Paul A Young: 'Whenever you're baking anything, add a pinch of sea salt' - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

Paul A Young: 'Whenever you're baking anything, add a pinch of sea salt'


My earliest food memory...Going to my great-grandfather's house after school on a Monday evening, when my grandma would come over and cook stew and big Yorkshire puddings. There was a blazing coal-fired range in the kitchen, and the oven at the side was the only way of cooking. That heat from the range was different to the kind you get from gas or electric; I don't think any of us will get to taste food like that again.

My store-cupboard essentials... Pearl barley, because I like to use it to make savoury porridges. I'll put lots of nice cheese and herbs and spices in it, and it's really easy. I can put it on and let it cook slowly while I'm tackling my emails at the end of the day. There are also always two types of chocolate in my cupboard: the Mast Brothers Dominican Republic bar and the Duffy's Honduras bar, which is really earthy and brilliant for savoury recipes. And two jars of piccalilli: it's one of those really uniquely British tastes and I adore it with cold meats, pies and chicken or spread under grated cheese on cheese on toast.

My favourite cookbook... Hawksmoor at Home. I'm lucky enough to live one street away from the Covent Garden Hawksmoor, so there's no excuse for me not to pop in. The book is really usable, with hearty, full-of-flavour recipes: the mac and cheese one has a beef shin stuck in it and is the best thing you can ever eat. I also read my grandma's and great-grandma's recipe books for inspiration, especially when it comes to old-fashioned ingredients.

My top culinary tip...Whenever you're baking anything sweet, add a pinch of sea salt. I put a teaspoon in my chocolate cakes. It lifts and balances the sweetness and brings out other flavours. There's not enough in it to be able to taste it, but it's like putting salt in bread: you know when it's not there.

My top table... At the minute Dabbous, which is a new restaurant [in Fitzrovia, London]. It's wholesome food with a really creative angle. I think the chef Ollie Dabbous is paving the way for a new breed of Michelin-starred restaurants that don't have to be super-fine dining and formal and are just about the ingredients. I also think he must have read my foodie thoughts, because he has a dish of beef tartare with cigar oil, whisky and rye, which has to be all my favourite ingredients in one!

My dream dining companion... Antonin Carême – he's known as the first celebrity chef and was famous [in early 19th-century France] for his massive sugar sculptures and amazingly complex desserts. I'd like to ask him how on earth he came up with all of this fine cooking at a time when there was none of the equipment we have now to help him. I'd also have Oscar Wilde: I think I may have lived in the late 1800s in another life, because I've always had a connection with that era, and his frivolity is very appealing.

The strangest thing I've eaten...The first time I ate a raw cocoa bean was strange. They're slimy, slippery and taste like a mixture of every exotic fruit you can imagine. You don't eat the bean itself: just the outer shell. Oh, and melon and radish juice. My assistant chocolatier Ollie came up with it recently, as he makes juices for the team every morning, so we get some fruit and veg as we're working with sweet things. It tasted fantastic for a second, but after that it turned my stomach.

My pet hates...Cupcakes. No more, please! Usually you get a substandard sponge and loads of over-coloured frosting which just tastes of sugar: they're so easy to make badly, they've been done to death, and they're often expensive. Seriously, there are so many cake recipes in the world: we're cleverer than that.

A renowned chocolatier, Paul A Young runs three chocolateries in London, including a flagship on Wardour Street ( His cookbook, 'Adventures with Chocolate', is available in paperback now, published by Kyle Cathie, priced £14.99

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
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
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week