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.

Five minutes with Francesco Mazzei

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.

Discover Francesco Mazzei’s recipe for cheesy asparagus scrambled eggs on toast

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.


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