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A Q&A WITH ROBIN GILL We quizzed Darby’s founder and chef Robin Gill about where to find the best ingredients, his Christmas traditions and which other chefs he admires. HO W DID YOU FIR S T BE COM E I NT E RE S T E D I N COOKING? I was always cooking at home when I was younger as we had a farm in Cork. My brother worked there curing hams, so I was constantly surrounded by vegetables, which had a big impact on me. I think it became something more serious for me mostly through failures and not sticking with one thing. I did music, acting and dance, so when I had to go to university, I needed to make a choice about what to do for a career and my father suggested cooking – I haven’t looked back! WH ICH CHEF WOU LD Y OU M OS T LI K E T O HAVE C O O K FO R YOU ON YOU R DAY OF F ? Shaun Searley of Quality Chop House. WH AT’S THE SECRE T T O RUNNI NG A HARM ON I O U S K I TCHEN? Music – all sorts of music to be honest. It depends on the mood, but I would say disco in the evening and some jazz in the daytime. HO W DO YOU TRY AND RUN A S US TAI NABLE R ESTAURANT? You think about working with a product from start to finish: buying whole animals, working closely with farms and taking the best produce they have at that time as opposed to flying ingredients in from abroad. It’s important to use every part of a vegetable as you would an animal. WH AT ARE THE BI G G E S T CHALLE NG E S I N FI NDING TOP- QUALI T Y PRODUCE F OR A LOND O N R ESTAURANT? Finding the right people and building the right relationships with purveyors. We cut out the middle-man and buy direct from producers. It’s the key to finding the best people and building that trust. Y O U WORK WITH I NDE PE NDE NT S UPPLI E RS – WH I C H HAVE YOU BEEN MOS T I M PRE S S E D W I T H? The Bean Family where we get our fish, and Neal’s Yard for cheese. I love the small independent producers they represent; in particular, Fen Farm for their Baron Bigod cheese. The late Mary Holbrook, who was an excellent cheesemaker, Secret Smokehouse for salmon and Farmer Tom Jones where we buy all livestock.

WH AT ’ S YO U R B EST P I EC E O F A D V I C E FO R FL ED G L I N G C H EFS? Don’t take a senior role too early, it’s good to experience a few different kitchens and wait before taking that step up. You need to learn the rules before you can break them. Also at the start of your career, you don’t need that level of stress – just enjoy life! WH AT ’ S B EEN YO U R B I G G EST T R I U MP H I N R UN N IN G A R ESTA U R A N T ? Watching team members grow; I love seeing people I met at one stage in their career go off to do something exciting or running a restaurant in our group. Their creativity is inspiring. WH AT C H A N G ES, I F A N Y, WO U L D YO U L I KE TO S E E TO L O N D O N ’ S R ESTA U R A N T SC EN E? Business rates. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the scene is amazing, but I’d like to change the challenges restaurateurs face with landlords and business rates. WH AT ’ S YO U R T YP I C A L C H R I STMA S D I N N ER AT H O ME? Last year we had venison – a big pie and whole roast saddle with Jerusalem artichokes, brussel sprouts and bacon, spiced red cabbage with apple, and a celeriac and potato gratin. And, we always have Guinness soda bread with smoked salmon in the morning with a glass of bubbles. I F YO U WER E I N A N I N D U L G EN T MO O D WH AT D IS H WO U L D YO U MA KE F O R YO U R SEL F ? I love a really quick carbonara, a really good one with dried porcini. MI N C E P I E, C H R I ST MA S C A KE O R YU L E L O G : WH IC H I S YO U R FAV O U R I TE A N D WH Y? Mince pie. I love a mince pie. You can’t beat the depth of flavour: it’s not too sweet, slightly savoury and just reminds me of Christmas. WH AT G I FT A R E YO U H O P I N G T O F I N D U N D ER TH E TR EE TH I S YEA R ? Not sure – I could do with a new wallet.

WH ICH PIECE OF K I T CHE N K I T COULD Y OU NO T L IV E WITHOUT? My temperature probe. We do a lot of cooking over fire, so when trying to perfectly cook a larger cut of meat or fish it’s very useful.

PAGE 57

KENSINGTON & CHELSEA REVIEW

Profile for Kensington and Chelsea Review

Christmas 2019 Edition  

The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...

Christmas 2019 Edition  

The Fa La La La La issue. Including festive ideas for food and wine, travel and our glorious and rather popular annual Christmas gift guid...

Profile for kcreview
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