pregoWhat are your favourite Sabato ingredients and why? Salvagno pitted olives  and the Ferron Carnaroli rice - the texture and taste are the best by far.

What's your favourite thing to cook when you're at home? Anything that can be put on the barbeque.

What makes this a successful kitchen/you a successful chef? Blood, sweat and tears; teamwork; hard work and patience.

Best advice for someone wanting to get into a kitchen? The 6 P,'s - Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance!! Put your best foot forward, and dress to impress at your interview right through to your trial. Know your abilities and be able prepared to back them up with your skills. Just be confident.

What's your guilty pleasure, food-wise? Lollies!

Sweet or savoury? Always sweet.

Where have you travelled that has inspired you the most? I spent 8 years in Melbourne, Australia where your palate comes alive - there is a lot of focus on simple Italian flavours and freshness of product. Also, mum and dad';s house - the taste of the Islands.

Three words that sums up your cooking style? Wholesome, flavoursome and friendly.

What's your ultimate comfort food? Fish and chips shared on the beach with my two children and wife.

Favourite drink? Single malt Scotch.

How has your cooking style evolved over the years? By blending flavours and changing my methods of cooking.

What's the best thing about NZ food? Freshness, flavour and the outstanding colours.

If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be and what would you cook? I would prepare a traditional Italian feast for my grandparents.

If you weren't a chef what would you be doing? Probably a degree in ancient history.

What's your signature dish? I'm still in pursuit of that, but feel that plenty of experimentation and trial and error has its merits.

Favourite tool of the trade? An apprentice that listens.

Favourite seasonal produce? Strawberries and summer stone fruits.

Prego 226 Ponsonby Road Ponsonby Auckland 1011 Tel (09) 376 3095 view website