Flash-grilled: Robin Freeman

By Helen Salter

- Last updated on GMT

Robin Freeman Ekte

Related tags: Sweden, Chefs

The Gothenburg-born Ekte chef on his pet hates in the kitchen and which industry figure he most admires.

What was your first job?
I was a KP at a restaurant in Gothenburg. 

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
I don’t really feel guilty about any of my food pleasures.

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
I’ve had a lot but the most consistently great restaurant I keep going to is Hereford Road in London.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
I'm after a pay rise so I'm going to say my current boss Soren Jessen. Otherwise Fergus Henderson. I think I’m not alone on that one.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do? 
I'd probably work in something music-related, but who knows.

What is your biggest regret?
Ask me again in 20 years. I don’t really know right now, things are pretty good.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Whistling chefs. And chefs checking their WhatsApp.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
A customer recently complained very loudly that we microwave all the food because we have two Rationals in an open kitchen and he thought they were big microwaves. 

Describe your cooking style in three words
Fresh, seasonal and simple.

Most overrated food?
Beef fillet.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Mobile phones in the restaurant. Imagine the anxiety levels when people can’t update their Instagram page every two minutes while they’re eating their dinner.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Reviews where people critique based on their own taste rather than the quality of the food and cooking. 

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
I’ve cooked for a few people who I’ve wanted to meet, but I think Werner Herzog would be a great dinner guest.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Work hard, listen, and work in a quiet few places to pick up techniques and ideas. But most of all be nice.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Knives, you’ve gotta have knives.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Lots of Thai. Also lots of kid-friendly things since I’ve got young children.

What’s your earliest food memory? 
One of my earliest memories was running after headless chickens on my grandfather’s farm. I haven’t needed to seek any counselling for it so it’s alright... 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Less haste, more speed.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
My late teens were all a bit of a blur...

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I don't know, normally in my own front room with some good friends. It saves taxi fares and public embarrassment. 

Tipple of choice?
At the moment, water. In February I'll most likely be reaching for the red wine or perhaps an old fashioned. 

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
My wife’s seabass curry. 

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