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CHEF PAUL DA COSTA GREAVES ASK THE CHEF

Master Chef of Great Britain Paul Da Costa Greaves is a chef with a difference. Extraordinarily talented and inventive, he combines a magical approach to making and preparing food with great people skills. Colourful, funny and highly original, he brings the most everyday cooking experience to life . . . . . more info

Chef Paul Da Costa Greaves

Q: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?
A: Jamie Oliver, I take my hat off to him.

Q: Who is your favourite chef?
A:
I love Charlie Trotter for inspiration and good old Delia for a foolproof recipe.

Q: With whom would you most like to have dinner?
A:
Mrs Beeton, Charlie Trotter and Elizabeth Luard! A wonderful balance on traditional, imaginative, spontaneous and spiritual.

Q: What would be your desert island disk?
A:
Bit of Bob Marley playing to the steel drums whilst me sipping me rum . . .

Q: What is your favourite British food?
A:
Aaaah, I'm really sorry but Northern fish 'n chips and mushy peas from Blackpool.

Q: What is your favourite Italian food?
A:
I love Pizza Express!

Q: What is your favourite French food?
A:
Mmmm, Coq au Vin . . . my mouth's drooling.

Q: What is your favourite World food?
A:
I really, really look forward to West Indian Food - curried goat, jerk chicken, rice 'n peas, fried plantain, jonny cake, ackee, salt fish fritters and bakewell tart and custard to finish, dead classy!

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Q: What do you like most about your job?
A:
I love being in the moment, a delicate journey that never stops.

Q: How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's never visited it?
A:
Experiment with an open mind! And you won't be disappointed!

Q: Do you think food in the UK has changed for the better since the days of Duck with Orange and huge helpings of Black Forest Gateau?
A:
Fortunately yes, loads . . . however I do believe it gave us a good platform and know we do a posh updated version of black forest gateau!

Q: What's the best thing about eating in the UK?
A:
A versatile repertoire, you can mix and match to your heart's content!

Q: And the worst?
A:
Experiment with an open mind and choose your establishments wisely!

Q: At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?
A:
The Galley fish and seafood restaurant in Topsham, Exeter! I love the contemporary twist, the freshness and the balance of spices Paul uses, somehow I make it work beautifully!

Q: Would you like to live and work somewhere other than the UK and if so where and why?
A:
Jamaica . . . home from home. Nothing better than picking your own coffee and talking Aunt Marva into giving me Nanas old recipes, My Father's West Indian and my Mother's English, living just outside Kingston six months of the year and six months here . . . what a lovely balance..

Chef Paul Da Costa Greaves Chef Paul Da Costa Greaves

Q: What's your favourite food?
A:
The Healthiest fast food around . . . good old fish 'n chips!

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking?
A:
I think around the age of four! There is a saying up north . . . you start walking, you start working. Somehow I always remember being fascinated watching my mother take different spices out of the spice jar, bashing them up and rubbing them into the meat or vegetables the night before!

Q: What sort of people have you cooked for during your career. Most memorable or most forgettable?
A:
Princess Margaret was the most memorable for me, being sweet sixteen in Catering College, having to cook for her, then having to go out and serve dessert to her . . . my heart was racing and my right hand was shaking far too much. She placed her hand on my arm to calm me! Didn't help!

Oh god, my most forgettable experience was taking up the position of Executive Head Chef for the Glaxo Welcome research and development site in Ware, Hertfordshire. Lots of changes definitely needed to be made, and I wasn't the most welcomed person as the sitting contractors had lost their tender! I was the new boy in town. After a site survey I decided to immediately change a few things . . . 5:00 am I greet the milkman and cancelled the long standing order of flavoured milk shakes, thinking these 3,500 on site medical and lab technicians needed to grow up! After briefing my two Head Chefs (one of them being Richard who plays Gary in Eastenders, still a troublemaker) suggested I was making a mistake! I didn't listen and the meeting with forty plus chefs was interrupted by the chief technician wanting the milk shakes, I then find to my utter embarrassment they weren't for the staff but for the marmoset monkeys instead! That taught me!

Q: Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a chef?
A:
No regrets, best path I ever chose and I would do it again twice over!

Q: What do you think you would have been if you had not become a chef?
A:
Love to have been on stage, maybe in the theatre, as I've always liked being centre of attention or possibly a politician as I can talk for England!

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of training to be a chef?
A:
Don't go to college! Although I do have a great respect for colleges you'll gain a higher knowledge of practical NVQ through an established, independent restaurant or hotel, or make contact with the Chefs Guild or Master Chefs of Great Britain.

Q: The career of one famous chef only came about because his professional football career came to an early close through injury, and one chef's plans to open a restaurant never happened when he became football manager of Aberdeen and later Manchester United. Has fate ever played a part in your career?
A:
Most definitely. I desperately needed a higher force to understand my thoughts, my passion, my emotions, my enthusiasm, my work and the creative life I lead, I find this within my complimentary therapy as it keeps me spiritually grounded.

Q: What are your hobbies, spare time interests, what do you do to relax?
A:
I like cooking, talking, socialising, eating, theatre, more talking, reading, swimming, creating new food ideas for my retail brand of consumer foods. I love being apart of my Friday Clinic where I practice spiritual and energy healing, and my relaxing time is spent through Buddhism, aromatherapy and massage, experimenting with flower and herbal remedies for food nourishment.

To find out more about Paul Da Costa Greaves visit www.celebritychefsuk.com

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com