My life in food: Sam Harris, chef/patron, Zucca

'you can tell the quality of a restaurant by the bread it serves when you sit down'

Harris has had a varied career, including stints at Ruth Rodgers' The River Café, Harvey Nichols, Bibendum and Leith's Cookery School. He also spent five years as an Egon Ronay inspector. He currently splits his time between his Mediterranean café, Maltings, and his Italian restaurant Zucca, both in London. The latter of which he founded in 2010, to no small acclaim, and which now runs "chef's table" evenings.

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

In a busy kitchen such as ours every bit of kit is heavily used, but we get through tongs and microplane graters at an incredible rate. We pretty much burnt out our ice cream machine, too, so I've just bought a new one. The least used thing would have to be our ludicrously expensive lemon juicer – it cost a fortune and sits collecting dust.

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

A piece of sashimi-grade tuna, and if there was a little change, a bottle of San Pellegrino water.

What do you eat for comfort?

That's tricky. But probably banana cake. It never fails to hit the spot, but it can't have cinnamon in it – that is the work of the devil! Apart from that, toast and marmalade is pretty cool – I have that before service at Zucca.

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

Bread every time. There's such diversity in bread – I'm always discovering new types whenever I go travelling. I never tire of it as I find different varieties work for me at different times of the day. Munching on grissini while looking at a menu has to be one of life's great pleasures – I reckon you can tell the quality of a restaurant by the quality of the bread it serves you when you sit down.

What's your desert island recipe?

It may seem an obvious choice, but it would have to be salsa verde. This sauce is genius. It goes with everything – fish, meat and vegetables. I never get bored with it as you can adjust the flavours with different herbs.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Such a tricky question – I can't quite decide between two. There's Guido in Piedmont or Da Tuccino in Puglia. Guido is where I learnt to make Agnolotti, the traditional filled pasta from the region. The other is the place that really turned me onto raw fish – pretty much everything that comes from the sea they serve raw. It's very cool.

What's your favourite cookbook?

Like most chefs I have loads – some of which I couldn't possibly reveal – but the bible, and it is that, that really helped me understand regional Italian food is The Classic Food of Northern Italy by Anna Del Conte. Claudia Roden's The Food of Italy also inspired me greatly.

Who taught you to cook?

Although I went to chef school and worked in various restaurants, I feel I'm pretty much self-taught. Obviously, I kept my eyes and ears open at all times, but unless you are very senior, in most restaurant kitchens you never get the chance to actually cook during service. You spend most of your time handling salads and prepping vegetables. I spent years reading and practising as much as possible in my own time and I feel we have a unique style at Zucca that grew out of this.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news

Video: It is the type of thing no parent wants to hear

Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
film
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: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

    £15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Receptionist / Warranty Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent Motor...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game