Chef of the Week: Orsola Muscia, The Tailor Made Chef in Pembrokeshire

How long have you worked at your current private chef business?
I have worked as a private chef for 25 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I grew up on Lake Garda, Italy. We had a lot of land with olive trees to make our own Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We also had a vineyard and made our own wine. There was an orchard with every possible fruit tree you can name and a vegetable garden so everything was so fresh. We had a fireplace and everything was cooked on it! My dad would make muesli, cheese, charcuterie etc… He was a very precise man, passion for good food is ingrained in our blood. I trained in Italy.  

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It has always felt very natural and instinctive for me to cook. I’m in my element, it feels that this is what I was supposed to give to the world.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
There aren’t three ingredients, but I definitely wouldn’t want to cook without vegetables and good quality fresh ingredients.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A good food processor.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
More vegan/free from food/gluten free/less waste and more eco-friendly.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
When they don’t talk enough or are uptight and scared of judgement. Also, not taking time off to refill their inspiration/creativity.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
It must be Christmas! 100%! Why?? You must come for lunch on Christmas day and you’ll understand! Joking aside, it’s because I totally go mental with delicious ingredients and amazing dishes that I rarely have the time to cook, but it’s also the vibe with all the family around and wanting to make everyone feel happy and loved.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
All of my crazy combos, for example: Salmon loin with Bottarga crust, pink grapefruit, liquorice sauce, avocado, pearl tomatoes and Greek basil.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I have never really understood, I have always felt that they were just coming to me.

Who was your greatest influence?
My brother.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Any chef who has passion and knowledge.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Conrad Gallagher.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
“Seasonality” in Maidenhead.

The Tailor Made Chef