Episode 59: Theo Randall: Chef and Restauranteur

My guest today is Theo Randall.

It’s safe to say that Theo is one of the nations most beloved chefs.

Inspired by the food of his childhood trips to Italy, Theo has developed a life-long passion for Italian food. He spent 17 years at The River Café and was head chef when they won their Michelin star. 

In 2006 he left to set up his own eponymous restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel in London to great critical acclaim.

An interview online states: “In a world full of swagger, quick tempers and massive egos, Chef Theo Randall, is a breath of fresh air.”

We recorded today’s episode in the hustle and bustle of Theo’s restaurant at the Intercontinental in London where they were preparing for a busy days service.  Theo is a legend in the food world and I think there’s always a slight assumption that seriously successful people might not be that nice – but if that is how the theory goes Theo completely proved that wrong.

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Theo’s Desert Island Dishes

1.    Beef stew slow cooked for 4 hours with a baked potato with bay leaf cooked in the bottom of the oven on a bed of sea salt

2.    Peppermint cream at school / toasted sandwich. His mother’s Coming Home From School Cake. A Dundee Cake.

3.    In a restaurant called Marc Meneau: Atlantic Turbot cooked on lobster shells served with steamed turnips with a lobster butter sauce made with the lobster coral

4.    French baguette or sourdough with lots of unsalted butter with thick sliced ham and Colman’s mustard and some sliced gherkins

5.    Rigatoni with prawns (frozen and then chopped) with datterinni tomatoes and zucchini. Olive oil, fry one slice of garlic with the tomatoes – melt, not fry. Then add the zucchini to the pasta just before it’s done, and add the prawns to the tomato and then add lots of parsley and lots more olive oil and a bit of the pasta water. You get pockets of flavour.

6.    In spring – Slow cooked shoulder of lamb with anchovies, olives and rosemary with artichokes, peas and broadbeans. In the Summer – cook a whole fish in salt. Or he might grill a large pice of beef and serve with salsa verde with lots of salads. He would probably also have a pasta course and would serve antipasti on the table.

7.    Starter: steamed Scottish langoustine with the best Tuscan olive oil or cappezana

Pasta Course:  tagliarini butter and white truffles 

Main Course:Rare roasted Scottish Grouse on semolina based bread with panfried porcini with garlic and parsley with a bowl of watercress 

Pudding: Gorgonzola naturale with Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple from his parents orchard and a slice of his mother’s homemade bread 

Big bowl of ice cold cherries 

Theo’s favourite cookbook: Venus in the Kitchen by Norman Douglas – the man that inspired Elizabeth David to learn to cook. 


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