Giuseppe Mascoli: 'Don't just copy recipes, steal them so they become yours'

 

My earliest food memory...Nipples, obviously, which is my last memory as well! Seriously, though, mozzarella: as a toddler, I got told off for putting it in crazy places, like down other kids' nappies.

My favourite cookbook... Apicius, [the sole surviving] cookbook from Ancient Rome, not because the recipes are great but because I can read it out in Latin and show off. As for more modern works, I like Rose Prince's books because she puts a lot of care into sourcing ingredients and you can learn a lot from her about where to get the best fish, meat and veg. I believe sourcing is as important as any recipe.

The kitchen appliance I can't live without... My twelve-ring gas cooker, which I have had for a long time, because you can do so many things on it at once. Do any pieces of kitchenware have great sentimental value for me? Yes, my grandmother, she's a great help.

My culinary tip... Don't just copy recipes, but steal them, so they become yours: I am absolutely a master thief. In terms of pizza-making, make sure you leave the yeast to ferment for a decent amount of time – otherwise the base will be hard to digest. I leave it overnight, though anything above six hours is OK.

My favourite food shop... I like M Moen & Sons, which is a butcher in Clapham; Wild Caper, which is next to my restaurant in Brixton Market and has very good bread; and La Fromagerie and Neal's Yard Dairy for cheese. In Italy, I love Tamburini, which is a deli in Bologna: it's run by people with passion and it's really friendly and they have some amazing salamis for real salami buffs like me.

My top table... Yauatcha [in London's Soho]. I go there about once a week. I like the glamour of it: it looks like a nightclub and it's very dark, which means I look about 38 there – and the food is great, obviously. I also love Lebanese food, and I often go to a place called Al Waha on Westbourne Grove: it's been going for a long time, and they know exactly what they're doing. But I don't have to go to expensive places: I will if I want to impress and the girl's really fit, but generally I'm as happy getting a good kebab from the high street.

My dream dining companion... Karl Marx, I think. Because I'm just a restaurant owner, people think I'm not very cultivated, but with Marx at my table everyone would think I was very progressive and intellectual. But I'd ask him to shave his beard beforehand; food might get stuck in it. I'd take him to Quo Vadis in Soho, because he used to live in the same building; it would be like the second coming of Christ.

My favourite comfort food...You mean when I'm hungover? Alka-Seltzer and oysters – they go very well together.

The strangest thing I've eaten... Lamb's eyes. I was in Greece when I was about 15 or 16 and a gypsy offered my father one on a golden toothpick. He wanted to be polite, but he was very squeamish and I could see from his face that he might have died so I offered to try it instead. It tasted strange but really good, a bit like bone marrow, and in Italy, I even cook them sometimes myself.

My pet hates... Pizza ovens which are made to look like wood-burning ovens but are actually run on gas; they are very widespread in restaurants now. Also, I don't like it when people mess around with a simple dish, like putting cream in carbonara sauce. There aren't really any ingredients I don't like: as the Chinese say, "If it flies and it's not an aeroplane, I'll eat it. If it's got four legs and isn't a chair, I'll eat it. And if it swims and isn't a submarine, I'll eat it."

Giuseppe Mascoli is the owner of Blacks in Soho and the pizzeria Franco Manca, which has branches in Brixton, Chiswick and Westfield Stratford. He has recently launched pizza-making masterclasses. See francomanca.co.uk for more info

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness