wine List in UK and had the opportunity to approach the world of the Sommelier competition. During his time at Chewton he reached Management level within the Sommelier department before spending big part of his last couple of months there as a Restaurant Manager.

He joined the Team at L'Ortolan at the beginning of September 2018 as the new Restaurant General Manager, willing to improve within the "Michelin world of fine dining" and by working closely with our Head Chef Tom Clarke, aiming to improve further the exquisite dining experience we provide.

Lucian Obreja - Head Sommelier

Lucian - Head Sommelier Restaurant ReadingLucian was born in Romania. In his youth he used to cook to his siblings and at this early stage he developed the passion for combining different spices and ingredients together.

As a teenager, after a long day at school he used to work in restaurant, and the more different restaurants he visited, the more experience he gained which helped him develop his dream of becoming a professional chef.

However, working class ambitions initially ended up pushing him down an academic path and eventually lead him to University where he studied Economics. Half way through his course he came to realization that the choice he made would finally put him in front of a computer screen "for the rest of his life”. He took a hiatus from studying and decided to move to Italy, where he ended up working in different restaurants for several more years. It was during those years he considered committing fully to a career in hospitality and thus he decided to embrace that path.

For three years he intensely studied Food & Wine at AIS. His free time was spent travelling and visiting various vineyards of Friuli and sampling delicious wines.

His passion for traveling took another curve when he took on a position of a Sommelier at a Silversea Cruise Line ship. Given the opportunity to sample fine wines, great food and meeting with unique personalities. It is during that time I met my future wife, who just like me shared passion for good food and wines. After 4 years spent at sea I moved to UK, got married and did a series of WSET courses, and started working at L’Ortolan.

Wine is my passion, and it’s a great privilege to be able to work with it daily. But more than anything, it’s the people who make the world of food and wine so fantastic.