Chef Watch – Christopher Trotter, Fife’s Food Ambassador
Featuring Christopher Trotter, Fife's Food Ambassador
How long have you been a chef?
More years than I care to remember! My hotel management training began at the Savoy in London in 1977. The one year I was meant to spend in the kitchens turned into three. It was the most amazing experience.
Why did you become a chef?
Who knows? Love of food I suppose. My mum was a good cook and also a good gardener. Fresh food flowed through the kitchen at home and when I look back on my childhood memories food plays a very large role.
Difficult one. Probably fish - living as I do in the East Neuk of Fife we have an abundance, but I also love fresh herbs and thanks to a green fingered wife we always have plenty. Otherwise it’s simply whatever is in season at the time.
Favourite or signature dish
I suppose my go to is scallops with leek and ginger, based on an experience in a Soho Chinese restaurant with crab, spring onion and ginger.
Favourite kitchen tool or equipment (apart from sharp knives)
Wait for it ...... kitchen paper, you can’t do without it!
Jacques Eza my premier sous chef at the Savoy, Anthony Bourdain whose suicide shocked me to the core. His book Kitchen Confidential has inspired me to write about my Savoy experiences (watch this space).
Also Roger Vergé, Michel Guérard and Rowley Leigh.
Any food you can’t/won’t eat
Comfort food/guilty secret
Stupidest customer or kitchen experience
Let's leave the customers out of this, too many to notate. But at the Savoy we used to initiate new cooks with instructions such as-
“Please take the lobsters for a walk.” I have seen a chef drag a poor lobster through the kitchen tied to bit of string.
“Go to the stores and ask for a long weight.” The storeman duly asked the chef to wait at the door....
Regular readers will be familiar with Christopher and his broad range of best selling books, but may not know about his remarkable career. I asked him to give us some more detail.
Savoy training gave me an amazing grounding in high quality ingredients. Subsequent periods of work in France, Switzerland and running a Michelin starred kitchen in England gave me a wide experience, but it was only returning to my native Scotland did I realise that we have the finest ingredients on our doorstep. My aim since then has been to make people aware that we have the best food in the world. Scotland’s Larder was an attempt at showing that, with simple food based on the seasons and seasonal dinners with such people as Johnnie Noble – Loch Fyne oysters founder, Lady Claire Macdonald - strawberries, Sandy Pattullo – asparagus, and so on. I was asked to be Fife Food Ambassador by Fife Council some time ago as recognition for my work in promoting Fife produce.
In addition to his writing and media work Christopher runs cooking classes and workshops of all sizes and to all specifications. For more information on these and to see his range of books, check his website at www.christophertrotter.co.uk To acquire any of Christopher’s other veg books contact him online at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 07739 049 639.
His latest book just published is Coasts and Waters, The British Seafood Cookbook. Excerpts will appear in Tom's Food! next week
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