‘I’m currently concocting a dessert recipe with cauliflower’
Talking food with Alannah Doe, Group Pastry Chef, Sarood Hospitality
What would be your best food-related experience?
I travelled to Japan for a month to immerse myself in Japanese culture, traditions and, of course, the food. While in Tokyo, my friend and I had the opportunity to experience the world-renowned Nadeshico Sushi, Japan’s only all-female sushi restaurant. Female sushi chefs are extremely rare in Japan; being able to dine at an exclusively female-run restaurant has been a lasting experience and we were lucky to have managed to get seats at the 17-seater sushi bar. Although I’m not an avid fish-eater, dining at this restaurant was one of the most amazing food experiences I’ve ever had.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
One of the people in the culinary world that I truly admire is Gabriel Paillasson, the founder of Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie — the World Pastry Cup which takes place every two years in France. Having founded the international pastry contest in the late 80’s, Paillasson has won more than 300 awards globally — including 60 gold medals and 13 Grand Prix, which is a truly remarkable achievement. Pierre Herme is another idol of mine, as he has taken over from Paillasson as president and I was fortunate enough to train with him when I was just 18.
What is your favourite culinary destination, and why?
Without a doubt, France is one of the best culinary destinations. Both Paris and Lyon are overflowing with patisseries and I love visiting them while munching on bonbons and pralines. I have been visiting France every two years for the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie ever since I was 16 and, in my opinion, you just can’t beat the food experience in France.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve them?
David Attenborough is such a humble person and a true Brit, and I would love to sit in a garden somewhere and chat with him about how to put the world to rights while enjoying a nice dessert. I would make him a traditional apple crumble with custard, or a peach cobbler.
If you were asked to invent an unusual dish — what would it be?
Due to the rapid, ever-changing consumer trends and market demands, I am constantly coming up with new recipes and creating unusual dishes with new twists. Since there are so many dietary trends in the market currently, I am already creating desserts with beetroot, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. I’m currently concocting a recipe with cauliflower, but you’ll have to wait and see what the final dish turns out to be!
One ingredient/dish you can’t stand, and why?
Being a chef, I love almost all food — but I absolutely can’t stand coriander. Luckily, it’s not in many desserts, but I definitely avoid it as much as I can. I think it’s one of those ingredients that many people either love or hate.
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
After being in the kitchen all day, I have no inclination to come home and cook again. Funnily enough, I don’t even own an oven!
What is your favourite comfort food?
Hailing from the UK, nothing can beat a classic traditional roast dinner. It really reminds me of home and is my go-to comfort food.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
When I was a kid, I used to eat sausage, mash and peas at least three or four times a week. As I got older, I haven’t eaten it as often. So, if I had to choose a last meal, that would be it.
Where can we find you, when not in the kitchen?
Apart from being in the kitchen, one of my hobbies and something I am truly passionate about is working out. I frequent GRITdxb, a great strength and conditioning class that helps keep me in shape. I also like to run, cycle, or play football whenever I can, and I have also just taken netball back up after breaking my ankle while playing last year. I love all sports and find it such an amazing way to release all the stresses of the day!