What did you serve Nelson Mandela? Did he enjoy it? When I cooked for Nelson Mandela, I was working at The Sheraton Bahrain in The Persian Gulf. We created a large menu for the occasion with different meals, each from a different country. One of my dishes was Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli.
Your best food memory? Most of my food memories are from the time I was growing up, my Mama’s food. Everything she made was good. Since I am a good Italian, I grew up eating pasta with every type of sauce. I also ate polenta, which was served at least a couple of times a week on our family table. For dessert, I always loved my Mama’s tiramisu, in fact, I use her recipe everywhere I go.
Two things in the kitchen that you cannot live without? Pots and knifes.
Your one best piece of advice for an amateur chef cooking at home?
Cook with your heart and don’t follow recipes. Cook a meal that has been inspired by your daily mood or by an ingredient that you saw at the market. Always try what you are cooking, step by step. There is always time to adjust the flavor. Be sure you like it, and in this way, if you have a guest over for dinner, at least one person will like the food (you).
Is food your passion or the art of food? The food is my passion, when you are passionate about something you never get tired and you always want to do better.
What would you say is your central ingredient in your food? I love to cook with olive oil and fresh herbs, this combination is often found in any of my dishes.
What on the menu should we try? I think you should try the scallops, the octopus, the risotto, the branzino, and…….. I think you should try it all.
Cecconi’s Miami is located at Soho Beach House, 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. For infor:786.507.7902 or cecconisrestaurant.com