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?
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
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)