'I always have some classic Bolognese in the freezer at home'

Talking food with Rob Wade, Head of Food, Bite Me Burger Co & Get Plucked

Published: Sat 14 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 1:00 AM

Your best food-related experience.
Sitting with my wife, by the sea on a little-known Greek island; being served salads piled high with their local soft cheese, followed by grilled octopus and red mullet. No tourists, no work. Just sunshine and the sound of the Mediterranean.

Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
Fergus Henderson. He founded the restaurant St John in London 25 years ago and, in the process, changed the face of British cookery. I admire his courage in serving simple, fantastic ingredients, and making no apology for doing exactly what he wanted to do.

Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
Vietnam is an amazing culinary destination, from the Northern mountains all the way down to the tropical islands. Their appreciation of freshness, texture and balance blew me away. I was there for three weeks and every single meal was extraordinarily good.

How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
At least once a week. 'Around town' for me is London and my favourite place at the moment is Brat. The food is simple, yet perfect, and the room is one of the truly unique eating spaces I've ever seen, with an old brick fire and charcoal grill at one end, where the chefs cook and assemble plates in the room with the diner.

If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve him or her?
If I could cook for anyone, it would be the playwright Tom Stoppard. He's a person of great insight and humanity and he's an incomparable writer. I don't know what I'd serve him. I'd have to talk to him first. Mutton biryani is my favourite celebration meal. but for all I know, he's vegan!

You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
I don't cook a lot of food that you'd call unusual. I tend to focus on classic technique and simplicity. However, last week, I was playing around with a savoury donut as a burger bun for a special at Bite Me. It was dusted with super-fine parmesan instead of sugar. It was quite unusual, and pretty good.

One ingredient/dish you can't stand - and why.
I don't like puddings made with wet bread. We have them in England, you have them in Dubai. Texture is so important, and I really don't want my food to taste like it's already been chewed!

After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
Yes, every day. But it's a bit easier for me, as I'm not standing over a stove all day like most chefs. If I've been travelling or in meetings all day, it's relaxing to cook for my family.

Favourite comfort food?
A classic Bolognese with pappardelle. I don't really eat meat at home, but this is the one exception. I always have some in the freezer.

If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
Turbot, cooked in butter, finished with a squeeze of lemon.

Where can we find you, when you're not in the kitchen?
Ideally, out for a run. More likely, working at my laptop.
- Staff Reporter

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