Cooking with Geoff Mastroberardino
PUBLISHED: 12:23 27 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:23 27 October 2015
Geoff Mastroberardino isn’t easily ruffled, even when you’ve burnt 300 biscuits. He’d have loved to have cooked for a top Hammer but surely cooking for a Prince has made up for it. Words by Stephanie Mackentyre
Where do you work?
I’m head chef at the Chequers in Matching Green.
What is your earliest food memory?
It was seeing my grandad in Italy preparing a pig into different cuts.
What was your first ever job and where was it?
My first ever job was at Langans Brasserie in Green Park, London.
What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?
Simply, I get passionate about what you can create from simple ingredients.
Who would you love to cook for and why?
I would have loved to have cooked for Bobby Moore, as I am a devoted West Ham United fan.
Which is your favourite dish to prepare?
At the moment I would say probably seafood broth with pickled beets and samphire.
Who was your inspiration to take up cooking and how do they affect what you do now?
My inspiration was my Italian grandparents as they would always use food they had bought that day at the local market. Even today that remains my philosophy and I love to be able to use local, fresh produce in my dishes.
When I was little I wanted...
To be a bus driver, as I thought that was what my dad did. He actually sold cars!
Do you have a favourite ingredient to work with?
I enjoy working with seafood and fresh fish.
Any celebrity moments you can share with us?
As a commis chef I was waiting in an elevator with the singer Prince, and his massive bodyguard invited me to cook for him in his private suite.
where do you originally come from and how did you end up here?
I am originally from North London and worked in London for many years. I then decided to move out of the City and work in Essex.
At home, who lives there and who cooks most of the time?
I live with my wife, Sarah. She cooks most of the time as she is a good cook and gives me a break from the stoves.
When I’m not in the kitchen I love nothing better than…..
Going to the gym and running. I have recently lost seven stone and my aim is to do the London Marathon in 2017.
Are there any kitchen disasters you can tell us about that you’d rather forget…
I think I would rather forget when I had to bake 300 shortbread biscuits and got the temperature wrong so I burnt all of them. I had to work all day to make them all over again!
If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I would love to be able to spend more time with my wife and work a little less.
What is still on life’s list of things to do?
To see West Ham United win the league!
Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?
Keep calm and don’t panic, always be well prepared and have a good and happy team.