The Weekender Interview: Shaun Rankin

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Shaun Rankin chef interview
Born in County Durham but raised in Yorkshire, Shaun Rankin has an eclectic CV that includes Charlie Trotter’s famed Chicago restaurant. He made his name as a chef in Jersey, winning Michelin stars at Bohemia and later Ormer. He now runs an Ormer restaurant in London’s Flemings Mayfair hotel.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
My two boys, Ethan and Harry.

What was your first job?
A newspaper round.

Gordon or Marco?
Don’t mind…

What was the last film you saw in the cinema?
Darkest Hour.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Dry salt and chilli ribs.

Where are you going on your next holiday?
I am going to France with my children.

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)?
I was lucky enough to be part of the Davidoff Chefs Edition this year and I spent some time in the Dominican Republic launching it. Thomas Keller was part of the team. He is really knowledgeable about the industry and an inspiration to me.

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do?
I would have loved to work in marine biology. Everything to do with the sea and sea life fascinates me. There is also so much about it that we don’t know and haven’t explored.

Biggest regret?
Not spending more time with my children.

Pet hate?
This may sound obvious, but I hate dirty kitchens. Before I start cooking, I like to have everything laid out and organised.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
“Will you marry me?” Of course I had to say no, because I was married at the time.

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Love it.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Combination. Flavours. Texture.

What country do you next want to visit?
I’d love to go to Argentina.

Most overrated food?
For me, it all has its place.

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
I would probably ban rude customers from restaurants. We are always trying our very best to deliver a fabulous experience and trying to please a rude customer can be a little disheartening.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I’m lucky not to have had any really bad ones… What has happened is that couples sit down at the table and have already been arguing before we have even had chance to serve them anything. Then, you usually know that one of them will complain about everything. In this case, there is nothing you can do apart from smile.

What made you want to become a chef?
My mother - she was a fabulous baker.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Sunday roast for my children.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t pigeon hole yourself, hospitality is huge. Try it all until you find out what makes you happy.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Decent pans.

iPhone or Android?
Still working it out!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Surround yourself with good people.

What’s your earliest memory?
It would have to be Christmas sitting with the whole family around the table. Even to this day, this is my favourite time of the year. It is all about sharing good food and good wine with your loved ones.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
A good wine bar.

Twitter or Instagram?
Both.

Tipple of choice?
I love a nice bottle of Sancerre.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Kobe beef: I can still have taste memories of the first time I ate when I worked in Chicago.

Related topics: People

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