Celebrity chef talks food, feet fighting Gary Rhodes
Tell us the truth: is it a hassle having to fly around the world, visiting your restaurants and doing these interviews? It’s a happy problem. It’s all about time management. This time last week I was in Costa Rica diving with bull sharks. Now I’ve got a grip on my diary, I’m actually doing less and doing what I have left to do better.
How about Dubai? Do you still enjoy coming here? Dubai means a huge amount to me. Verre is 10 years old next year – it didn’t just become a hit for six months and then fall on its a***. It is a very busy place these days, completely different to what it was nine years ago.
In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Marco Pierre White said he could beat you in a fist fight. Bulls***.
Describe Gary Rhodes in three words. Spiky… gel… and, um, the Spiky… gel… and, um, the Nigel Kennedy of cooking; a great advocate of British food. He’s a sweetheart, but he’s obsessed with his body, he does 270 sit ups every morning. I’m 43 years old; I don’t need to do that. I had that at 25 when I met my wife, I don’t need it now at 43.
Could you beat him in a fight? Hands down. With one arm.
Describe yourself in three words. Passionate. Dangerous. Excited.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’ve never had a tailored suit. There’s something pompous about having a tailor-made suit, it sounds ridiculous coming from someone who grew up in a council house in Stratford upon Avon. Anyway, [the only thing I’d change is] the size of my feet – they’re 15 and a half, so I can never buy shoes.
Size 15-and-a-half shoes? Huge.
Wow. Good to know. What was the last meal you cooked yourself? I got back from Costa Rica last Saturday and [Ramsay’s wife] Tana had gone to LA for a photo shoot with the children, and all that was left in my fridge was two eggs, streaky bacon, a few Cumberland sausages and a couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche. I made a sausage and streaky bacon carbonara.
Tasty. So, imagine you’re on death row for being mean to someone on TV. What’s your last meal going to be and who’s going to cook it? My last meal would be a surprise. I’ve spent my life cooking for other people, so I’d like someone to cook for me. I’d want the meal to be a secret.
Any preference who cooks it? No. I mean, maybe Nigella Lawson. She can do the dessert. Have you seen her lately? For 50 years of age, trust me, she is looking hot.
Why did you have Giles Coren on your TV show, The F Word? He’s not much of an opponent. Because Giles will do anything for a fee.
Most annoying question you’re asked in interviews? Whether I hate vegetarians.