Want to know more about Chef Dominique Rizzo?
This is an excerpt from an interview with Dominique by “Gastronomy Gal” at http://www.gastronomygal.com/ for their blog “Healthy Eating Month”.
Q: Having an Italian background, I guess cooking is in your blood. Did you start cooking when you were really young?
My mother tells me that I used to make her and dad breakfast in bed when I was three or four and used the hot water tap in the bath to make their coffee, so yes, I started young.
Q: I love the idea of teaching healthy eating from an early age. Do you find that kids are more receptive to trying new things if they have been involved in the process of cooking?
Amazingly so, and also, through seeing other children trying different foods, they are highly influenced. I feel that when children have an opportunity to be in the process of making the food, they really feel proud and want to then enjoy what they have made.
Q: I know you are a big advocate, can you give us the rundown on ‘Whole Foods?’
To me whole foods are, as it says, incorporating “real foods” in your cooking using a variety of grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, and also fresh organic meats. So to me, it’s really cutting out all of the tinned, preservative rich foods that can sustain in packets for ages. Fresh food, like us, is living food and the more we eat the living foods the more vibrant and healthy we will feel.
Q: You’ve just arrived back from an Italian holiday. For Italian novices, what is your favourite region and what did you eat there?
Well, of course, Sicily is my favourite region and my favourite dishes were fresh artichokes baked in the oven with garlic, pecorino cheese, anchovies and bread crumbs. Also, I love their pasta and cauliflower with pine nuts and currants. Swordfish crumbed and baked in the oven with a dressing of parsley garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. I had a wonderful banquet of couscous and a squid ink sauce.. and the desserts……..I could go on for hours.
Q: Biggest food influences in your life?
My Zia (my Sicilian aunt), my mum, my first Head Chef Brenda and my love for foods that say something.
Q: What would your standard weekday lunch or dinner include?
Lunch usually for me is a salad with some sort of grain. I love chickpeas, lentils and salty things like olives, feta, capers and then tossed with roasted free range or organic chicken or tuna and a home-made dressing with loads of herbs. Dinner usually is fish, I love salmon so its salmon, seared, steamed, grilled and served with as many vegetables as I can find in my fridge. I am big on dressings and make great Asian, Mediterranean and yoghurt dressings to jazz up things.
Q: What is your favourite type of food to splurge on?
Q: What is your favourite really healthy dish?
Cold Soba noodles, greens and cold poached salmon with a sesame seed dressing or a green papaya salad with a good handful of Thai herbs and prawns with a zesty lime and chilli dressing.
Q: What would you order when you are eating out and trying to be conscious of weight/health?
Usually fish or seafood, I had a beautiful warm seafood and Thai salad with coconut tom yum broth….fantastic. Or I will order chicken if it’s free range or organic. I don’t really eat a lot of meat as my body never really asks for it.
Q: How do you manage to stay so slim whilst loving food? Diet and exercise combination?
Definitely, in fact I get asked that all the time, people are amazed and always say how slim I am which I don’t think I am, but they feel that as I am a chef I must eat all the time, and I do but it’s what I eat. Yes, I also do exercise about 4-5 times a week. It’s about balance, I eat what I want, then exercise allows me to have that food freedom.
Q: Do you have any extra tips for Gastronomy Gal on healthy eating?
Listen to your body on hunger and feeling full signals, that way you can eat what you want, just stop when you have had enough.
Q: Most used cookbook?
Stephanie Alexanders “Cooks Companion”….its now falling apart