In honor of Malden's Restaurant Week, Malden Patch will be profiling chefs from across the city. Tuesday, we're featuring Giovanni Longo, owner and chef at Malden's which offers a four-course menu for the week.
1. Where are you from?
Calabria, Southern Italy
2. Why did you come to Malden?
A friend of mine was in business in Malden and called me to say that this place was available. I bought it without talking to my wife - she said, "whatever makes you happy!" I was looking for 5 years. As soon as I walked in, it was cozy and I knew it was my place.
3. What's your philosophy of cooking?
I'm from Southern Italy, so I use extra virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes - always the top ingredients. I use salt, I use pepper. I have to taste whatever I plan on putting on the plate. I love to work with seafood. My home in Italy is one block from the sea - after my street is the sand - (so) I used to go fishing and bring home fish for my mother to cook for the family. I miss that.
Now, I tell my kids don't go in this business. This business has to be in your heart - you don't have a weekend. But with my 15-17 hours a day, I am still hanging on in this economy.
4. What's your favorite dish?
Haddock Serena: Haddock stuffed with seafood, shrimp, scallops, crab meat, ritz crackers, rolled up and baked in a brick wood oven and served over roasted red peppers.
5. What's one quick cooking tip you think everyone should know, but don't?
Use the freshest ingredients! Everything fresh! I don't even have a freezer in my restaurant - I go to the market every day. Everything fresh!