Stephen Jones: 'Champagne is far more fun with cheap crisps than canapés'

My earliest food memory... Eating ice-cream. I grew up in the Wirral in the mid-1960s and because my father was a refrigeration engineer, we had a freezer at home. We were the only family I knew who had one, and we'd always have a tub of ice-cream, which was the most unusual thing on the planet at the time.

My top cookbook... A Snob in the Kitchen, which is a very funny book by a lady called Simonetta Colonna di Cesaro. She was an Italian duchess, who was a huge celebrity in the 1960s, and the recipes come from the Italian aristocracy and their cooks. It reeks of that era's jetset glamour: there's a particularly fantastic recipe for spaghetti and Cognac sauce. It doesn't taste particularly nice, but it tastes supremely elegant.

The kitchen gadget I can't live without... My Pavoni espresso machine. It was a present from a partner 25 years ago, and I still use it every day when I'm in London. I know people have Nespressos and the like which are much easier to use, and it's a bugger to clean, but I love it for its sentimental value.

My culinary tip... If you're entertaining, breakfast is the meal to go for. I find it's really appreciated: invariably people are always hungry, and they're hopefully not too drunk to eat by the time you serve it up.

My top table... The Tangerine Dream Café in Chelsea Physic Garden. They just do the most wonderful food in the most wonderful location: it's self-service and you sit on long tables with plastic tablecloths and there's a real bonhomie between people. Also, Prunier in Paris: it's got the most gorgeous Art Deco interior. They also do a dish called Oeuf Christian Dior. It's an egg in aspic with a big dollop of caviar: of course, as I'm the milliner at Dior, I have quite a vested interest, but I can honestly say it tastes absolutely delicious.

My dream dining companion... Bryan Ferry, because I know him a little bit, but not that well, despite the fact his work has been a huge influence on my career for 30 years. And because of his son Otis, there would be lots of well-hung meat, I'm sure.

My guilty pleasure... The hot chocolate from Angelina in Paris. It's so stonkingly rich, I'm sure they must put narcotics in it. After half a cup, you feel as if you're about to pass out. Also, cheese from Paxton and Whitfield [a specialist dairy shop with branches in London, Bath and Stratford]: I'll usually go for something Welsh and unpronounceable.

The strangest thing I've eaten... So many things in Japan because I've been going there four times a year for 30 years. Whale's eyelids is one particularly bonkers thing: they were really not very nice, but they're a delicacy over there so it's a case of spitting it into your napkin when nobody's looking.

My pet hates... Supermarket vegetables which have no flavour. I have a tiny garden, but I grow some easy things such as tomatoes and courgettes, and if you do grow your own they taste so different and it's such a wonderful experience. The smell of a tomato plant is just the most delicious thing in the world.

My tipple of choice... Krug champagne, which I love having with a bag of cheap crisps: just plain Walkers, nothing handcooked by virgins or the like. I think champagne is a very essential part of life, and it's somehow far more fun to have it with crisps than a canapé: there's something about the way people take expensive wines seriously which is just not me. I find it funny that Britain apparently drinks more champagne than anywhere else in the world: in France they find it weird because they reserve it for very specific occasions.

Stephen Jones is a milliner who will be showcasing his Drifting and Dreaming collection at the Royal Ascot Fashion Show from Tuesday to Saturday. For tickets visit:

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower