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Revelations: Zaw Mahesh, head chef, Lahpet, London

24 July 2020

What was your best subject at school?

Science, especially chemistry

What was your first job in catering?

Chef at a Moroccan restaurant in Camden Town. Slicing the doner kebab was the most fun part

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Cereal or porridge with milk, or sometimes noodles like a typical Burmese

Which is your favourite restaurant?

Beam in Crouch End. It's a family-style restaurant with brick-lined walls and vintage decor. The menu is a mixture of classic British and Mediterranean

What's your favourite hotel?

Myanmar Treasure Resort in Ngwe Saung Bean in Myanmar

What is your favourite food?

Growing up I was always a fan of stuffed/wrapped/dumpling style food – a mix of textures with something delicious inside. And I'm a huge fan of Turkish food

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Cinnamon, but I still like to cook with garam masala

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?

MSG. It doesn't feel right using it to make food more delicious

What flavour combinations do you detest?

Cashew nuts and garlic

How would you describe your desk?

Complicated

Which person in catering have you most admired?

A lovely manager called Gabrielle I worked with at Daylesford Organic. She was always smiling and friendly and took care of us all

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?

Heston Blumenthal for reinventing kitchen classics

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?

Ferrero Rocher

If not yourself, who would you rather have been?

A farmer with multiple pets and loads of DIY tools in the garage

Tell us a secret...

I had chocolates and cake a few times in my two years of vegan practice

What is your favourite prepared product?

Strong English mustard

Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade?

Salt Bae from Nusr-ET on salads as he is good with garnishes, Jamie Oliver on pasta and Marco Pierre White on the pass

Salt Bae
Salt Bae

Portrait: Katherine Werner. Stock images: Shutterstock

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

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