12 Chefs Reveal the Dishes that Remind them of their Favourite Destinations

12 Chefs Reveal the Dishes that Remind them of their Favourite Destinations

is food for the soul – it’s a tired cliche, but
nonetheless rings true. As most travel plans probably aren’t
getting off the ground for the foreseeable, we’ve chatted to our
favourite chefs and asked them to share the dishes that they cook
when they want a little culinary escapism. Rifle through your
cupboards, pull things from the back of the fridge and dig deep in
your freezer as we’re bringing a taste of your travels to your
kitchen. Mix yourself a medicinal margarita and wipe down your chef
whites because it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. These are
the plates to leave you full until you’re flying again.

Food for the soul: 12 dishes to remind you of travel, according
to some of our favourite chefs

Tom Brown

Cornerstone, London

‘s seafood hero needed no more than a second to respond
when quizzed about his all-time favourite holiday dish. “I went to
see my brother and his missus in Mexico
and while we were sitting on Zicatela Beach, soaking up as much sun
as two gingers can stand, a guy offered us fresh oysters from a bag
on his back.” Wearing nothing but speedos and a Batman utility
belt, he whipped out an oyster knife, shucked a handful of oysters
and drizzled them with green hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. After
eating just one, Brown knew he had to add it onto the menu at
Cornerstone – this time with a serving of seaweed hot
sauce. Oysters might not be at top of your shopping list, but you
can use this hot-sauce method to spice up any dish. Grab green or
red peppers, chillies, sugar, salt and a little raw garlic and
vinegar, blend them until smooth and drizzle over anything. When
times get hard, homemade hot sauce and tinned tuna will hit the

Brown has started Hospitality Action, an initiative to help
those hardest hit by the coronavirus in the industry. You can
donate here.

Ben Tish

Norma, London

Plunder your pantry and raid your freezer for your last bag of
prawns to rustle up a plate of gambero rosso (red prawns) inspired
by the shores of
. A holiday favourite of Norma
chef Ben Tish, this old-school Italian dish involves no cooking;
simply sprinkle sea salt and any citrus element you have to hand –
orange, lemon, lime – topped with a sprig of rosemary or marjoram.
Don’t be shy, suck the heads out – it’s the norm in

Drool over Ben Tish’s recipes and order a copy of his cookbook.

Matt Bishop

Roast, London

Aside from dishing up pillowy Yorkshire puddings the size of a
small county, Matt Bishop has a penchant for Portuguese-Japanese
fusion dishes thanks to the yearly trips to Japan
he takes with his family. For a quick slice of Portuguese
sunshine, grill sardines (don’t turn your nose up at tinned) and
douse with lemon juice, black pepper and a “throw-everything-in”
potato salad. Push the boat out by adding an authentic Portuguese
mayonnaise from a local deli – Ferreira Delicatessen in Camden is
our pick.

To continue supporting small businesses and restaurants, make a
reservation for Roast.

Andrew Wong

A.Wong, London

We’ve spent plenty of Sundays feasting on chef Andrew Wong’s
decadent display of dim sum, so we weren’t surprised when he
suggested a deliciously avant-garde dish usually served during
Chinese New Year celebrations. Steamed red grouper with Cantonese
egg custard falls firmly into the “do not attempt if you can’t boil
an egg” category and is probably best reserved for
post-self-isolation celebrations – right now we definitely can’t
afford to waste any eggs. Substitute the hard-to-source grouper for
bass and steam the custard and fish separately. Start by mixing up
potato starch, Chinese rice wine and water to brush over the fish –
to stop the fish flaking once cooked – then steam. For the custard,
combine eggs and chicken stock over high heat (85°C degrees should
do the trick) for 15-20 minutes. Serve the steamed fish over the
custard and pour a good quality chicken broth on top.

