Davide Degiovanni - Head Chef of Union Street Cafe, Borough
We catch up with Davide Degiovanni, at the helm of Gordon Ramsay owned restaurant, Union Street Cafe. Located in a renovated warehouse, Union Street Cafe delivers Mediterranean cuisine sourced locally from the world-famous Borugh Market. Get to know Davide a little better as he answers our questions.
What inspired you to become a Chef - when was your 'Eureka' moment?
Since a young age, I’ve always been fascinated watching my mother and grandmother in the kitchen. My first memory was when I was preparing gnocchi with my grandmother, she was teaching me how to make a fruit jam and tomato pasta. I think I was about 9 years old.
What was your very first job?
My first job was more work experience for school. During the Christmas holiday I was sent to a ski resort where I was helping the chefs in the kitchen during the morning and was assisting as kitchen porter for lunch and dinner service.
If you could only cook with 3 ingredients for the rest of your life which would they be?
Tomatoes, olive oil, eggs.
What's your favourite cuisine and what drink would you have with it?
I like to cook everything with Mediterranean flavours but I would say have to say Italian, because it is the cuisine I know best. I do also love Spanish and French food. I would drink a Negroni with it all, it’s such a classic drink and can enhance any kind of food.
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
Eels! As much I enjoy the taste, I have quite a phobia of snakes so have a hard time working with them.
Which Chef inspires you the most?
Grant Achatz for his passion and dedication. He’s been through so much, having cancer at such a young age, but he never lost hope and he actually used his time off work to think, experience and come back even stronger.
What would be your last supper and who would cook it?
I would have my dad cook his home-made pork salami, my mum prepare her marinated anchovies and my grandmother her potato gnocchi – literally the best I’ve ever had.
If you had not been a chef, what would you have done?
What music/track do you like to listen to while cooking?
I don’t like to listening to music while I am cooking as I get distracted but I do sometimes sing to myself, especially when I am cooking at home.
What’s your favourite kitchen utensil?
A good knife – particularly the first knife I ever bought was when I was 14.
Favourite junk food/ guilty pleasure?
A spoon + Nutella + TV.
Tell us about the most difficult customer you have ever dealt with?
I was serving a sea bass cartoccio which was wrapped in special paper that can go in the oven and reach above 300C. When served, a guest at the table accused me of feeding her child plastic. It took me a while to explain that it actually wasn’t plastic but paper made for cooking the fish and increasing the flavour.
Who would be in your fantasy dinner party? (fiction & non-fiction)
I would love to be joined by Michael Jackson, James Brown and Kate Moss.
What dish would win over your heart?
A properly done Spaghetti di Gragnano, fresh San Marzano tomatoes and touch of fresh chilly, to go with a nice, chilled bottle of Franciacorta.