My life in food: Theo Randall, chef
Thursday 30 May 2013
After working at Chez Max in Surbiton, Randall joined the team at the famed London restaurant The River Café. After a break of a year, in which he went to work with Alice Waters, pioneer of Californian cuisine, he returned as head chef to The River Café and won a Michelin star. He left to set up his own restaurant at the InterContinental Hotel in 2007. He is currently appearing on The Chef's Protege, which continues tonight and next week on BBC2 at 6.30pm.
What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?
A stainless-steel olive-oil pourer I bought in a little hardware shop in Italy. I get these 5-litre olive oil tins and decant it, carefully, into this little pourer. I'm quite sentimental about it, it's cheap but has a nice design on it. Least used is my food processor. I like doing things by hand with knives, or using a pestle and mortar.
If you only had £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
I would probably go to Brian Randall's butchers in Wandsworth, London. He has an amazing shop. Especially the beef. I would spend £10 on a bit of thick sirloin, rub it with oil and salt and pepper and cook it on a griddle pan and have it with a tomato salad.
What do you eat for comfort?
Comfort food should be quick, so I do Tagliatelle with butter and parmesan. I'd want a decent unsalted butter and fine-quality parmesan. The importance with simple dishes is getting the best individual ingredient. With parmesan you need to look for the word "extra" after the "parmesan reggiano". It means it's good stuff.
If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I love potatoes, but not eating bread would be so difficult. One of the nicest things is to get some sourdough bread, grill it, then rub tomatoes on top and add oil.
What's your desert island recipe?
Boiled langoustine. So I'd catch some, boil them for no more than, say, a minute, and eat them with some mayonnaise I'd made up.
What's your favourite restaurant?
I think I'd head to Italy and a place called Aqua Sale in Osteria, Puglia. You enter into this courtyard full of lemon trees and jasmine. And they bring out plates and plates of anti-pasti – clams, prawns, octopus – all to die for. Then it's the pasta dish. Then they bring out fish and ask you how you'd like them cooked. It is a wonderful place.
What's your favourite cookbook?
Venus In The Kitchen by Norman Douglas. It was written in the Fifties and he was a very good friend of Elizabeth David – she'd go to him for inspiration, they were very close. His book is full of strange recipes – like how to bake white truffles. Along the way you get these lovely little stories, too, about a recipe's aphrodisiac quality, hence the title.
Who taught you to cook?
My mother I'd bake with, of course. And then I worked with Max Magarian, who taught me lots. Then there was Rose and Ruthie from The River Café in Hammersmith. And later the great Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. I've been very lucky with the people I've worked with.
Life & Style blogs
GTA 5 Online DLC: San Andreas Flight School update brings 16-seater jet plane and more
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
James Foley beheading: Twitter 'actively suspending' accounts sharing graphic imagery
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
'Long Live the Nazis' spaghetti dish sold in Taiwan renamed after backlash
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
iJobs Food & Drink
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...