In this interview, Neil Frediani reveals how he first became interested in cheffing and share some future plans for Frediani’s Market & Deli.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I started in the industry at the very early age of 14, working as a washer-upper in a family friend’s pub in Buckinghamshire. I always kept my eyes on what the chefs were doing and I tried to help and learn as much as I could so I was able to cover for them if they took a sick day. Finally, when they moved on I was able to step into the job, and whilst doing that I kept my eye on the next chef above me and so on and so on. But cooking for me started much earlier with my mother, a typical Italian who always made fresh pasta, sauces and even cured her own meats. While my sister was under the car with my father, I was always in the kitchen with Mum. My Aunty was also a teacher in Westminster Catering college (where Jamie Oliver went to school) so she taught me all the technical stuff a young chef needs to know.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
I have seen some crazy things working as a chef around the world, and obviously lots of pranks and antics happened to distress. For example, being locked in a freezer for half an hour was a typical hazing ritual. It was all good fun until someone (me) locked someone that had severe claustrophobia. That prank cost me a warning letter!
The perfect day off would be…
My perfect day off from Frediani’s Market & Deli is firstly not to cook a thing. I like to spend some time with my wife Angie and our kids mucking about in the pool and later going to Sassorosso my favourite Italian restaurant owned by a lovely couple and good friends of ours.
What’s your take on the food scene in Malaysia?
I think the food scene in Malaysia has improved over the years due to more competition and the fact that the general public is demanding more. This accented with TV food channels, the knowledge of our customers has grown. We all have to step up to meet the challenge, which I love. I’ve been a chef for most of my working life but I never stop trying to learn new things.
A day in the life of an executive chef is…
A typical day in the life of an executive chef is different every day (thank god). Talking with suppliers, menu development, team briefings, teaching new chefs (which I really enjoy), and just getting on with service. I do like to come out and talk to the customers. Getting feedback both positive and negative is very important to always be trying to improve yourself and not getting complacent ever.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We are looking to expand and grow our business and want to have many more outlets opening soon.
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