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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
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

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

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

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

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor