Best of times, worst of times: Del Almeida

Categories: Behind the stalls

The likes and dislikes of Del Almeida from Borough Olives

Fantasy job
I would love to be an archaeologist. I have loved history since I was at school, and archaeology would combine my love of history with spending time out of an office. You would also get to work on these amazing ancient sites. It would be wonderful.

Worst former job
Working in IT support. I was the one you got through to when you had a problem. I hated it. Sitting in front of a screen all day, it was frustrating and boring. It did feel good when you helped someone who was struggling, but I hated that enclosed office environment, and to be honest I never liked IT that much.

Favourite holiday destination
I am from south Rio and like to go home to see my family and friends. But when I am there, I like to travel all around Brazil. It is such a huge country with so much to see. My particular favourites are the mountains regions. I love hiking in the mountains.

Favourite childhood dish
That’s simple. My mum’s chicken stew was amazing. I actually can’t tell you that much about it, but it just tasted wonderful.

Signature dish
I am very wide-ranging in the kitchen and love cooking things for the first time. This means I don’t have many staple dishes. You learn so much about food from the people at the Market, so I am always trying something new. I recently made Italian black rice with salmon, rocket, cherry tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. It was delicious. I really love it when something new turns out to be so good.

Worst kitchen disaster
I tried making a banana cheesecake and it was terrible. I followed the recipe but was not very accurate with the measuring. The filling was far too heavy and dense, and the base didn’t work. It was completely inedible; I had to throw the whole thing away. I love desserts, but I don’t cook them anymore—they don’t work for me.

Best recent night out
Actually, that was a night in. I organised a dinner party with some friends to celebrate my birthday. I cooked feijoada, which is a black bean stew, cooked very low and slow. I made a pork one and a vegetarian one using tofu and served them with some white rice and greens. The people loved the food, they were dancing to the music and having a really great time. It was a wonderful night.

Worst night out
That was Halloween night. The dinner with friends was fine but getting home was a nightmare. It was raining, windy, cold and late, so the transport was not great. It took me hours to get home from west London. I finally got in at 3am, cold, wet and miserable and due at work in a few hours.

Least favourite school subject
Maths. I don’t think I was alone in that.

Favourite drink
Red wine. And I like to drink it with friends, never alone.

Least favourite drink
Sambuca. It is far too sweet for me.

Sporting hero
The Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna. He was everything to Brazilians. The way he represented the country was amazing. For every Grand Prix, you had a ritual that centred around watching the race. It was a national tragedy when he was killed in a crash. His funeral was one of the biggest in Brazil’s history. The whole country came to a standstill. I still get goosebumps talking about him now.

Biggest sporting villain
I’m Brazilian, so Diego Maradona.

Best concert ever
That was Aha in the 1990s. It was the first gig I had been to and it was amazing. The atmosphere, the people, the music! That whole event was amazing to me. I have been to great gigs since, but as my first, that one left the biggest impression.

Best thing about London
I love the diversity of the people you find here. Meeting people from so many different countries, with their different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs, has had a real impact on me. It has opened my mind to new ideas, and shown me that with tolerance and understanding, people from all different religions can live side by side. It still shows me how much we can learn from each other—London is wonderful in that respect.

Worst thing about London
The weather.

Favourite city
It is very difficult to choose between Rome and Istanbul because of the beauty and the history both cities have. I have been to both many times and no matter how often you go, you will always find something new.

Favourite way to relax
I do yoga every day, it is a great way to unwind. I also love music. I enjoy listening to Brazilian artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Hangover cure
Plenty of food when you get up.