Coffee for me is a ritual which celebrates the beginning of the day, not to mention pre and post lunch and, of course, a few before bedtime! In the past when I had gruelling 18-hour shifts in the kitchen I would drink up to 20 espressos a day! Alas, with age, just two after lunch is perfect.
This bread is slow proven and the fermenting yeast gives it its flavour and texture, providing a slightly sour taste. There is often rye flour added to it as well. For me, it’s the Rolls-Royce of all breads.
From Burgundy, of course. Although I will drink it from New Zealand and elsewhere, I still find my local Burgindian Pinot Noir to have the most fruit and to be the most delectable wine on earth. Of course, I am not biased!
Tarte aux Pommes Maman Blanc
This tart connects so deeply with my childhood and it is quite frankly delicious. It is so simple it can be made by anyone. See the recipe in my latest book Kitchen Secrets and you will love my Maman Blanc forever!
My Kenwood Chef Sense
Not only is it the next generation of kitchen machinery, but it will last you a lifetime. It is my trusty companion and I love it as you would love your Ferrari or Porsche. It makes the best soufflés, using the whisk to add maximum volume to your mixture. I use it to make so many things, but one of my favourites is my Comté cheese soufflé – a taste of my home.
White Sliced Bread
I know half of Great Britain will hate me for saying it, but I still don’t understand why this bread is on supermarket shelves. It has no flavour and the flour has been bleached until it has no real nutritional value. And how does it not grow mould with a shelf life lasting weeks?
Badly Poached Eggs
I’m a three minute poached egg man. I like the white to be barely coagulated and the yolk runny but hot – then the world is perfect! I must confess that I recently received an award from the Considerate Hoteliers Association – The Good Egg Award – so I know my eggs!
In the kitchen, your equipment is your partner – it must be the best. To use a blunt knife can be one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve known. If you use a mixer where the whisk doesn’t reach the bottom of the bowl your egg whites will be grainy on the outside. Then you will blame me as you will have used my recipe!
Berries in Winter
Seasonality is at the heart of my values because it makes sense – better flavour, nutrition, taste and texture. To import food from thousands of miles away means its less fresh and the nutrients have disappeared.
When you spend most of your time with the waiter who explains every micro detail of what is on your plate instead of spending it with friends and loved ones around the table, something is wrong. At Le Manoir the waiter will introduce each course, but the guest decides if they would like to know more. Choice is a luxury these days.
Being tucked up in front of the TV watching Arsenal with a tub of ice cream, or ten minutes in my office enjoying a beautiful breakfast while reading the sports pages. Parfait!