Singer, actress and celebrity cook, Maria Cordero – affectionately known as Fat Mama by her fans, which seems a rather unfair nickname for the now-svelte star – has come a long way since growing up poor in Macau. Her Cable TV show, “Maria’s Kitchen”, used to be filmed in her home in Clearwater Bay. She shared the house with four generations of her family, who were only allowed into her famous kitchen to do the washing up.
You lived in the Clearwater Bay area for many years. Can you tell us what you liked about the area?
What I like about Clearwater Bay and Sai Kung is the fresh air and clean environment. Living here is wonderful balance to the stresses of city life.
How important is nature in your life?
Very important. Some of my family members (including me) have respiratory problems. I also grow my own plants such as chili and turnips. The beauty of growing my own vegetables is that I know I won’t be eating harmful substances used in industrial farming.
Are there any local issues you are passionate about?
I feel the expansion plans for Hiram’s Highway are a big mistake. The government wants to expand the road from two lanes to four lanes. I am strongly opposed to the plan. The environment of the whole area is at stake here. I have spoken to politicians about it. I think it is a very important issue.
Winter is drawing in. What’s good to buy in the food market right now?
In season right now are mutton, small fish, Chinese sausage and freshwater hairy crab – although the crab won’t be good for much longer.
What is the most important quality in a friend?
The ability to put up with me and my faults! That’s a real strength. It’s nice to be admired for your strong points but when someone is understanding of your shortcomings – that what makes a great friendship.
What is your favorite walk in Sai Kung?
I like to go to Sai Kung Ferry Pier – there is a long pathway by the sea. Moreover, I love seafood and that’s where the seafood restaurants are. Another place I like to go is the dessert shop. Sai Kung is blessed with great food.
My favorite Sai Kung restaurants? There are so many. But I especially like Mun Kee dessert, Tung Kee seafood restaurant and some of the local Thai restaurants.
Do you have any tips for mums cooking Christmas lunch?
I would recommend chicken breast stuffed with cheese because chicken breast is lean while cheese adds flavour. And add veggies to the plate for taste and colour.
The Maria Cordero motto?
Work hard and eventually you’ll succeed!