Five minutes with Francesco Mazzei
We caught up with Italian chef Francesco Mazzei to ask him seven quick-fire foodie questions. Read our interview to discover what he thinks about Grana Padano, bruschetta and eating breakfast with his family.
What’s your first memory of food?
As far as I remember, it’s the smell of my Nonna’s tomato sauce. She would use it to create the most amazing bruschetta in the world – just fresh bread, her tomato sauce and extra virgin olive oil. I have so many memories of eating and cooking with my family.
What’s the first recipe you learned to cook?
When I was seven, I used to help my family make cured sausage for the winter, served with bread and pickles.
What’s the recipe you can’t live without?
My mother’s rabbit stew. I have it all the time at home and it’s a favourite on my menu at Radici – it’s really comforting and reminds me of family.
What’s the one ingredient you’d take to a desert island with you?
I would take a whole wheel of Grana Padano Riserva – it’s so versatile. Used as an ingredient, it makes the perfect accompaniment to any dish. Or just eat it on its own – which is how I love it.
What’s the meal you’d miss the most?
It would have to be breakfast with my family on Easter Monday – the only time we eat all-together in the morning. Every year, we all sit down and have scrambled eggs with wild asparagus, crispy peppers and black olives – so simple but so tasty.
You can have a one-off dinner party on the island…Who would you invite?
I would invite Sophia Loren, Diego Maradona and Roger Waters. I would also invite Aldo, the sandwich maker from my hometown in Calabria – he makes the best sandwiches.
Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
It would have to be mine: Mezzogiorno: Recipes from Southern Italy! Or, if I couldn’t take mine, it would be the Silver Spoon cookbook which is a must-have for anyone interested in cooking.