My Life in Food: Frederick Forster, head chef, Boundary

'My mum would help us create african dishes – she was my first influence'

Having worked in restaurants in Dubai, Barbados and South Africa, London is now home for Frederick Forster, who has been heading up Boundary Restaurant, in Terence Conran's boutique hotel in East London, since the end of 2012. He has worked with Michelin-starred chefs including Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Pierre Gagnaire and in 2011 was announced Craft Guild National Chef of the Year.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

I would say our most used is our vacuum pack machine. We use it for storage mainly, things like marinating shoulders of lamb. Least used, I would say our pasta machine. I'm a great lover of pasta but we're a French restaurant, I tend not to have the menu inundated with pasta, even though I'd very much like to.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I live in west Dulwich and go to Brixton market most Sundays. There's a really fantastic butcher there and he always gives us a good deal. I'd probably spend my last £10 on two rib-eye steaks, one for me and one for my son, Tiger.

What do you eat for comfort?

I'm a big lover of Marks & Spencer and particularly their Viennese biscuits. Every time I go past the counter I try not to pick up a packet but I usually end up getting one.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I would say potatoes. They are more versatile and I can make a lot more things with them, mashed potato, chips, even alcohol… I'm not a big drinker, but I'm just thinking versatility-wise. I'm also trying to cut down the amount of gluten I eat.

What's your desert island recipe?

I used to live and work in Barbados so it would have to be a fish dish from there. My recipe would be a nice Cajun red snapper barbecued Barbadian-style. You fillet it and marinate in garlic, olive oil, lemon rind and a bit of chilli. Wrap it in a banana leaf then off you go.

What's your favourite restaurant?

We have a nice Japanese in west Dulwich we go to sometimes called Edo. We go there as a family, they know us by name and they rarely take an order from us because they know we pretty much get the same thing every time. For high end I would say somewhere like the restaurant in the Ritz Hotel, Wild Honey or Pollen Street Social.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I'm a big fan of Thomas Keller, so I would say his French Laundry Cookbook. The book is full of class and finesse, cleanly presented and very elegant. I hold it in very high esteem, alongside books by people like Raymond Blanc.

Who taught you to cook?

My late mum definitely was the starting influence. She would help us create all these African dishes at home and it sort of took off from there. She gave me inspiration and encouragement when I didn't realise it was something I enjoyed doing.

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