My Life in Travel: Rachel Khoo

'I loved the contrast in Istanbul – the call to prayer mixed with the European cafés'

Rachel Khoo is a chef and cookery writer. Her latest book, My Little French Kitchen, is out now, published by Penguin/Michael Joseph; £20 (

First holiday memory?

Visiting relatives in Austria. I spent a lot of holidays there, hanging out with my cousins. It was very Heidi-esque: being in the mountains, running through the forest and being carefree. My aunt, uncle, grandma and cousins were in one house, and another aunt, uncle and cousins were in the next. At Easter, we'd go from one to the other doing egg hunts and end up with a huge sack of chocolate.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

London. I recently moved back, so I'm spending more time in the city. I love the vibrancy. I went clubbing on a Monday night recently and I saw this amazing New York house producer called Kerri Chandler. That would never happen in Paris.

Best holiday?

This summer. I only had a week off so I made the most of it. I flew into Venice and then went to Lake Garda for a couple of days. I then moved up to the mountains on the Austrian border for some hiking. The last day, I came back to Venice and stayed overnight. It felt like I had two weeks off.

Ideal travelling companion?

I'm notorious at falling asleep within two minutes of boarding, so I probably don't need to travel with anybody — just my eye mask, some earplugs and my iPod.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To travel light. I'm getting better at it, but I always tend to pack too much. I recently did a 10-day trip filming around Europe, and I managed to do hand luggage only. I got away from airports so much faster.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum. I travel a lot for work, so I'm quite happy lying on the beach with a good book. I love reading, falling asleep, waking up and taking it really easy. In Lake Garda, I stayed at the Bella Riva Hotel, which had a view over the lake and a pool, which was perfect for watching the amazing boats. In Biarritz, the beach was amazing for watching the surfers.

Holiday reading?

The last thing I read was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, about a guy who has autism and the story of how he tried to find a wife. It was quite similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, but with an older man. It was touching, funny and easy to read, which is what I want on holiday.

Where has seduced you?

I recently went to Istanbul for work. I loved that it was a real contrast of cultures. In the morning, you hear the call to prayer, but it also has such a European feel, with people sitting outside in the cafés. The food was so fresh and different to what I've tasted before.

Worst travel experience?

I was on my way to Tallinn and got stuck in Helsinki overnight. My connecting flight was delayed, so they put me up an awful airport hotel. It really was the lowest of the low. I didn't know if I should be sleeping on the sheets.

Best hotel?

Shoreditch House. Even the smallest room is very comfortable. In New York, The Ace was quite fun, and I've also used Airbnb a lot while travelling around France, which is an amazing resource.

Favourite ride?

Around Paris on a Sunday. They close the roads down for cyclists, so you can cycle from my place in 19th arrondissement along the canal, down to the Seine, and stop off at a bakery, or my favourite ice cream place, to meet friends.

Best meal abroad?

The best meals I've had are usually when I've gone to a local market. I went to the Rennes in Brittany, where they have the most amazing market in the town centre on Saturday mornings. Most stallholders are producers or fisherman, so you can buy things like fresh oysters and have them shucked in front of you with a squeeze of lemon. There's no fuss, no white tablecloths – it's cheap and cheerful food.

Favourite city?

Paris. In my neighbourhood, there's Café Cheri, that all the locals go to, where they have a DJ on Saturdays. Further down, there's my favourite bakery, Du Pain et des Idées, which does amazing croissants. Then there's Ten Belles, a coffee shop, and this bistro called Holybelly, which has just opened. Next door is Bob's Juice Bar, where I used to work and peel carrots. For good cocktails, I go to Candelaria, Le Mary Céleste or L'Entrée des Artistes.

Where next?

Austria for Christmas. It'll be very white and wintry. I'm not allowed to ski, as I'm filming a new television series, so I'll be sledging instead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
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 Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot