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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'