Culture Whisper Interview: 'It'-Chef Skye Gyngell
We caught up with Skye Gyngell in Soho to ask her about her favourite new spots, and what makes a good cook.
We caught up with the Australian-born chef to discuss her influences, and her favourite London haunts.
Which chefs are you most excited about in London at the moment?
I think James Lowe is really interesting, and doing wonderful things. Lyalls is a great restaurant. But there's so much going on isn't there? I'm desperate to go to BAO, on Lexington Street. Their buns look incredible.
They are! Where are your local favourites?
I live off the Uxbridge Road, and I think the brilliant thing about the Shepherd's Bush area is that it's full of the most incredible Middle-Eastern shops. They've got Nutcase, which is an incredible nut shop. And in Shepherd's Bush itself, there's a really beautiful Persian restaurant where I tend to eat on the Askew Road.
It's called Adam's Café, and it's kind of an English working man's caff, but at night they cook Moroccan food, which is really great. There's also a pub there called The Anglesey: it's just a really great, neighbourhood pub.
Yeah, so, there's nothing... glamorous in Shepherd's Bush but there are lots of little delicious things along the way. I also love Damas Gate. If you go there at the right time of day, all the falafels have just been cooked and are steaming hot. And they do delicious little feta cheese rolls in the finest filo pastry. You can get five for a pound!
Grilled poussins with lemon, marjoram, flatbread and garlicky yoghurt
Is there a particular cuisine that has influenced your food recently?
Tommi (Thomasina Miers) said to me that you can be influenced by anything, wherever you go. Sometimes it's even just a colour or something. But I have just come back from this biodynamic farm, that was the most influential thing to me, because you see everything growing, it's really inspiring. That's definitely influenced me for the rest of this year, because we're now working with them, so it will affect everything we put on the plate at Spring.
But I get excited. I think everything influences you a little bit: I went to San Francisco last week and found that hugely influential. And I love what they're doing in Copenhagen. I'm desperate to go to Japan, I think that's a really exciting place at the moment for food.
Do you source most of your food from the UK?
We actually source from all over Europe, so we take all of our olive oils, and some beautiful cheeses and especially winter vegetables from Italy. But at this time of year, all our vegetables and fruit will be from England, because it's so abundant. It's quite difficult in the winter, because it's just a carrot, or some king cabbage. It's really hard in the winter.
Skye Gyngell Dessert: Walnut and orange blossom honey ice cream
You've said that the kitchen is the one place where 'you can't hide from who you are.' What aspects of your personality do you see reflected in the food that you make? And what makes a 'good' chef?
I think you need a kind of energy. And to work quite well under pressure, to enjoy pressure. I actually quite enjoy stress, I mean, I'll tell you I don't, but I keep going back to it time and time again. So I think I must.
In terms of the food, I think it's important to bring a sense of joy and pleasure on to the plate. I mean, the good side of me is on a plate of food, as opposed to the...not so good side of me.
Skye Gyngell's latest cook book, Spring, is out now.