My life in food: Theo Randall, chef


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.

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
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
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home