10 burning foodie questions with... Ollie Dabbous
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
Takeaway every time! Usually pizza... a Margherita – the purest – with basil on at the end.
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.
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.
Dessert. I’d normally go for something with ice cream in it – vanilla, obviously.
A summer salad – tomatoes, basil, black olives – then red meat cooked over charcoal, crispy potatoes and, for dessert, probably a nice trifle.
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.
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.
Pork pie at the end of the night.
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.
Ollie Dabbous’ new cookbook, Essential (Bloomsbury, £30), is out 16 September.