Last Word: Richard Allen

Last Word: Richard Allen

This month: Richard Allen, Rockliffe Hall

What do you eat for breakfast?
Scrambled egg on toast with some really good butter. If we’re going out I’ll have poached eggs with smoked bacon and toast – nice and simple.

And your go-to guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate, at least 72% cocoa and I have a lot of it! I’m also fond of a burger and have to go for The Warrior at TGI Fridays.

What would you choose for your last meal on earth?
Tunworth cheese, a good chutney, sourdough and plenty of good craft beer.

What can I find in your home fridge right now?
We’re not big on stocking up so it’s normally pretty sparse. Right now there’s some smoked bacon, some salad, a block of cheddar and loads of condiments – you can never have enough of them on hand.

Which ingredient would you choose if you could only have one?
Cotswold Gold smoked rapeseed oil – it’s absolutely cracking and we marinate a lot of our meat in it.

You must have loads of recipe books, which is your favourite?
I’ve got loads by hundreds of chefs but my go-to has to be The Wizard’s Cookbook by Ronny Emborg, the Danish chef who created a food style he calls the Sensory Kitchen. I love his restaurant [Atera in Tribeca, New York] and the book is filled with so many of his best ideas. It’s one of those books where you want to cook every dish – they all look so good.

Out of all the dishes you make, what’s your favourite?
I love working with fish and seafood from the North Sea is superb. I’m also a big fan of Asian flavours and the rib of beef dish on our menu right now is a real favourite, which ticks all the boxes.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve cooked for?
I was interviewed for a job at Le Gavroche and cooked for Albert Roux, which was a special occasion. He was full of praise after the meal, employed me at The Grand Jersey Hotel and I went on to earn my first Michelin star.

What’s your most important bit of advice?
Always concentrate on the main ingredient and respect your produce. You can’t polish a turd!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
I was all set to join the Royal Marines, but I couldn’t because I have asthma. I’m not really sure what I would have done after that if food hadn’t interested me.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, what would you buy?
An onion, some good beef mince, salt, cheddar, bacon and a brioche bun.

Who gets your vote for greatest cook ever?
It has to be David Everitt Matthias. I like his masculine style of cooking and I love visiting his restaurant, the two Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage, in Cheltenham.

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