Revelations: Andy Lambert, head chef, Bistro Union, London
We delve into the life and inner thoughts of a top chef. This week: Andy Lambert, head chef at Bistro Union
What was your first job?
I was a paperboy when I was 14. I was lucky enough to get my own street
What was your first job in catering?
I was working as a barman and waiter at a bar in the West End of Glasgow called Brel. I was asked to cover for a kitchen porter who hadn't turned up for work and I jumped at the chance. I revelled at getting to work with the chefs in the kitchen and loved it. It was a Belgian restaurant where the focus was on mussels and chips, so I had to de-barnacle about 20kg mussels at a time and shredded my hands
What do you do to relax?
Build Lego or watch Star Wars. Or build Star Wars Lego
Which is your favourite restaurant?
Too many! I moved to London in 2015 and I still feel like I live in a Mecca for eating out. Sabor, Brat, St John, Pique Nique, Hawksmoor, Berenjak, Padella… I could go on
What's your favourite hotel?
The Pig in Brockenhurst. My wife and I have stayed a few times and it feels like coming home every time we go. The service is always on point: the right balance of casual professionalism and luxury. We always leave well fed and very relaxed
What is your favourite drink?
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
I'm not sure I hate any ingredients really. Hate's such a strong word. There are trends I get tired of, like avocados and poached eggs, but they have their day then they disappear from the zeitgeist and then they'll come back in 15 years as ‘retro' food. Maybe if we just move things along sooner we won't get the chance to hate them?
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? Ethics in food is always such a powder keg subject these days. I'm pretty passionate about seasonality and sustainability, so I'd tend not to use ingredients that contravene that. Guests are so better educated about food and the supply chain these days that if it's unethical people won't enjoy it
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Lamb and shop-bought mint sauce. I've never got my head around it. Lamb and anchovy though? Now we're talking!