My life in food: Sat Bains


Chef Sat Bains started his career helping to set up Raymond Blanc's first brasserie, Le Petit Blanc. After a spell at restaurant du jour L'Escargot, he won the Roux brothers' scholarship and went off to work at the three-Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in the South of France. His self-titled restaurant in Nottingham has two Michelin stars, the first awarded to a restaurant in the city.

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

My most-used piece of equipment would be our induction hob. It is a very efficient piece of kit. Unlike with gas and electricity, there is no residual or unused heat from it – I like that. We worked with the University of Nottingham to make sure our new kitchen was as sustainable as it could be. Plus it means the kitchen isn't all sweaty. One thing I never use is my anti-griddle. The idea was to use it for frosting or making chocolate mousse, as it goes down to -18 degrees. It has fallen out of favour with me at the moment, though.

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

I love sushi. The flavours of soy and wasabi really do it for me – and it's so good for you. Maybe I would go for some dim sum. If I had more money I'd go to Hakkasan in London; failing that, there are quite a number of good dim sum places in Chinatown.

What do you eat for comfort?

Simple dishes are the most comforting, I reckon. So chilli, slow-braised for three hours, is my idea of a great dinner at home. I add in chickpeas as well as kidney beans. I get it so there are equal amounts of beans and mince. Then I take it and put it in iceberg-lettuce leaves. The crunch of the leaves, that contrast between the soft, warm chilli and the chilled leaves, is, to me, wonderful.

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

Potatoes. Chips, puréed with lots of butter, roasties in duck fat – all the things that are really bad for you. I love good bread and good butter but they can never match potatoes.

What's your desert-island recipe?

One of my favourite things is a sort of souped-up battered fish. You get red onion sliced very thinly and then you douse it in Sarson's vinegar and soy sauce and then you put it all the way down the fried crispy batter of the fish, and the acidity, well, it just blows you away.

What's your favourite restaurant?

My favourite restaurant in the UK is Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck. What Heston has done for food, the theatre of it all and the innovation, is just brilliant. He came from nowhere, hardly worked in a kitchen before (he did just two weeks at Le Manoir), but had this incredible philosophy and drive to become one of the most talented chefs Britain has had.

What's your favourite cookbook?

It would be an Escoffier book. The classic French repertoire was so important to me back then – and, to an extent, still is. You find recipes for wonderful things such as coxcombs and starlings. You find the influences of his cooking everywhere, even today. Some of the best things I've ever tasted are from his books.

Who taught you to cook?

The biggest influence I had wasn't a teacher, per se; he was more a friend. His name is Mick "Murphy" Walton. He was a Nottingham guy I met when I was 21. He dressed like a tramp, was a bit like a rock'*'roller and had such a knowledge of food. The first time I met him he smashed some garlic up in a pan with loads of oil and cooked me some eggs and we sat up until five in the morning talking about food. He ignited the passion in me.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor