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Tags:   Celebrities,   Skills,   Television

By The Swag Team   -  August 08, 2014

TV presenter and producer Jean Claude Micallef takes a break from preparations for his new TV show due to start in October, to answer SWAG’s questions about his relationship with food. It turns out he’s quite the talent with seafood in the kitchen…

What type of food do you like to order when you're out? 


Usually anything that I rarely eat at home or that is unusual. I like to vary my dining out experiences and visit anything from an osteria to fine dining restaurants.


What's your favourite food ever? 


Pasta and Maltese dishes.


What's your least favourite food? 


Anything canned.


What's your favourite food smell?


The smell of fresh fish, or cooked horsemeat stew.


What are your eating habits - breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner...?


I like the companionship that meals create. It’s not the first time that I sat at a table at 1pm and ended up going home at 1am. But normally I kick off with brunch late in the morning, have a late lunch, tea and biscuits in the late afternoon and dinner around 8pm. I might even snack at 10pm, but lately I’ve been trying to control my appetite and avoid eating at odd times. On the other hand as long as the food is well cooked and fresh, it’s hard for me to stop munching.


When did you learn to cook?


I was around 11 when I tried to cook sausages on an old toast burner for the first time. They came out well but my parents’ toaster had to be thrown away afterwards.... Since then I’ve been experimenting with food, keeping an eye open on new combinations and cooking methods. In fact, food has become quite a passion and I love to cook.


What are your favourite ingredients?


I only refuse to cook junk food. Traditional cooking and gourmet meals are my favourites. For me food isn’t about hunger: there’s a mix of culture, history and personality in every single plate. I love cooking fish and seafood especially when blended with fresh pasta. As to the ‘why?’, being from Marsaxlokk and very influenced by the Italian lifestyle, says it all.


How health-conscious are you when planning meals?


Planning is crucial in the kitchen and having nutritional knowledge of any ingredients helps you create a better final product. I have to admit that I give more priority to freshness and flavour. On the other hand aesthetics play an important part in my carreer, and eating healthy makes me look healthy, so I’m paying more and more attention to this aspect. Having relatives who are gluten and lactose intolerant gives me more reason to delve into alternative cooking, and that entails a lot of planning.


What's your signiture dish?


It’s a tie between king prawns and horsemeat stew and snails in traditional Maltese sauce. It depends on the time available I have to prepare.


Has your cooking been popular as a tool in seduction or courting?


In any relationship I’ve had so far, I did the cooking and there was always a happy ending. I put a lot of passion into cooking and I think it always left a good aftertaste.


What would you cook a date to try and impress her?


For a special occasion to share with my partner I would base my meal on fine and classy foods with a hint of spice and stimulating ingredients.


My five course meal would consist of:


Oysters with lemon, vodka and peperoncino; with fresh swordfish and tuna carpaccio, accompanied by a nice Prosecco.


Tagliatelle with truffle shavings. I would opt for a Sancerre wine to compliment this intermediate dish that will lead to the main.


This will be a fish platter to share, consisting of king prawns, sea dates and a roulade of swordfish with prawns, aubergines and cherry tomatoes.


For dessert I will prepare traditional dates with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, topped with blackberries and a shot of grappa (ideally, Moscato).


To conclude: chocolate truffles and a Passito di Lampedusa (Zibbibo).


I think that should work a little magic, don’t you?


Jean Claude will return to local television with a daily magazine programme from October, after a four-year break from presenting a breakfast show. It is being envisioned as the station’s flagship programme. The well-known media personality hosted the programme Distinti for three years and is the executive producer at Impel Communications, which produces entertainment and lifestyle programmes.



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