If this has you sweating in your chef whites (read: apron) leave
it to the pros and sample chef Andrew Wong’s version at restaurant

Nicola Fanetti

Brace, Copenhagen

‘s status as a mecca for fermented fish and
smørrebrød (open sandwiches), it’s the allure of
‘s tropical shores that gets chef Nicola Fanetti
excited. He shared his secret to rustling up simple at-home
ceviche: before marinating the fish it should be put in a brine
solution to ensure it keeps a solid structure. Afterwards, infuse
the raw fish with spices and a dressing of soy sauce, lime, chilli
and toasted sesame oil. The medley of umami flavours will trick
your tastebuds into thinking you’re dining in exotic climes.

Lured by the sustainably sourced wine list, we’re hot-footing to
Brace as soon as we can fly.

Martha Ortiz

Ella Canta, London

Put down the tequila bottle and press pause on drowning your
sorrows since your
holiday plans have been halted. Paying homage to her
hometown and bringing a splash of vibrancy into your
kitchen is Ella Canta’s magician Martha Ortiz with her pain-free
fish tostadas. Simply marinate the fish – perhaps time to defrost
that salmon at the bottom of your freezer – in citrus juices for 20
minutes, add some chillies and spread across the top of the
tostadas. If you can’t get hold of traditional tostadas, then a
toasted tortilla is a worthy substitute. It’s a little inauthentic,
but needs must.

Book in for a margarita masterclass as a
post-isolation pick me up. You’ll need a drink once this is all
over, for sure.

Hélène Darroze

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, London

For two-Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze, nothing beats a
steaming hot bowl of pho – for her, it’s laced with emotion. The
simple shellfish dish reminds her of becoming a mother and adopting
her girls in Hanoi. “It was one of the best periods of my life,”
she says. “I would eat pho every day in the streets.” Now, the dish
appears on the menu at Marsan in Paris
and has become somewhat of a signature. To cook a bowl worthy of a
culinary accolade, throw everything in – noodles, shellfish, herbs
– and watch it simmer to soulful perfection.

Usually, we think that gift vouchers are a bit of a
cop-out but when they’re served with a two-Michelin-starred chef
supper, we’ll make an exception.

Mathew Carver

The Cheese Bar, London

In a nod to the ski trips that have fallen flat, Mathew Carver
(you know, the creator of that epic cheese conveyor belt in Seven
Dials) has masterminded a way to embark on a cheese-filled
pilgrimage to Switzerland without leaving the house. Fire up the
fondue machine you got for Christmas two years ago, melt everything
and anything you have to hand and prep some salami, bread (slightly
stale is fine) and sticks of veg. After experimenting with cheese
from every part of the continent, Mathew Carver has concluded that
you can use pretty much any combination of stuff. Music to our

Call on the Cheese Bar fleet of Cheese Trucks to deliver your
own “Self-Isolation Survival Kit“.

Richard Bainbridge

Benedicts, Norwich

We’re getting a bit boozy on this one. Not content with serving
you a run-of-the-Brittany-mill of mussels, chef Richard Bainbridge
suggests lacing your bowl of mussels with alcohol – a culinary
trick we can definitely get on board with. If you’ve missed out on
a holiday to Greece, use Ouzo for an aniseed finish. Want to raise
a glass to the West Country? Pour a Suffolk cider over them.
Hankering for a chance to salsa through the streets of
, then use rum. Make sure to sprinkle flour over the
mussels the day before and cover them in water. The mussels absorb
the flour and when they breathe it out, it’ll take the grit and
impurities with it. Ready meals have been given a refined

Order one from Benedicts if you’re not able to
dine in the restaurant.

Alistair Craig

Cambium Restaurant, New Forest

Provided you manage to snag that last bag of pasta on the shelf,
this puttanesca recipe will elevate your bog-standard spaghetti and
give you good reason to use those tinned goods that have been
hiding at the back of your cupboards. Using the same ingredient
combinations as those he tried and tested in Naples, Craig
chucks a tin of tomatoes, Kalamata olives, anchovies, capers and
garlic cloves into a pan to simmer. After boiling the spaghetti,
throw it all together and let it simmer for a few minutes longer.
The one-pot dish will soothe any nostalgic feelings you have for
those halted holidays.

Sleepover at Careys Manor to feast on the New
Forest’s bountiful larder.

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