The Chef's Table
This week, it’s the turn of Victor Azevedo, 42, head chef at Fabios in Old Town. Tel: 01793 615306
When did you first take an interest in cooking and when did you decide to become a chef?
I grew up in Portugal where my parents had a restaurant, so at a very early stage of my life I was involved in restaurant life, like it or not! At the age of 17 I came to England to learn the language to help my parents’ business. Being in a holiday resort, English language was very essential. The rest is history.
Where did you do your training?
Once I arrived in England I developed a good knowledge of Italian food and that allowed me to work for some good restaurants, like Paradiso e Inferno in London, San Lorenzo in Wimbledon and Pinocchio in Bournemouth. I’ve been at Fabios for the past 13 years.
How would you describe the style of food served in your restaurant?
“Casereccia”. It means the opposite of nouveau cusine, where portions are big like mamma used to make! This is what a chef from Naples used to tell me at the beginning of my career.
Do you have a signature dish?
I give it the name of the manager, “filetto alla Gianni” – fillet of beef sliced in two, topped with Parma ham and mozzarella cheese and finished in a rich cream sauce with brandy.
What would you order from your own menu?
Spigola al cartoccio – seabass wrapped up in foil with touch of garlic, white wine, prawns and mussels, slowly cooked in the oven.
Your favourite vegetable and why?
Aubergine... because you can use it in lots of different Mediterranean dishes, but my favourite one is parmigiana, which is sliced aubergine baked in the oven in layers, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan.
And your favourite dessert?
Panna cotta, traditionally from the Piedmont region, which if you translate means cooked cream. It should have the same texture of a good creme caramel but with a topping of different sauces or fresh forest fruits.
Do you do a lot of cooking at home. If so, what sort of food?
Yes, I cook for my wife and daughter but I cook Portuguese style so that my child can learn my culture. My best Sunday dish is chicken piri piri.
Where else do you like to eat locally?
Da Vinci restaurant – it’s Fabios’ sister restaurant so I go there to annoy the manager who is a good friend of mine, but their cusine is also very nice.
Why should people come to Fabios?
The owner is a true family guy and treats all of his guests like part of his family.