My earliest food memory is of my mum cooking a hearty fish stew on a fire pit and making fennel flatbread in a tandoor style oven. The smell, taste and colours are imprinted on my mind.
Food trends come and go, but seasonal, classical cooking will always have huge appeal, somehow it touches the nostalgic side of us and puts a smile on our faces. Timeless classics like a roast dinner with all the trimmings, a Lancashire hot pot or a meat and veggie terrine will always have a place on my table and will never go out of fashion.
My favourite place to eat is the Café at the Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. It is set in a garden centre and described as a ‘tranquil oasis with a seedbed of inspiration’. The Victorian ‘shabby chic’ greenhouse, surrounded by beautiful plants is the perfect place to enjoy the evolving menu inspired by what is growing in the garden and the changing seasons.
My most memorable meal was cooked by my grandma, a goat stew cooked in a terracotta jar served with olive bread.
My ideal dinner guests would be all the chefs who have inspired me throughout my life. And my mum, because she was a great cook and a master at preserving, pickling and foraging.
My favourite cookbook is the French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, it was recommended to me by Pete Redman. The book covers innovative cooking techniques, and also captures through recipes and essays the chef, Thomas Keller and the classic French cuisine that made him unique. Thomas Keller, is the only American-born chef to have two three-starred Michelin restaurants. The New York Times says The French Laundry in the Napa Valley is the most exciting place to eat in the United States.
The three items I always keep in my fridge are harissa, pickled vegetable and anchovies. Somehow the three of them make any dish or meal complete.