My Life In Food: Joe McCanta, cocktail maker

 

McCanta started out bar tending in New York and went on to work for Saf raw food restaurants, opening Saf Restaurant and Bar in London in 2008. He has devised the cocktails for the Grey Goose Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation tomorrow. For tickets, go to ejaf.com

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

It would probably be my Vitamix. I use it in the morning to make juices or shakes. And then I use it for work – to create purées for drinks or to grind up spices. Least used? I'd say a measuring cup. I hate measuring things. I like doing things by touch and sight.

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

Cheese, definitely. Probably a nice Burgundian-style one. If I could afford a bit of bread, a French baguette, say, to put the cheese on, too, that would make me very happy.

What do you eat for comfort?

The olive in my martini. The martinis are quite a comfort as well, but I find something very attractive about a boozy olive. I think it comes from living for a time in Istanbul when I was working for Saf. The olives and oils you could get there were on another scale; I grew to love them.

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

I would go with bread. There is something amazing about the alchemy that comes when wheat is turned to bread. I spent a few days with the bakers at Soho house and they taught me how to make all these different types of bread – I was rapt.

What's your desert island drink?

A simple vodka on the rocks, preferably Grey Goose. If you had to have something over and over again you'd want something you wouldn't get bored with. If you'd let me, though, I'd take a range of bitters with me. A dash of bitters – orange, lemon, celery – changes the whole drink.

What's your favourite restaurant?

It's called Au Fils de Saison, and is a little anonymous place in Paris, on a backstreet. But I adore it nonetheless. It's small, approachable and serves traditional French food of an impeccable variety. It's a gem.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I like cookbooks and have quite a few of them. But at the moment I'm quite into getting the new food magazines and taking recipes from those. Things like Lucky Peach or Ferran Adrià's magazine – you don't have to invest as much, but you get really cutting-edge ideas from them.

Who taught you about cocktails?

I sort of taught myself. I was originally just in wine, but wanted to learn about cocktails, and everyone said read Dale DeGrof's book, The Craft of the Cocktail. I still have it now and every page is highlighted and triple underlined.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?