Samson and Maureen, owners of Smaj Foods, are experts in fine dining and private dinner parties. We sat down with Samson to learn more…

How did you get started as a chef?

Originally, I wanted to be a professional athlete, but after speaking to a careers advisor in my final year of school about my love of art and food, they suggested heading down the chef route. It was at college that my talent was noticed and I was sent to the luxurious Gleneagles in Scotland. The 18-hour days paid off and I’ve since worked at some of the best restaurants across the country including Livebait in Manchester, and I regularly cooked food for the likes of the Beckhams at two-AA- rosette restaurant Le Mont at the top of the Urbis building. I fell into private dining after a friend asked me to cook for them in their home. I loved the feeling it gave me as I’m a very family oriented person and that’s how Smaj took off.

What makes Smaj Foods special?

We love what we do and are passionate about food, fine dining and making people happy. We’re really diverse as well, offering everything from private dining and wedding catering to regular private chef positions and nutritional advice. I’ve been a regular private chef to many athletes, ensuring all food meets nutritional and dietary needs. Smaj has been going strong for 3 years now and it’s a blessing for us to do what we do every day. What is it they say? If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life – that’s us!

What’s your favourite thing about being a private chef?

I like the idea of taking people away from restaurants and creating special dining experiences in their own home. Each event is different and I love the challenge. It’s truly my passion and I love to bring people joy through the food I serve. All produce at Smaj is completely fresh; I personally head to the market before each event and buy the freshest micro herbs, seafood and meat.

What’s the most memorable event you’ve catered for?

Honestly? Each event is memorable to me. I genuinely believe each one is as important as the next. Whether it’s a dinner for two or a party of 20, if everyone’s enjoyed it, then our job is done. People often ask for our recipes or for private cooking lessons – both of which we’ll happily give.

When you’re not cooking, what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my family, it’s always family first with me.

What ingredient should no kitchen be without?

Salt and pepper! It’s as simple as that. It’s important to season food well.

What would you have for your last meal?

Seafood paella. I could eat it every day – I love seafood!

Smaj Foods’ Mango Sea Bass Recipe:

mango seabass

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large potatoes
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 1 Bunch Coriander
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Bell pepper
  • Hazelnuts
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 200ml Sunflower oil
  • 2 Sea bass fillets

Method:

Step 1 – Peel two large potatoes and add into a pan of cold water. Season with salt and bring to the boil for 15-20mins until you can easily poke through the potatoes with a fork.

Step 2 – Bring a small pot of salt water to the boil, add half a bunch of parsley for 15 seconds and then remove. Rinse under cold water, transfer the herbs to a tea towel and dry. Once completely dry transfer the herbs to a high-speed blender and add the oil. Blend until smooth and pour the herb oil into a sieve.

Step 3- For the salsa, dice your pepper, red onion, mango (peel beforehand) and garlic (crush and chop), pick coriander leaves and add to the mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4 – Once potatoes are done, drain the water and place the steaming hot potatoes into a large bowl. Add your herb oil and mash. Season to taste if needed.

Step 5 – Cut sea bass fillets in half and season. Drizzle a pan with oil and make sure pan is sizzling hot. Cook fish skin down until nice and crisp. Turn over, and take off the heat.

Step 6 – Serve sea bass with hazelnuts, mango salsa and mash. Enjoy!

@smajfoods

smajfoods.co.uk

07576 272 826