What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
I’m not really sure it was probably between the age of five watching Julia Child’s cooking on TV watching her start with ingredients and converting it into something that looked quite edible!There was also Graham Kerr known as the galloping gourmet.
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at House of Ho, compared to your other restaurants?
My restaurants have all been the same with respect to what Itry to deliver. Where the total is greater than the sum of the parts, it’s not just about the food, but the overall experience, the ambience, the service, where it all works in harmony, resulting in unmitigated fun. I believe that’s what we offer.
What chef would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
Both my grandmothers, but they were not chefs! Do they count? They both brought me up allowing me to believe that anything and everything was possible.
How has your somewhat diverse background affected your cuisine?
I am generally very open attitude towards the idea that everything is achievable as long as it is natural and unforced. I do not create dishes for the sake of constantly creating, but with the need to create, where one does not deviate too far from an original where is unique yet familiar.
Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…
Initially, because I worked in fine dining restaurants I considered my food much more egotistical and macho in technique and presentation. Once I started running my own business and learned that I needed to manage to create consistency as well as a cuisine that was somewhat creative, I stumbled upon making a lot of the dishes much easier to make. I would suggest that the food that we do is simple, honest and tasty.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
Cooking vegan Indian food for Bill Clinton where it actually looked and tasted really good. I was using Paco Jet and I needed to order Indian food from the Indian restaurants to make sure I had the flavours right, and I created a very light clean flavor Indian cuisine that I was very proud of.I had to invite my vegan friends to make sure it was not me imagining I had created something rather memorable. That night before leaving he stood and chatted with me for about 15 minutes when he was already late for a conference call.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
What’s been your most embarrassing kitchen moment?
Probably serving A major delegation from the states government gasoline in the gazpacho. I do not think I can top that nor do I wish to! More details by the book!
57-59 Old Compton Street
London W1D 6HP