Chef revelations – Allan Pickett

24 February 2012
Chef revelations – Allan Pickett

What was your first job? I worked at a fruit and veg shop on a Saturday morning

What do you have for breakfast? Normally a cup of tea and some cereal. It's prime time with the kids.

Which is your favourite restaurant? I haven't been for a few years but my memories of restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris will be with me forever

What's your favourite hotel? The Olde Bell in Hurley, Berkshire. Warren Geraghty is the chef there. He is doing some amazing things. The next Le Manoir in my mind.

What is your favourite food/cuisine? French cuisine like the Galvins cook at the Bistrot

Which ingredient do you hate the most? Cooked cauliflower makes me gag

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Chris Galvin. I think he's got me every decent job I've ever had.

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take? If I say anything other than my wife I will get shot, so Mrs P

What daily newspaper/website do you read?The Metro, especially on a Wednesday for the restaurant reviews

Describe your ultimate nightmare? Getting home early and discovering that the wife has cooked cauliflower cheese for dinner

Tell us a secret… I worked at Buckingham Palace several times and actually managed to serve peaches to Princess Diana

When and where was your last holiday? I took the family on a little culinary tour of the South-west. We stayed over in Torquay and were lucky enough to be able to have dinner in the Room at the Elephant with Simon Hulstone, then on to see Tom Rains at Montpelier Chapter, Cheltenham, where Simon Hopkinson is the consultant chef.

When did you last eat a hamburger? Oh Christ, this morning, we were doing some taste tests

What's your favourite film?Shawshank Redemption

What's your favourite book? Too many to mention but any of Stephen King's older works will do

Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade? I would recreate the Orrery kitchen pre-2000. Chris and Jeff Galvin. the pass, Warren Geraghty, sauce, James Wilkins (the Birdman), sauce garnish (soon to open his own restaurant in the South-west), me on fish, Phil Thompson on garnish section (Auberge du Lac, Hertfordshire), Chris Eden on garnish (Driftwood Hotel), Geoffrey Smeddle on larder section (the Peat Inn, Fife), Andre Garrett on larder section (Galvin at Windows), Tobias Stuart, pastry section (Roux at Parliament Square), Ralph Jones on pastry section, Fabrice Troudart (now at John Lewis) and Alistair Clayton (Galvin at Windows) in the Orrery Epicerie.

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