SOW: How old were you when you first took an interest in food? What is the first dish you can recall making, or helping to make at home?
JP: I’ve always taken an interest in food, as it was such a big part of my family life – my parents had a farm, and each morning they would go to collect the produce that we would then eat at home. The smell of a fresh tomato...nothing like it! I’m from a small town in rural Spain, so food is a huge part of our culture. I’m not sure I was a great help, but the first dish I remember ‘helping’ with is lentil stew – my mum would let them cook for what seemed like days & I think I was allowed to stir every now & again!
SOW: Finding a crossover between the use of pork in Chinese and Spanish cuisine (the theme of your class) doesn't necessarily seem obvious. What do you hope to explore and discover during your class at School of Wok?
JP: Pork is a staple in Spanish food – jamón Ibérico being one of the most prized products that comes from a pig. I’m really looking forward to exploring new ways of using pork, and other flavours that complement it.
SOW: Your career experience is widely varied; from running three successful restaurants (José's Tapas Bar, Pizarro and José Pizarro) to making numerous TV and festival appearances, to writing critically acclaimed books, to teaching classes. You seem to have really figured out what each requires from you in order to achieve success. What aspects do you feel came naturally to you? Did you find some aspects of the business more of a challenge than others?
JP: Being a chef and a businessman is an interesting combination – not least because being a chef focuses on creativity, and business is about facts and figures! I think passion is required for both though, and I have that in abundance!
SOW: What is your number one piece of advice you would give others when it comes to making a great dish?
JP: Prep! This will help enormously and it means you won’t be stressed in the kitchen, so can enjoy time with your friends and family around the table.
SOW: What are three ingredients you always have in your fridge or pantry at home? JP: Olive oil, pimentón & pasta
SOW: Favourite kitchen gadget? JP: Knife sharpener, probably not quite a gadget – but it’s so important to keep your knives in good shape!
SOW: What chef would you most like to cook with or dine with and why? JP: That is such a difficult one as I have worked with and admire so many chefs! I’m working with my friend and chef Claudia Roden on an exciting project at the moment, so I think I will say Claudia – she’s a great dining and cooking companion, so the best of both worlds!
SOW: Favourite thing to cook in your own kitchen at home- either just for yourself or for others? JP: You can’t beat a really good tortilla I don’t think
Thanks so much José!
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