Robin Gill, head chef of The Dairy in London talks to F&W about his influences, ingredients obsessions and offers a top tip for home cooks
What’s your earliest food memory?
Trying to warm up a can of minestrone soup in a kettle.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned on your career path?
Teamwork. It’s all about the team and the people in the business you work with. Working together as a team is the single most important thing.
What is the best thing you ever cooked?
I love big cooking, so whole animals in big pieces. I once cooked a whole turbot on the bone and a load of scallops in the shell over a BBQ for some friends and, although it might have been a bit of a fl uke, they all came out beautifully. I was stoked!
What is your pet peeve in the kitchen?
Mess. I hate mess. It makes me freak out. And dishonesty sends me over the edge. Apart from that, I’m pretty chilled out.
Which kitchen tool could you not live without?
Fire. Our BBQ green egg and robata is pretty important.
What is your current ingredient obsession?
Kimchi and all types of preserves. We have become obsessed with a lot of longterm preserves and are currently building up a massive stock for a new concept we are developing next door to The Dairy.
Who/what are your biggest influences?
Nuno Mendes (Chiltern Firehouse, London) and Jason Aherton (Pollen Street Social, London). They both seem to tread the line beautifully between business and kitchen, which I admire greatly.
What was your most memorable meal?
The Oak Room in 1999 with Robert Reid behind the stoves. It was my first real experience of threestar Michelin cooking, shared with my dad and best friend.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cheese and chilli fries at Meatliquor restaurant.
Dream dinner party guest?
What are your favourite eateries at home and abroad?
Favourite spots in London are Barrafina, Bao, Meatliquor. A quality chop house abroad is Extabarri and all the incredible pinchos bars of San Sebastián. And in Dublin, I love Forest Avenue, Paulie’s Pizza and Coppinger Row.
What/who inspires you?
The wonderful team around me inspire me, and the amazing produce from our hard working suppliers – they are our heroes, no bullsh*t.
Let us in on your top foodie tip…
One tip for cooking at home is to always allow what you’re cooking to come to room temperature before cooking it. Gradual and gentle cooking, in most cases, results in a more even and more enjoyable meal.
Click here for more foodie tips from top chefs