What’s your favourite ingredient?
My favourite ingredient is cumin. It really has an influence on so many dishes that I cook. I find it fascinating.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
Well, it’s actually a little bit of a combination. I love Ortiz salted anchovies from the beautiful Basque fishing village of Ondarroa. All you need with those is a loaf of Company Bakery sourdough, then it’s game over.
Tell us about your first food memory?
My granny’s baked rice pudding with Lyle’s Golden Syrup. This was always made on a Sunday. I guess it was always my late father’s favourite, so my love for the humble rice pudding remains.
What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?
I really love I J Mellis Cheese Lounge, which is tucked at the back of the shop in Morningside. Ian and Karin, along with their son, Rory, have nurtured the evolution of their cheese and retail provisions, allowing us the opportunity to eat delicious cured meats, cheese, other savouries and puddings. You are truly spoiled for choice with the excellent and well stocked wines available too. Heaven.
What would be your last supper?
A dozen west coast langoustines simply boiled in salted water and served over crushed ice. I’d have them with a very good helping of malt mayonnaise.
Starter or pudding?
Pudding every time, especially just now as we approach autumn and the orchard fruit season. With the chill already in the air, satisfying puds like steamed syrup pudding or treacle tart come to mind.
Do you have any food hates?
I really cannot stomach brown sauce or tomato ketchup. When I was growing up, I always found the smell of either, and indeed the colour, so off-putting.
What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?
We would start off with negronis, just to get the ball rolling, then move straight into platters of native oysters and some chilled Burgundy.
Our main course would be our Grand Fruits of the Sea platter, with the finest selection of seafood from the British Isles, all served over ice. I’d go for a simple pudding of vanilla ice-cream and Pedro Ximenez sherry to finish.
I’d invite hotelier Ken McCulloch to be in charge of the setting and he could share his wisdom and inspirational stories. I would also need the late Andrew Fairlie beside us one more time, so we could listening to his calm measured words and hear about his love for the simple pleasures in life.
Last, but not least, my best friend and wife, Karin. An opportunity to have a dinner together and be a good friend to both of the above.
What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?
Right now, Brat in London’s Shoreditch is worth the flight alone. It’s an incredible atmospheric space and the team have that East London cool and are lovely and knowledgeable. The cooking’s inspired by Spanish cooking over fire. From insanely tasty anchovy bread, to whole grilled Dover sole served with chilled sherry and whole grilled turbot, all finished with baked Basque cheesecake