I follow one of the most amazing food photographers via his blog Camerahols and I would highly recommend that you pop on over to Roger Stowell to gaze upon his stunning photos, as well as read his musings.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
The most influential person in my life would be Jenny, my wife, friend, lover and mother of our children. As far as food is concerned, the most influential living person in cooking would be Caroline Conran, and the most influential deceased person would be Elizabeth David. We could go on through the people who have influenced my reading, writing, photography, painting and all the other things that I love but it would take too long and I’d still forget some of their names. I have been very lucky in having extraordinary mentors like Terence Conran, Clive Arrowsmith, Terence Donovan, David Hillman to name but a few.
What started you on the path of cooking?
As a young photographer in the 70’s, I worked with Caroline Conran on the celebrated “Nova” magazine in London. Through her I met her husband Terence Conran. Between the two of them they educated me to appreciate and understand the wonders of food, wine, cooking and eating. As my youth had been spent at boarding school, from 7yrs old to 18, I treated food purely as fuel so this was an epiphany.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Olive oil, fresh herbs and all the onion family.
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
A wonderful tiny Swiss knife sharpener, a magic whisk and my wine waiter’s friend.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
People asking me if they can help.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
My 50th birthday dinner at Bonzo’s Café in Hampton Wick. This was a workman’s café by day that was transformed at night into a perfect French restaurant that was run the famous Renzland twins, Mark and Max. Sadly Mark is now dead. The two of them produced the best cuisine bourgeoise that I have eaten, even in France. I can’t remember the entrée, but we had a choice of the finest marbled Charolais beef or poulet de Bresse en deuil as the plat. They only ever served one cheese which would, without fail, be a fine example of a ripe seasonal French one. This was followed by the simplest and thinnest tarte a la crème, the like of which I have never eaten since. They had no drinks licence so we brought our own. As I collected wine on a major scale at that time in my life I think we drink some very fine wines.
Which restaurant would you visit over and over again?
Any restaurant run by Fergus Henderson (he of the St John)
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Elizabeth David’s “French Provincial Cooking”.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
I would always choose a cook over a chef, and would choose Nigel Slater.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I have never been hungry enough to answer this question truthfully, but I would like to think that I avoid produce that has clearly not been cared for in its rearing or cultivation.
What is on top of your bucket list?
Staying alive and enjoying each day.
What is your food philosophy?
As I am lucky enough not to be hungry I have the utmost respect for the food that I prepare, cook and eat.
Any parting words for the readers?
I’d love to advise you never to eat at ……………….. but it would only lead to litigation!
Thank you Roger for sharing a part of you with my readers.