My Life In Food: Simon Rogan, chef, L'Enclume

 

Simon Rogan opened L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria in 2003. It has held a Michelin star since 2008. He has since opened a two-year, pop-up restaurant, Roganic, in London's Marylebone.

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

I would say my most used piece of kit must probably be my thermo blender. It does everything from simple slicing to puréeing and heating at the same time. It appears in most of our recipes somewhere – currently we're using it to make flower paste. I don't really have a least used piece of equipment, because if it isn't used, I just get rid of it. That said, the microwave isn't often in use.

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

At the moment, my mood would swing me to the Chipotle chain of restaurants. It's sort of like a Mexican fast food chain, and the food's really tasty. I'm based in Cumbria but when I'm in London and I'm finishing work and I need a snack, that's the sort of place I go to. We've got one round the corner from Roganic. It does all types of Mexican food but the best thing there are the burritos.

What do you eat for comfort?

I eat a lot of sandwiches – when I'm working I just like something quick. A particular favourite is slices of nicely cooked ham with plenty of mayonnaise on fresh bread. I'm a traditionalist by choice, so that may explain part of the appeal (I love a good cup of tea, too). But, as I'm up in Cumbria, my choices are a little limited anyway.

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

That is a tough one, because I love both. But on taste and usage, potatoes just have the edge. They're so versatile and you can cook them in so many different ways, and they're quite simple to use, too. Equally true of bread, I suppose, but still, potatoes are best.

What's your desert island recipe?

Well, my favourite dish is roast gurnard duck, and I could cut my recipe for that right down to the minimum. So I'd just want there to be plenty of gurnards on the island and something to make fire with.

What's your favourite restaurant?

I'm a big lover of Thai food and there's a restaurant in Kendal I go to quite a lot called Sawadee Thai – which translates as "welcome". We go there quite a lot because it's quick and easy, and, importantly, it's on the way home from shopping.

What's your favourite cookbook?

It would be Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras. I like the simplicity of the book's layout. And the pictures are hugely inviting. Plus the recipes are just beautiful. He is an absolute legend.

Who taught you to cook?

From a young age I'd be in the kitchen, helping out with family meals – cooking this and that. So that was where it probably all came from. But, professionally, I was taught by Paul Norman. I was his apprentice at the restaurant at the Rhinefield House Hotel in the New Forest. I was there, working to him, for three and a half years, so I suppose you could say he was the man who set me on the road to where I am now.

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