Last word – Martin Charlton

Last word – Martin Charlton

This month: Martin Charlton, Boathouse food group

Let’s start at the beginning, what do you eat for breakfast? I tend to keep it simple; porridge, Greek yoghurt and our family favourite Chain Bridge honey.

Sounds good, what about your go-to guilty pleasure? That’s an easy one – stone-baked pizza with Mediterranean veg, pesto, goats’ cheese and Serano ham.

If I made you pick a last meal on Earth, would that be it? I’d have to pick the North Sea hake and fragrant shellfish broth dish from our Amble menu. It’s full of local ingredients, and it’s simple, clean and beautiful.

What can I find in your home fridge right now? It’s full of things you can pick and choose from for simple meals – local cheeses, olives, salads and some local beers of course! You can throw them together and make something simple and packed with flavour.

Of all those amazing ingredients, which would you grab if you could only save one? Swallow Fish’s smoked salmon from Seahouses is outstanding and I’d have to take it with me.

You’re in the kitchen a lot so we imagine you have plenty of essential kit. Which is the most important? I’ve had my French oyster knife for about 20 years now; that and my MAC Pro Sole Fillet Knife come everywhere with me.

You’re famous for your fish dishes, but who has written your favourite recipe of all time? Everyone loves sticky toffee pudding and James Martin’s from the BBC Good Food website is the best one ever.

You’ve been cooking for more than 35 years – you must have plenty of cook books. Which is your favourite? Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry.

Back to your cooking, what’s your specialty? Fish is a big part of everything we do obviously, but I love our baking. We bake every day and Matt, who’s come through from washing pots, does great stuff.

You’ve travelled a lot, including catering some of the biggest festivals in the UK, but who’s the most famous person you’ve cooked for? We did the backstage food for Foo Fighters and my wife Ruth taught Dave Grohl’s kids to make pizzas, which was pretty cool!

What’s your most important bit of advice? Lead by example. We’ve got 10 apprentices and loads of our team have grown from pot washers into chefs, bakers and front of house. We think of the team as family and that’s really important.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef? It’s been a long time since I thought about it! I love sport – mountain biking, cycling,
kite surfing, snowboarding and
tennis – so I’d probably be doing something sporty.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, what would you buy? Shetland Blueshell mussels, clams and cockles cooked in a meunière sauce with some fresh bread.

Last one, who gets your vote for greatest cook ever? Keith Floyd inspired me a lot. No-one was better at adapting to the situation and still cooking amazing food.

Martin Charlton and wife Ruth head The Boathouse Food Group, which incorporates The Old Boat House Amble, Blyth Boathouse The Fish Shack at Amble and more. www.boathousefoodgroup.co.uk

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