Simon Rogan: 'Truffle oil is a cheat's way out as it masks a lot of flavours'


My earliest food memory... My mum's curries. They weren't expert – she would use sauces and packets rather than constructing her own curry paste or anything like that – but they were tasty. My favourite, though, was my mum's stews with loads of vegetables and nice, big, fat dumplings.

My store-cupboard essentials... Bread – at home I like to eat tiger bread or just a good-quality white crispy loaf. Also, good sandwich fillings, such as ham, mayonnaise and chicken and some fish fingers in the freezer. A fish-finger sandwich with a bit of ketchup and mayonnaise is snack heaven to me.

My favourite cookbook... In terms of home cooking, I like Nigel Slater's stuff, particularly his recent one, Tender, in which he cooks from his own vegetable garden. We've got our own garden at [my restaurant in Cumbria] L'Enclume, so I felt a connection with what he was doing, which is really admirable, especially where he lives [in London]. Professionally, I have been inspired by Michel Bras's Essential Cuisine. I share an affinity with him, in that his philosophy is about promoting particular ingredients from his local area in the Aubrac region of France, which is very similar to L'Enclume, where we try to use only north-west English produce and promote wild herbs and things like that.

My favourite food shop... The Natural Kitchen in Marylebone [London]. It is a general grocers, which is full of lovely ingredients, particularly concentrating on the organic and ethical, and it's a great place to have a coffee.

My top table... The Bluebird Café which is on the shore of Coniston Water in Cumbria. It's a lovely café, named in honour of Donald Campbell, who died on the lake while trying to break the world water-speed record in his Bluebird K7 boat. It serves simple, home-cooked food, and, looking across the water, it's one of the most beautiful places you could possibly eat. Also, Pierre Gagnaire in Paris: the guy's a god, and was a big inspiration to me early in my career.

My desert-island dish... It's got to be a close toss-up between a fry-up and Thai green curry. Up in the north-west, we're quite blessed with Thai restaurants, funnily enough: there area couple of good ones in Kendal and one in Lancaster which we'll go to, as it's a cuisine I tend to leave to the experts.

My guilty pleasure... A classic Vienetta. I had a taste for it in my childhood, and that's carried through to my 10-year-old son, so we both like tucking in as a treat. I'm also strangely attracted to Ginsters pepper steak slices. If I'm passing a service station, or even popping into Tesco, I might pick one up. I eat them cold: I'm a right minger!

The strangest thing i've eaten... Jellyfish, which I had at a restaurant called Dos Palillos in Barcelona. The only way I can describe it is it's like eating crispy rubber bands. It wasn't pleasant; I definitely wouldn't eat it again.

My pet hates...Truffle oil – I think it's a real cheat's way out because it bombards the dish and masks a lot of flavours. And okra, too. I've always had a thing about the shape of it, and the juice that comes out of it. It's quite snobby, but I also hate repetition – going to a restaurant and having a tasting menu and finding the same ingredients in different dishes and that it hasn't been well thought through.

My tipple of choice... Gin and tonic. It doesn't matter what gin: I'm an expert in them all. Most nights when I finish work I'll have one while I catch up with the news. That's my alternative to cocoa.

Simon Rogan is a chef and restaurateur, known for the Michelin-starred L'Enclume and London's Roganic. He will be sharing some of his culinary secrets at this year's Taste of Christmas, a one-stop shop for those preparing for the festive season, taking place at London's Excel from 2 to 4 December (

Suggested Topics
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
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
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
Life and Style
food + drink
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
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