People | Francesco Pasti

Raised in Milan with a mix of Italian and American parentage, Francesco 'Cigo' Pasti is an expert on mobile money technology for Africa and developing countries, a chef at underground ragu restaurant Barigaldi and a semi-retired super middleweight boxer with an alarmingly long reach. 

Francesco wears the Azul shirt

Francesco wears the Azul shirt

Where's the most exciting place for mobile money technology right now? It must be India as recently there has been a change in regulation, along with several government initiatives towards digitisation, that will enable hundreds of millions of people to have access to financial services for the first time. What was the last payment you made using a mobile device? Although not technically me, my wife just used M-Pesa to pay the artisans she works with in the Kibera slum in Nairobi that craft her highly coveted statement jewellery.

Where do you sneak off to in Africa between work? Lamu island with its mix of influences - Omani, Arab and Asian cultures colliding with Swahili - but, in particular, I'm fond of exploring the archipelago with a dhow and enjoying the local flavours at Peponi, which, by the way, also has the best Italian food I have had in Africa not that I'm biased...

In London you moonlight as a skinny Italian chef so what is the best restaurant in Milan? Eat the ossobucco with risotto alla milanesa at the Antica Trattoria della Pesa. Your ragu has cult status but who has the best ragu in London after Barigaldi? It's slim pickings but the beef shin ragu with pappardelle at Trullo is excellent. And worst recent meal? Soho House in London - overpriced and less than average. Where do you enjoy passing time in London? Petersham Nurseries with a stack of newspapers. What do you drink? Whisky con ghiaccio.

You box - what was the result of your last fight? I won on points - split decision. He opened my lip up in the first round, which rattled me, but I pulled it back and managed to pin him down with my jab. Favourite prizefighter and best rounds of all time? Golovkin today but Sugar Ray Leonard was the best of all time and those three rounds of Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns were marvellous. You are a Juventus fan but, more seriously, who is your favourite Brazilian footballer of all time? Despite being a Juve fan, it was difficult not to admire the original Ronaldo's class and speed in his prime. 

Francesco wears the Azul shirt

Francesco wears the Azul shirt