My Life in Food: John Burton-Race

'Grilled lobster with butter and garlic, eaten on the beach, would be my ideal meal'

After a childhood spent in Singapore, Burton-Race worked in various kitchens in Britain, eventually rising to the rank of sous chef at Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. In 1986 he opened his own restaurant, L'Ortolan in Berkshire and later JBR in London. Both were awarded two Michelin stars. Today he is a brand ambassador for Adams Foods and heads The Restaurant Experience, a food festival.

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

A potato ricer is my most used piece of equipment. You get your cooked potatoes, dry them, and then whack them in one at a time through it. The result is like vermicelli, and totally free of lumps Least used? I once bought, I'm ashamed to say, a garlic crusher – and it is a total and complete waste of time. Much better to just give it a bash with a knife and then chop it finely.

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

I'd go down to the fish and chip restaurant next to where I fish, on the beach in Torcross in Devon. It's called The Boat House. I'd have a haddock and chips and a pint of beer. If not, I'd buy a whole sea bass and cook it in a salt crust.

What do you eat for comfort?

Chocolate. I've always got some about the place. I like chocolate with about 70 per cent cocoa solids. I think all this 80 per cent stuff is ridiculous, so bitter and sour, you might as well not bother. Or, maybe, my wife's Cornish pasties.

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

I'd go for bread; preferably French. I have a little bakery in Dartmouth I go to. It's run by my ex-pastry chef, Julian – fabulous stuff. But you know, you can get some nice French flour bread in supermarkets these days. A pavé is what I have; it's not quite a sourdough and it's not quite a baguette either. Would I miss potatoes? Certainly. Pommes boulangère I absolutely love and would miss.

What's your desert island recipe?

Well a desert island recipe calls, presumably, for food you can easily get on a desert island. So grilled lobster with a touch of butter and garlic, eaten on the beach, would be my recipe. But if I could take a cool box of other things, I'd probably have it with fresh asparagus, Jersey potatoes and hollandaise sauce.

What's your favourite restaurant?

My favourite London restaurant is the Gavroche. But out of London, my most recent find is a little place on Cathedral Green in Exeter, called Abode. Michael Caines owns it and always seems to have a very good chef. I went this week and had the grazing menu – it's probably the best value in all of England.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I like cookbooks, I have hundreds. And do you know what? The pictures are enough for me, they give me ideas. The photography is very important. If I had to choose just one I would pick an old one by Nigel Slater called Appetite.

Who taught you to cook?

My mother and grandmother were good old-fashioned cooks, so I learnt at their knees. My grandmother would never buy biscuits, she would just make them – she was that type of solid cook. Raymond Blanc was, of course, inspirational, too. Also, growing up in Singapore, we had lots of local cooks at home and I would go and cook with them – they couldn't really say no when I asked them, despite me making a bloody mess everywhere.

Sport
Romelu Lukaku
sportChelsea striker sends second teasing tweet of the day
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Sport
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura sprays a line after calling for a free kick for Brazil
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
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

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz