Behind the Menu: Ollie Dabbous
What is your favourite cuisine/dish?
At the restaurant we cook primarily with great products from within the UK, serving food that is both restrained and organic. On days off I enjoy anything simple, fresh and healthy: Italian, Greek and Lebanese in particular.
I always enjoyed eating, so picking up a knife or saucepan is a natural progression.
Where do you get inspiration for your dishes?
Just want to make the food taste as good as it can in the most natural way. Some young chefs may use the ingredient as their tool to showcase their skills. I would rather use my skills to showcase the ingredient.
When designing a menu, what factors do you take into account?
What is at its best right now, and how to showcase those ingredients in the simplest manner that will be a pleasure to eat and have an innate sense of rightness.
What is a “must have” herb or spice in your kitchen? Why?
Fenugreek – we use the seed to marinade a lot of our meats: Chicken, Goose, Iberico pork, Quail.
As a chef you must have cultivated a refined palate, are you picky with your food?
Yes, I won’t eat rubbish, but that is also from a health point of view. Nothing wrong with cheese on toast or the like though.
What is your funniest kitchen experience?
There was a big feature on myself and the restaurant in a glossy magazine one day. That night I shared a taxi back home with my GM, and had bought some sandwiches and food from a nearby takeaway shop, as I hadn’t eaten all day and was starving. It was pouring with rain so the bag got wet and broke and food went everywhere. There was a distinct contradiction between the magazine depiction and the reality of myself at 1am salvaging takeaway food from the pavement.
If you’re travelling to London keep a look out for Ollie’s brand new restaurant, “Henrietta”, opening in May 2017. Find out more on what Ollie does here!