In memoriam: restaurateur Russell Norman (1965 – 2023)

We remember Russell Norman, the British restaurateur known for opening landmark restaurants such as Polpo and Brutto

in memoriam russell norman 1965 2023
(Image credit: Photography: Jenny Zarins. Courtesy of Ebury Press)

British restaurateur and author Russell Norman has passed away at the age of 57, as confirmed by his partner. Norman is known for his notable contributions to the restaurant industry, introducing the concept of Italian small plates and breathing new life into the Negroni cocktail.

Having earned the title of the ‘new king of Soho dining’ in 2012, Norman had a diverse career in London's most iconic restaurants before co-founding the independent restaurant company Polpo with his close friend Richard Beatty in 2009. They then continued to establish restaurants in central London, including Spuntino and Mishkin's.

Norman's book, Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts), was Waterstones Book of the Year in 2012. This success was further augmented by the BBC2 documentary series The Restaurant Man in 2014. His second book, Spuntino: Comfort Food, New York Style, received the 2016 Guild of Food Writers Award for the best food and travel book.

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In 2018, his third book, Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking, was released. He described the writing process as an 'exile' to the beautiful city to 'learn to cook like a 90-year-old Venetian granny'. Norman continued to make culinary waves, opening a new restaurant, Trattoria Brutto, a traditional Florentine-style trattoria in Farringdon, in 2021. Just last month, he released his latest cookbook, Brutto: A Simple Florentine Cookbook, published by Ebury Press.

Travel Editor

Sofia de la Cruz is the Travel Editor at Wallpaper*. She was born in Madrid, Spain but moved to London when she was 14 years old. Being exposed to the city’s creative pulse at such a young age shaped her into the inquisitive professional she is today. Before joining the Wallpaper* team in 2023, she worked for Hypebae and Hypebeast UK, where she focused on the intersection of art, fashion, and culture. Additionally, she contributed to Futurevvorld by covering a variety of sustainability topics.