Oliver Peyton: 'Fidel Castro is someone I've always been in awe of'


My earliest food memory... Watching my grandparents killing a pig. They were farmers on the west coast of Ireland, and I have a very vivid memory of them killing it and hanging it up in the barn and then bleeding it and gutting it. I was six or seven at the time, but when you're that age, things don't shock you in the way they might later on in life.

My store cupboard essentials... Parmesan, pesto, a sugo tomato sauce, some cheese with a bit of life to it, such as Lincolnshire Poacher, which is a strong cheddar, and Ortiz tuna, which is a really high-quality tinned tuna from Spain. Also, I always have three or four different types of olive oil, because I'm on a never-ending search for the perfect bottle: it's a Holy Grail product for me.

Top cookbook... Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables (HarperCollins, £19.99). I think a lot about vegetables, and the different ways of preparing them, and Alice was actually someone who inspired me to go into the restaurant business. I remember going to Chez Panisse [in Berkeley, California] in the 1980s and being intrigued by the fact that she grew lots of the food she cooked right outside her door – that was something no other chefs were doing at the time.

The kitchen appliance I can't live without... I love mandolin slicers because you can get such a fine level of cut. I like my vegetables very al dente, and with a mandolin, you can slice them very thinly, then flash [boil] them for 30 or 40 seconds and they're done.

My culinary tip... Prioritise content over style. I think people come to my house expecting gastronomic fireworks, but they never get it, because I'm more interested in finding the freshest vegetables and the freshest fish and the best meat, then doing very little to them.

My favourite food shop... Peck in Milan. It is a food nirvana: they find the best of everything, from wine to ham to olive oil, and their home-made pasta is amazing. I was buying ravioli there last year and I said to the lady at the counter, "How long are they good for?" and she said, "Four or five hours." I said, "But I'm going on an aeroplane," and she said, "No you can't take them on the plane, I'm not going to sell them to you." I love them for that passion.

My desert island dish... White-truffle risotto. If it's done well, when truffles are in their peak season, the flavour lingers with you for weeks.

My dream dining companion... Fidel Castro. I grew up with left-wing politics, and he's someone I've always been in awe of.

My pet hate... Saffron. I hate everything about it, even the colour. Every time I try a dish with saffron init , I can't taste anything else: it kills all the other flavours.

My guilty pleasure... I eat far too much chocolate and ice-cream and I load a lot of sugar into my body. The other Saturday, I brought home a banoffee pie from work; my wife and my kids were out and by the time they came back, I'd eaten three-quarters of it without really realising it. Also, a burrata mozzarella makes me happy as Larry. I'll take a whole one out of the fridge, stand there and crack through it in one go.

My tipple of choice... White wine. I try to search out more unusual wines – I'm into Austrian wines at the moment – but I don't see why you should have to spend a lot of money on a bottle: in most decent off-licences, you can get an extremely good one for less than a tenner. You also have to box clever with wine because you can come up against a lot of marketing bollocks.

Oliver Peyton is the founder and chairman of catering group Peyton and Byrne, which recently launched a restaurant/bar at the Royal Academy of Arts, London W1. Peyton and Byrne's latest cookbook, 'British Baking' (Square Peg, £20), is available from Thursday

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
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

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

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

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on