My Home: How chef Theo Randall transformed his Victorian terrace

For Theo Randall, London's latest star chef, a state-of-the-art kitchen was vital. The renovations were a mouth-watering financial success too

For years, Theo Randall, 38, was head chef at London's celebrated River Café. Now he has his own restaurant, Theo Randall At The Intercontinental, off Park Lane. He lives with his wife Natalie, Max, 7, and Lola, 5, in Chalk Farm, north London.

It sounds like a busman's holiday, but cooking is my way of winding down. After the frantic pressures of a restaurant kitchen, it's pleasantly relaxing to be able to produce food at a more leisurely pace while chatting to family or friends.

Our downstairs area is completely open-plan, light and airy with an inch-thick floor of polished beech and a huge table around which we can get up to 20 people. The wood for the table came from an oak that was blown over during the great storm of 1987. Natalie's father had it in his boardroom at one time.

My own father is an architect, which came in handy when we bought this place for £340,000 back in 2001 and asked him to redesign the interior. The house dates from the 1850s and is part of an elegant square that somehow survived the Second World War. Apparently, the Luftwaffe was trying to take out Euston Station but kept missing. This might explain why the neighbourhood has so many post-war estates dotted around. It's a very socially mixed area and that suits me fine. The important thing is that the square itself has a good community feeling. We know our neighbours and chat to each other on the street.

Mind you, we weren't too happy when one of the local kids booted a football through our front window not long after we'd moved in. One of the priorities when we started the renovation work was to install toughened glass, albeit in the original casement, with any rotten wood replaced.

From the outside the house looks like what it is: a Victorian villa. Inside we wanted something altogether more modern. For my father, that wasn't so much as an anathema as you might imagine. He was heavily influenced by modernists, like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. The notion of cooking, dining and having everyday family life going on in the same wide-open living space was quite natural to them.

There was a lot of work to do. The people who had the house before us were medical students who didn't have a lot of time, or inclination perhaps, to do much with it. You should have seen the curtains! Not to mention the botched plastering. The walls had been covered with cladding and woodchip, so we had to take everything right back to the brick before we could start again. No wonder the renovations took nine months instead of six and came in 30 per cent over budget. Worth it, mind you. The house was recently valued at over £700,000.

There's a spacious bathroom and three bedrooms. For the time being, the children share a room and use the other as a playroom. They can put their own pictures up alongside some rather nice pieces of art by the surrealist Joan Miro.

The kitchen area is very much my domain when I'm not at the Intercontinental. There's a lot of stainless steel because I like the look of it and it's easy to keep clean. My pride and joy is the oven, a Smeg, which is great for doing joints if I manage to get a Sunday off. I like to put in a shoulder of pork, for instance, blast it with heat to ensure some golden crackling, before turning it right down and leaving it. We can then take the kids off to play football on Primrose Hill, which is about five minutes' walk away. From there you can see London spread out before you, yet it doesn't feel as though you're in a city. Sometimes we go further afield to Hampstead Heath. After four or five hours, the meat is beautifully tender. You can twist the bone and it will just come away in your fingers.

In the summer months, I cook outside on the decking with a wood-burning stove. I might spit-roast a chicken or a leg of lamb. Or sometimes I cook a whole fish on the open grill, or do a loin of pork or veal with the lid down. Whatever it is comes out with that wonderful wood-roasted flavour.

Admittedly, there's not a lot of room out there. But at least the view has improved since the garages that used to be behind us has been replaced by mews properties with a grassy roof. Lovely yellow and orange flowers sprout from it in the spring and, even in the winter, there's a green bank to look at. It's another example of the way that London is constantly changing - often for the better.

Theo Randall At The Intercontinental, 1 Hamilton Place, London W1, 020-7318 8747, www.theorandall.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Service and Support (Financial Services, ITIL, ORC, TT)

£75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of Service and Support (Financial Ser...

Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, JAXB, ...

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

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