A model life in food

Joey Matthew   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Joey Matthew’s ready smile grows broader, pleased to meet another Malayali. As we touch on her favourite topic — food, she starts talking nineteen to a dozen. On Kerala cuisine she says, in chaste Malayalam: “Can you believe the level of spice most cooks add to their dishes? What irks me is that they dare pass it off as Kerala food. I don’t ever remember the dishes prepared by my grandma or my mom being ever that spicy.”

A lawyer turned singer turned model turned chef turned restaurateur, Joey has come a long way. The former host of NDTV’s cookery show Love Bites with Joey, Joey takes time out for a quick chat with MetroPlus.

How has the journey from lawyer to restaurateur been?

I kept switching careers and each one has helped me grow. I have fulfilled each role till it told me that I need to move on to the next. I travelled and experimented with various food, cultures and music only to realise that all I ever wanted to do was cook. Feeding people has brought me immense satisfaction and it’s exhilarating to watch their faces illuminate when they take a bite out of whatever I serve.

What kindled the love for food?

Food means everything to me. Back in the days, I found that there was a void for the kind of food I craved, so the only thing left to do was to make it myself. I used to share an apartment with other girls during my modelling stint in London. Since we were all working, we had to divide our chores. I offered to take up the hardest chore for them, which for me, was easy and something I realised, I enjoyed - cooking.

What was the first dish you tried your hand at?

I was studying law in Delhi when I started craving for rice and fish curry. I was soon on the phone with my mom for a recipe. The dish came out really well, by the way.

Putting Kerala cuisine on the global menu

For Love Bites with Joey, I did a Cordon Bleu course in Patisseries and Mediterranean food. Although I featured continental food on the show, being a true-blooded Malayali, I couldn’t resist putting dishes such as appam and chicken stew on the menu.

But yes, I do change the masalas to cater to my palette. Raised in Europe and West Asia, I have a low tolerance for hot spices. But then, like I said earlier, I don’t ever remember my mom’s or my grandma’s food being half as spicy as those in some of the restaurants which serve Kerala food.

The food served at such restaurants sets my stomach on fire!

Having travelled the world, what is your best food takeaway?

Pork trotters from Munich. Although it may seem unappetizing for some, the meat is tender, soft and flavourful.

Have you ever had any kitchen disasters?

Many, but as you can see, I have come out triumphant.

What is your comfort food and which cuisine do you avoid?

Give me good old Malayali food any day. I am not a big fan of North Indian food.

Why Goa for your restaurant Daily Grind?

Goa reminds me of home. It has a nice vibe around the place and I love the touristy landscape. The produce and ingredients one gets here is fresh. You can often find me shopping for fresh spices at Mapusa market.

What are some of the must have ingredients in your kitchen?

Mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic and whole dry red chillies.

Apart from cooking, any other interests?

Music and the fine arts.

How do you manage to stay in such good shape?

Walking and Surya namaskars!

What next? A cook book? Another restaurant?

There’s an idea! Why not!

(The interview with Joey Matthew was held as part of the launch of Airbnb India’s Goa Insider’s Guide Magazine)

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2021 7:47:26 PM |

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