Chef revelations – Francesco Mazzei

06 May 2011 by
Chef revelations – Francesco Mazzei

Francesco Mazzei, chef-proprietor at L'Anima, talks about making ice-cream, Angelo Sabetta, Disneyland Paris and Gomorrah

What was your best subject at school?


What do you normally have for breakfast?

Espresso, and then some warm bread home-made by my brother with tomato and olive oil, and occasionally some frittata

What do you do to relax?

Cook at home with my family

What's your favourite hotel?

The Peninsula in Shanghai

What was your first job?

Making ice-cream in my uncle's gelateria at the age of eight

What is your favourite drink?

Campari and soda

What is your favourite food/cuisine?

Italian, which I eat every day, but I absolutely love Oriental cuisine as well and tend to dine at a French restaurant once a week

What flavour combinations do you detest?

Peanuts in sauces and dishes

What do you always carry with you?

Unfortunately my Blackberry, even though it is on silent from the moment I step into my house

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Crab sticks, as there is no sign of real crab meat in them!

Which person in catering have you most admired?

The Bar at the Dorchester's Giuliano Morandin

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?

Italian chef Angelo Sabetta, because he opened my eyes to the culinary world in front of me and made me pursue my dreams

What daily newspaper/website do you read?

Many websites every day

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?

Probably in the army like my brother

Describe your ultimate nightmare

Disneyland Paris with my wife and daughter. There was no decent food anywhere, so I ended up buying an electric cooker and cooking every day in our room

What is your favourite prepared food product?

Soy sauce and Chinese five spice

When did you last eat a hamburger?

At work a few weeks ago for staff food. We had a burger with pork, beef and veal trimmings together with the most divine onion mostarda one of my sous chefs made

What's your favourite film?

The Terminal

If not yourself, who would you rather have been?

A missionary

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Robert de Niro

What's your favourite book?

Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano

Who would be in your fantasy brigade?

Alan Yau (pastry taster); Giorgio Locatelli (pasta); Andrea Benati (sauces); Carlo Cracco (starters); Angela Hartnett (meat); myself (fish); Gino d'Acampo (watching us cook)

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