Anna & Jordan
Anna, 55, was destined to have one of her four sons grow up to be her sidekick in the kitchen and Jordan, 23, is happy to take up the role. Although her young apprentice has a few of his own ideas on making Anna's traditional dishes a tad healthier.
Who taught you to cook?
Anna: My mother Maria. It was actually my job when I came home from school to help Mum in kitchen. I was one of seven so there was always a lot to do.
So you’re used to cooking for large crowds?
Anna: Since I was a child there was minimum of nine of us for dinner and then as siblings brought people into the family it just started getting bigger and bigger.
Jordan: Mum can cook for 15-20 people easily. Not a problem. When we found out we had to cook for 12 we were like, "Yeah that’s standard." I think everyone else was a little shocked. And Anna was like, "That’s a light dinner tonight."
What got you into cooking Jordan?
Jordan: I just love actual produce, and eating. I worked on a farm when I was younger so my passion for cooking comes from fresh produce and nutrition of food and what it does for the body. So that's why I love to cook, I'm a vegetable enthusiast. I think healthy cooking has so much flavour already and you want to let the vegetables shine. You don't want broccoli tasting like butter.
What has your mum taught you in the kitchen?
Jordan: Essentially everything I know about cooking I know from my mum because she's the cook in the household. My first dish was chocolate mousse. All European foods - Maltese is my mum's side and my dad's side is Italian, so Mum has taught me those, but the health foods I've kind of branched out
and taught myself a lot.
Anna: He's taught me a lot about eating healthy.
What’s an average dinner at your house?
Jordan: Well it's always a four-course meal.
Anna: There is family night on a Tuesday and everyone is expected to be home. It's the only time where we all sit together as a family now that they're adults. And I'll do a very big meal.
Jordan: My mum is a feeder. She gets satisfaction from people eating.
Anna: I love it.
How do you get on together in the kitchen?
Jordan: We yell at each other and bicker. We don't really agree.
Anna: I think it's our European blood, we just get hot-headed and quite opinionated. But we don't hold grudges.
Is Anna head chef?
Jordan: Yes, but I’m willing to challenge her opinions. At the end of the day, Anna's word goes … sometimes.
Anna: He does challenge me and it's not a bad thing. Sometimes it pushes me out of my comfort zone because I've been cooking for a long time. Like the other day he said, "let's do a kale pesto." And I said, "I don’t think so." And when he did it, it was really good. I think sometimes because I've been doing it a certain way for so long I become stagnant.
Sweet or savoury?
Jordan: Savoury, I do not do sweet well. But Mum does everything well. I love ice-cream, otherwise I'm seriously in love with vegetables.
Anna: I love pastry for dessert, gnocchi and pastas. I don't like hot dogs. I don’t know how people can eat that red thing; it smells. I don't like over-processed foods.
Most used ingredients in your kitchen?
Jordan: Olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes. Our uncle cold presses the olive oil; my other uncle drops off the eggs.
Anna: I have friends who grow their own garlic. The region we live in used to be a market garden so we're used to having a lot of fresh produce on hand. A lot of my friends are still market gardeners. You really learn to appreciate what freshness is.
Other interests besides cooking?
Jordan: I love boxing, bike riding and meditation.
Anna: Yoga, travel, dancing and socialising. We're both social queens; we just love it. We're a very social family. There's always someone over or we're going somewhere. My husband Joe's favourite saying is: "How many for dinner tonight?" There's always someone there for dinner.