My life in food: Jacob Kenedy
'Bread is by far my favourite thing to make. Poor bread is, however, an insult to my humanity'
Thursday 18 April 2013
After leaving school Kenedy spent a gap year in the kitchens of the acclaimed Clerkenwell restaurant Moro and at Nancy Oakes' Boulevard in San Francisco, returning there again after university. He opened his first restaurant, Bocca di Lupo, in London's Soho, in 2008, at the age of 28, with partner Victor Hugo. Since then, the pair has also opened a gelateria and sweet shop nearby called Gelupo.
What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?
My most used (aside from the inevitable knife, board and peeler) is the oven. At home, I have two, and even that doesn't seem enough some days. I use them, of course, for baking and roasting, but also warming plates, braising, reducing, proofing. You can even sauté spinach, steam a dumpling, boil a tongue, poach an egg or sear a fish fillet in an oven if you've a mind to. Least used would be the microwave.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
I'd go buy a head of lettuce (£1), a kilo of mussels (£4) and a bottle of white – I'd rather spend more than a fiver but hey-ho, I'm on a budget – and cook a meal for two at home.
What do you eat for comfort?
That's easy: breakfast. Could be anything, from porridge with blueberries through fresh fish with artichokes to sushi or curry, but it's got to be something.
If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Bread is by far my favourite thing to make – it's magical and deeply satisfying. Poor bread is, however, an insult to my humanity. Potatoes I can take or leave. I mean, I appreciate a good chip or roastie or mash, but just need one mouthful to get the picture. I can, on the other hand, devour an entire loaf of bread without thinking, and it wins the gravy test – is there another substance in the world that can mop a plate so effectively?
What's your desert island recipe?
Easy: flour plus water plus yeast plus salt. Which equals bread.
What's your favourite restaurant?
May I have three? Boulevard in San Francisco and Moro in London are both extraordinary and inspirational. The third is Da Dora in Naples. Every time I go I'm convinced it will be the last time I'll be served by those waiters as they're all at death's door. It serves the best fish and seafood I've ever had anywhere.
What's your favourite cookbook?
Definitely Science In The Kitchen And The Art Of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi. This book has been knocking around since 1891 and is the tome that sits on every Italian kitchen shelf worth its salt. The recipes are simple, effective, and for the most part current. And the writing is delightfully endearing and effective.
Who taught you to cook?
I'm still learning. Prominent figures so far have been my grandmothers, my parents, Sam and Sam at Moro, Nancy at Boulevard, and most recently my chef de cuisine, Alberto Comai, who has more skills up his sleeve and information in his head than you can imagine. He thinks he's learning from me but I'm doing secretive espionage.
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