We delve into the life and inner thoughts of a top chef. This week: David Lagonell, chef director of Temper in Shoreditch, London
What was your best subject at school?
Geography and history
What was your first job?
Collecting pint glasses and emptying ashtrays in a pub in Wimbledon. I was also their self-appointed bouncer because it made the evening go faster
What was your first job in catering?
Kitchen porter as a 19 year old. I absolutely hated it, but I used to do extra shifts for free just so I could learn whatever it took to move up the ranks
What do you do to relax?
I leave London, works every single time
Which is your favourite restaurant?
Ah! That's an easy one, I love Casse Croûte and Pique-Nique, both in Bermondsey, both unassuming restaurants with great service and even better food. They run a small 3/3/3 menu that changes every day of the week
What's your favourite hotel?
Castle of Trematon by House of Hackney in Cornwall and the Pig Hotels, especially the one in Bridge, Canterbury, as it's the perfect escape from the city
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
I like simple food done well. I'd lie if I said I had a favourite one – that wouldn't be fair to all the other cuisines
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? If so, why?
Fenugreek because it's too bitter, and okra because I can't stand the texture
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Anything that's over-complicated to the point of imbalance
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
If by inspiration you mean motivation then it has got to be Stuart Gillies, my head chef at Boxwood back in 2003. Tough love that was. Oh yes, I was very inspired
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Nigel, the house dog. What a life
When and where was your last holiday?
My honeymoon in Scotland, shooting and off-roading, fun times
If you had more time, what would you do?
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