A 20-question interview with executive chef Nuno Goncalves of 12 Hay Hill in London’s Mayfair
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
I am as stubborn as you can get. If I set my mind to something, I won’t stop until I achieve it. It’s what keeps me going.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today; life is too short for time wasting.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2016?
Boris Johnson leading the Leave campaign: It was clearly part of his political game to get to 10 Downing Street.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
A social life: It’s what you sign up for when you become a chef.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
A tranquil and peaceful life, surrounded by family, good friends, good food and, of course, good wine.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
Over-optimistic greedy bankers lending to over-optimistic under-achievers.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
In my opinion it is everyone’s social and moral responsibility to help the less fortunate when possible. I support the British Heart Foundation; they are a fantastic organization helping people with heart disease all over the UK.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
They are a necessity in modern life, but at the same time reduce their user’s awareness of what surrounds them. Mankind is becoming a prisoner of its own evolution.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
My wife, son, close friends and family, my team, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Clarkson, Barrack Obama and Donald Trump.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Probably my wife’s spaghetti Bolognese at home.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Whatever time it’s necessary to get you through the day.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
As long as there is a party, I’m not really bothered.
Who is the most positive person you know?
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and wine: In that order.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
Probably an atomic bomb mushroom cloud, but you do not want me to go off.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
Hard on the outside but soft on the inside.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
A portrait of my wife and I; it reminds me of how we used to be. Time flies.
Nuno Goncalves was born in Portugal and grew up in Toronto. He has worked at the Corinthia Hotel and Galvin at Windows and is now executive head chef of Shaun Rankin’s London restaurants and oversees the dining room at business members’ club 12 Hay Hill in Mayfair, London.
Follow him on Instagram at @nunogoncalves84.
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