We recently realised that we’ve been delivering our pasta kits for almost six months now and yet we still haven’t formally introduced ourselves - how incredibly rude of us! You already know that Fasta Pasta is made up of Rob and Isaac, but who are the boys behind the names? We sat down to do a good old fashioned Q&A, starting with Isaac (the self-proclaimed Doughman) - here’s how that conversation played out.
R: So, as we know Isaac, Fasta Pasta was an idea you had back in school. You presented it to me, and the dream was born. Tell us about what inspired you.
I: “So, we were at school together when I first pitched the idea to you, and at that stage it was just a name to be honest. I liked the name. I’ve always thought I’ve been quite good at that actually, just coming up with names...but anyway that’s by-the-by…
I always thought there was a gap in the market for fast food pasta. You’ve got all the unhealthy stuff - your burgers, fried chicken, Subway and that - and I thought there was a space for something a bit more substantial, wholesome and also a bit healthier as well. And I always thought decent, fresh pasta with traditional flavours and great ingredients could be made more accessible to everyone really.
I just put those two things together and that was Fasta Pasta really.”
R: I remember it well. The good old days! What have you been up to since that idea was born and when it was finally put into action last year?
I: “So since then, we finished school and went separate ways [sounds a bit bleak, we just went to different unis mate], but always remained close mates.
I went off to uni, got a degree, allowing me to become a biomedical scientist for the NHS which I am still doing today. When I’m not working there or making pasta, I play a lot of football and golf, and to be honest just do more cooking in my free time. Not a lot else you can do at the moment!”
R: I can vouch for that - you’re usually on the fairway when I’m trying to get hold of you. Next question, where does your love for cooking come from?
I: “I think I’ve always liked the creativity that comes with cooking. I like the idea of looking in the cupboard, seeing what you’ve got, and trying to make something out of that. I think that’s something we try and draw on in our recipes. While we draw on some traditional Italian flavours, I like the idea of thinking of what can go with what, making up a few combinations and then testing them out in the kitchen - you know, usually one of us will come up with an idea then test it on the other, then if we like it we’ll try it on a few friends and then maybe it makes its way onto the menu. But even if it doesn’t, we‘ve learnt something. So I guess that’s what I get out of cooking
Also I just like feeding people. I’m a feeder. I like to see people’s faces when they try something new or if we can impress them.”
R: What’s your favourite of our dishes, and why?
I: “Has to be our butternut squash and brown butter stuffed pasta, with balsamic glaze and edamame beans...or brussel sprouts around Christmas! For me, it offers everything. You’ve got the caramely-ness [is that a word?] of the browned butter with the sweetness of the squash which works really well, you’ve got the earthiness of the beans or sprouts, and then the balsamic glaze just cuts through it with a sharpness. Oof. It’s got everything a dish needs to have.”
R: Obviously we’re looking forward to getting back to pubs and restaurants. Tell us your favourite places to eat and drink in Cambridge.
I: “Bedouin on Mill Road does really good North African food - amazing tagines, and a great vegetarian selection. Luk Thai at The Cricketers too, just off Parkers Piece, does a banging Pad Thai and Massaman.
For drinking, I often go to the Cambridge Blue, as well as Calverley’s Brewery, who do their own incredible brews and have a sick taproom now which they’ve recently done up. Their Neipa just hits different - top level creamy mouthfeel.”
R: Three years have passed - what has Fasta Pasta done in that time?
I: “Blimey. Well I think we probably will have moved away from just the Saturday night deliveries by scaling up, starting with lots of pop-ups over this summer. In three year’s time, ideally we’ll have some form of shop-front - whether it’s a van or a permanent restaurant of our own. Anything that can just make our pasta more and more accessible. But who bloody knows?! Each Saturday is different to the last and as long as we're still putting smiles on faces and pasta in tummies, I'm happy.
R: That’s the dream. Finally, you’re hosting a Fasta Pasta dinner party. Which three people, real or not, dead or alive, are you inviting, and what’s the soundtrack?
I: “Hmmm. First person that comes to mind for me is Bob Mortimer. He’s basically just my favourite human being and makes me so happy. I think I could literally just listen to his stories all night. Second person, maybe Stevie Nicks? Incredible set of pipes and I love Fleetwood Mac so that would be pretty cool. Third person...I mean it has to be David Brent doesn’t it? What is it he describes himself as - friend first, boss second...probably entertainer third? I’d ask him to bring the guitar, he could have a jam with Stevie, although to be honest she’d more likely just be the support act. What would he be like when the cameras are off him?
For music I’d probably have on O’Flynn - always have him on while I’m cooking and a perfect soundtrack for the summer too if we are dining al fresco. Next, Metronomy. I have them on repeat at the moment. Too many belters to mention. Finally I'd try and find a way to shoehorn the Burial - Untrue album in there, It's just a masterpiece and one of my absolute faves”
So there we have it. We’ve all learnt a little bit more about the Doughman. We hope that was an interesting read for you, and we’ll be formally introducing the other half of Fasta Pasta, Rob, very soon.