Chef revelations: Merlin Labron-Johnson

13 May 2016
Chef revelations: Merlin Labron-Johnson

The head chef of Portland restaurant in London reveals his likes and dislikes

What was your first job?

Assistant at Ashburton Cookery School

What do you normally have for breakfast?

A coffee and, if I have time, a fruit or vegetable juice smoothie

What do you do to relax?

I like to spend time with my friends, visit other restaurants and get out of London for a day or two

Which is your favourite restaurant?

A place called Jef in Ghent, Belgium

What is your favourite drink?

Barrel-aged Negroni

What is your favourite cuisine?


Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Sea urchin

What flavour combinations do you detest?

I once had a sea urchin and coffee sabayon. It didn't work for me

What do you always carry with you?

Mobile phone and a Sharpie

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Rose Greene, former sous chef at In De Wulf, Belgium

What daily newspaper/website do you read?

The Guardian

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?

Travelling the world

Describe your ultimate nightmare

Being trapped for a long time in a very small space

When and where was your last holiday?

I went on a quick trip to Paris last bank holiday weekend

When did you last eat a hamburger?

Monday at Bar Boulud

What's your favourite film?

Withnail and I

What's your favourite book?

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

What is your favourite prepared product?

Oven-ready puddings

If you had more time, what would you do?

I'd love to learn to speak more foreign languages

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