On his way to Switzerland to prepare for a pop up restaurant in December, Luke Dale-Roberts gave me some of his time for a telephonic interview. It was great speaking to him, and the words here are my own, even though written in his voice.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
More than one person has influenced me. In food it was Kevin Hopgood. He taught me the basics, the building blocks. The other people who influence me are my parents and my wife, as they back me up which is so important.
What started you on the path of cooking?
I started cooking my chance. I left school at 16 and went to college and after a week I left. I had an uncle in the hotel industry and he suggested I try the hospitality field. It was a good thing, as I had always loved cooking.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
salt, soy and onions
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
a good knife
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
I have a few, but the people I work with have learned to avoid making them. People need to work cleanly, a mess freaks me out, and they must work with a purpose.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
There is one Japanese meal that I had in Tokyo that stands out as a favourite, as well as eating at The Ledbury, and Osteria Fracnescana
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
Uitzig Restaurant. They have a laid back, comforting, chilled, no bells and whistles, cozy atmosphere
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Jane Grigson’s Charcuterie
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
Jiro Ono as I believe it would be an enlightening experience. (For more on him watch the movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi)
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
Nato, which is a Japanese fermented bean that smells like ammonia and looks like glue. That and sea cucumbers. (Luke goes on to tell me he is reading the Big Friendly Giant to his son and that the snozzcucumber is just like a sea cucumber)
What is on top of your bucket list?
What is your food philosophy?
Above all it must be tasty, delicious, something special and different. (I can see why with this philosophy Luke is an award winning chef)