My earliest food memory is standing on the chair with my sister in my parents’ restaurant, seeing who could make the cheese on their French onion soup stretch the furthest.
Street food has been talked about as a trend for years, but it is now truly coming into its own, and reaching new heights. If you want to find examples of some of the best food being created in London, you wouldn’t be disappointed checking out a Street Feast, or one of the many street food vendors working with Kerb. The pop-up scene still proves to be strong, and dinner clubs are also gaining in popularity.
My favourite places to eat are too numerous to list, but I love the diversity you can get in London. The city has the most authentic ethnic food I’ve ever eaten. I’m a big fan of ‘mini Vietnam’ on Kingsland Road – in particular, Loong Kee for its bánh cuốn. I like The Lockhart for good southern fried chicken, La Poule au Pot for a romantic French dinner with my wife, Lima for ceviche and, of course, Trinity! My favourite pop-up guru is Jimmy Garcia, and my favourite street food vendors are: Breddos Tacos (any taco they do is amazing), Smokestak (best ribs and brisket, maybe even better than in Texas!) and Mother Flipper (the Candy Bacon Flipper is the best burger in London).
My most memorable meal was sharing pizza and homemade wine with fishermen on their boat. They had invited us aboard when my parents’ sailing boat got stranded in a storm off the south coast of Sicily.
My ideal dinner guests would be Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron, as they all wrote and lived fascinating lives, and were a bit edgy. I’d ask Micky Flanagan along to lighten the mood – and my wife, because I can’t enjoy a meal unless we’re swapping plates half way through.
I own over a hundred cookbooks and, though I read them incessantly for inspiration, I don’t actually follow the recipes all that often. I love Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver. Mitch Tonks is my go-to guy for fish. An old favourite to remind me of home is The Texas Cowboy Kitchen by Grady Spears. I’m also currently reading two books about the Big Green Egg, trying to see if I can perfect my smoked brisket and ribs to at least come close to the master, David Carter from Smokestak.
The three items always kept in my fridge are chillies, butter and Champagne – because you never know when you’re going to have something to celebrate!