The Weekender Interview: Theo Randall

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Theo Randall chef Intercontinental Hotel
Theo Randall is chef patron of his eponymous restaurant at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Randall’s glowing CV includes a spell with legendary US chef Alice Waters and 17 years at The River Café. He has just opened his first oversees restaurant, in Hong Kong.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper? 
My wife and children in a lovely shot taken 12 years ago. 

What was your first job? 
Washing dishes at Starrs Bistro (RIP). 

Gordon or Marco?
Gordon because he has been very supportive towards me. 

What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
I, Daniel Blake. 

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Tunnocks teacakes.

Where are you going on your next holiday?
Italy - where else? 

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
Roy Ackerman- he had a very positive attitude and managed to be charming and respectful to everyone he met. 

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do?  
My daughter asked me this question the other day and I said I have always been interested in advertising and love coming up with wild and wacky ideas for selling and marketing things. 

Biggest regret?
Not buying three bottles of 1985 Sassicaia from an Italian Deli in Wimbledon for £37.50 per bottle some 20 years ago. 

Pet hate?
Menus with finger prints.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
"Please can you cook my carpaccio?"

Marmite: love it or hate it?

Describe your cooking style in three words
Simple. Seasonal. Delicious.

What country do you next want to visit?

Most overrated food? 
Truffle cheese, because it invariably has truffle oil added to it, which is totally artificial...

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
That everything prepared in the kitchen gets eaten, no waste...

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
A shocker by AA Gill. Took me years to get over it, in fact I still think about it...

What made you want to become a chef?
I loved cooking as a kid and my parents taught me about good food from a very young age

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I love making a curry. I have a friend that sends me amazing spices from India.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Always listen and be polite. Trust your instinct and stick at it.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without? 
My pestle and mortar. We have four different types in the kitchen at Theo Randall at the InterContinental.

iPhone or Android? 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Do what you are good at.

What’s your earliest memory?
Eating chocolate. Apparently it was my first word.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Momo, the food is delicious and then there is dancing downstairs. I love it. 

Twitter or Instagram? 

Tipple of choice?
Red wine

What would you choose to eat for your last meal? 
Poached Scottish Langoustine, tagliarini with white truffles; roasted Scottish grouse on bruschetta with fresh porcini; gorgonzola naturale with a cox’s orange pipin and a thin slice of my mother’s bread toasted; and finally a big bowl of ice cold cherries. I'd eat outside somewhere nice and spit out the stones Desperate Dan style.

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