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Food

10 burning foodie questions with... Ollie Dabbous

10 burning foodie questions with... Ollie Dabbous
Image: Joakim Blockstrom

We put chef Ollie Dabbous, co-founder and executive chef at HIDE restaurant in Piccadilly, London through his paces with the big foodie questions of the day

1. Takeaway or Fakeaway?

Takeaway every time! Usually pizza... a Margherita – the purest – with basil on at the end.

2. What’s your signature dish?

At my restaurant Hide, that would be the Nest Egg – a hollowed-out egg – filled with a warm, savoury custard of egg, smoked butter and toasted mushrooms. It tastes like the smell of a campfire.

3. What’s your favourite cookbook?

Raymond Blanc Mange. Before I started working at Le Manoir, it was a book that really crystallised my vision to go there and work for him. It was one of the defining decisions I made in my life, because if I’d trained somewhere else, I might not have become the chef that I have.

4. Starter or dessert?

Dessert. I’d normally go for something with ice cream in it – vanilla, obviously.

5. What’s your last supper dish?

A summer salad – tomatoes, basil, black olives – then red meat cooked over charcoal, crispy potatoes and, for dessert, probably a nice trifle.

6. My favourite ingredient to cook with is...

Lemon verbena. It’s great in anything liquid where it can infuse–like a panna cotta, a fish sauce, or even chopped up in salad. It gives an effervescent, sherbet-like freshness to things.

7. Any kitchen disasters to share?

Probably when I was in my teens, trying to cook some signature dish on Christmas Day–... I was trying to do spun sugar and stuff like that in a domestic kitchen while my mum was cooking turkey, potatoes and stuffing. Sugar went everywhere.

8. What’s your guilty food pleasure?

Pork pie at the end of the night.

9. Which food trend would you like to see the back of?

Most food trends are a little bit cringeworthy because something’s either delicious, and has value, or it doesn’t. I’m getting a little bit tired of everyone fermenting everything. It doesn’t always enhance things. A ripe peach is delicious – fermenting them for me doesn’t do anything to enhance the flavour. The opposite, in fact.

10. Pineapple on pizza. Yes or no?

Absolutely not.

Ollie Dabbous’ new cookbook, Essential (Bloomsbury, £30), is out 16 September. 

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