Meet the Chef: Ristorante Serena's Giovanni Longo

Italian chef said he knew the Malden location "was [his] place" the moment he walked in.

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!


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