We know him now as the flamboyant Spice Prince on the Food Network, but few people know that Reza has been in the food world since the tender age of 16. When his father passed away, it was up to the young Reza to take over the family business in London, The Star of India Restaurant. There he spent years working hard, learning all the tricks of the trade, gearing himself to explode on to the scene and become a household name.
You’ve probably seen him on the hit show with local culinary whiz, Jenny Morris, on Jenny and Reza’s Fabulous Food Academy. He chats about the show and the upcoming DStv Delicious festival.
Q. What prep goes into planning for a festival such as Delicious?
A. To be honest, to make any festival work takes a lot of planning and organising from one show to the next. I cannot speak on behalf of Delicious, but I do know a lot of planning occurs with the Food Network stand.
Q. What can fans expect to see on the Food Network stand this year?
A. Jenny and I will be educating and entertaining our fabulous audience and supporters at the stand with a great deal of fun.
Q. What musical acts are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?
A. I’m looking forward to hearing Macy Gray at the festival this year. I hope one of her numbers will be ‘I try’.
Q. What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 Delicious Festival?
A. It is a privilege to be invited to the festival to reconnect with our supporters and friends and also to have the opportunity listening to the various artists’ music. Not to forget, tasting the food on fare.
Q. What territory is the Spice Prince looking to conquer next?
A. The world is still my oyster so I may have to toss many coins. Where do I start?
Q. Travel Channel is also going to be at Delicious Festival this year, what is one destination you have always wanted to go to, and have never been to?
A. Iran has always been a place where I would love to go.
Q. How high is food on your priority list when choosing a holiday destination?
A. It’s through food you understand the history and culture of a country. That is why it’s always on my priority list.
Q. People from all around the globe are tuning in to Food Network to catch their daily dose Jenny & Reza. What is it in your opinion that makes your show so universal?
A. I think why the show has a universal appeal is because its informative, funny and entertaining without being pretentious. Its authentic and we’re passionate in the way we impart our knowledge.
Q. Local is always lekker, what is your favourite local dish?
A. I do have a sweet tooth and I tend to have a penchant for malva pudding.
Q. What’s next for Reza Mahammad?
A. Continuing to teach at my cookery school in France as well as catering there. When the opportunities arise, to do more television work.
Q. The Jackson 4 are headlining this year’s Delicious Festival, if you had the opportunity what would you cook for them?
A. It would have to be my confit of duck pillaf in phyllo pastry with a grapefruit and pomegranate salad.
Q. Who are the four people that would make up your perfect dinner party?
A. Joanna Lumley, Juan Diego Flores, Rufus Wainright, Sue Perkins
Q. What is your favourite Food Network show?
A. I love watching Jenny Morris Cooks
Q. What is your favourite Travel Channel show?
A. Bizarre Foods, Michael Palin: Around the world in 80 days and Pole to Pole.
COMPLETE THE SENTENCE…
1. One ingredient I ALWAYS have in my kitchen is my own garlic or ginger paste. I use it for dressings, marinades, and sauces. I use it on everything.
2. If I had to prepare one dish for the rest of my life, it would be anything to do with fish, either in pie form or just plain grilled with a salad of sorts.
3. My top hosting tip is to use fresh ingredients and to use what’s in season. Keep it simple without over fussing.
4. You would be surprised to know that I do not eat offal. I just can’t!
5. The most bizarre thing I have ever eaten is a mangda, water bug and crickets.
6. I am terrified of rats and snakes
7. My favourite local restaurant is Dragon Palace in Earls Court.
8. My favourite holiday destination is Spain. The food is just delicious and very affordable.