Having lunched at the excellent Kokomo restaurant in Nueva Atalaya last week, I felt I should introduce you to my friend and extraordinary talented Chef, Maurice Curtin. Maurice was born in  County Kerry  at the start of the ‘80s. A usual happy life as a child led to him going to college including in Derby and the Tralee Institute of Technology. What I love about Maurice’s cooking is that he was trained traditionally — along with another half-a-dozen of my favourite chefs — not just working in Michelin starred restaurants learning fine dining, and not knowing how to make the basics. He does. Like most of us, his first job was while he was still at school at 15 and as he says, “I never looked back since.”

He spent around 12 years in the UK honing his craft where he met his present partner and they decided to come to Spain where her parents lived, in Malaga. That was 10 years ago and when I met him. I was looking for a second chef for a new project and he joined the team. It didn’t take long to see that he was far better than that and it wasn’t long before he was running his own kitchens (thankfully for me until 2019 with some extra head chef experience in other kitchens). He then did a couple of years sailing around Europe as a Private Yachting Chef. But the call of Spain and his family was too great and so he returned. Covid abounding, but it didn’t take long for Maurice to be in demand; none more so than when John Drew the new owner of Kokomo and an avid foodie was to capture him.

He’s a family man and when he’s not working, which is not very often, he likes nothing better than being a Dad, going for walks especially with the family dog. He enjoys sport — used to play Irish football — and now helps coach his son’s football team.

Maurice is a great team leader and has encouraged and developed young cooks to become competent chefs. His passion for good food is probably equalled only by his passion for family and friends.

Constantly evolving he knows how to push his boundaries and create delights for his clients, both visually and with creative flavours.

If you haven’t been yet, you must do so. Say I sent you and he’ll probably come out and say hello — as long as it doesn’t take him away from his beloved kitchen for too long.