10 burning foodie questions with... Ruth Hansom
by Helena Lang
Darlington-born Ruth is head chef at The Princess of Shoreditch in East London and was a finalist on The Great British Menu in 2020. She started her professional career as an apprentice at The Ritz kitchens
Always a fakeaway. I love Asian food and taught myself to make my own gyozas [Japanese dumplings] and bao buns [soft doughy lotus leaf buns] during lockdown. Making them yourself is a lot cheaper than getting a takeaway.
It’s a halibut dish that’s always on the downstairs menu at The Princess. There are some Jerusalem artichokes underneath and a fennel broth, pickled grapes, and some almonds. It plays on the classic Sole Veronique. I like to pay homage to the great classical dishes; the foundations of all good cooking lie there, but I like to twist it a bit.
Quay by Peter Gilmore, which is an Australian cookbook by the renowned chef, and, of course, The Ritz cookbook.
Oh, starter, all the way. I’m a savoury person. I’ll always order sweetbreads if I see them on the menu.
My mum’s lasagne. Mum never cooked that much when I was little, it was always me and my dad, but the one thing she did cook when she wasn’t at work was her lasagne. She would make everything from scratch. It was always really good.
There have been several. When I was an apprentice at The Ritz, I remember prepping some sea kale. I didn’t really know what it was, and I made the mistake of not asking. As it looks like celery, I kept all the stalks and threw away all the little curly leaves. Of course, they were the bit I should have kept, and it cost about £10 for a tiny little bunch. So, always ask questions before you do anything!
Tomato ketchup, any condiment in fact.
It’s a bit controversial but I think meat that’s not meat is silly. There are so many good, lovely vegetarian ingredients that you don’t need to pretend something vegetarian is meat. Why make it look and taste like chicken when it’s not?
I’ll take pineapple on anything, and I love fruit in savoury dishes.