When future generations look back at lockdown, they will be able to differentiate its different stages by what we were cooking. Sourdough bread gave way to banana bread before TikTok coffee suddenly took off. But what about the professionals? We asked four of the top cooks in the land about the dishes that have sustained them over the last 12 months.
One of my favourite lockdown recipes was buttermilk chicken with chipotle mayonnaise. It’s a signature at The Mariners Public House and my daughter, Ci Ci, absolutely loves it. It’s my version of the chicken-in-a-basket dinners I loved growing up in the 90s. The crushed cornflakes thrown into the batter creates an amazing crunch and texture!
My poor old Le Creuset Casserole dish got quite the battering this year. I’ve had it for years and it’s the best bit of kitchen kit. It’s incredibly versatile – you can use it for slow-cooking, frying, searing, anything really. We had lots of produce from my estate in Ireland, Virginia Park Lodge, so I have been making lots of stews, soups and stocks to keep me busy.
There’s a simple recipe and ingredient I go to time and time again: ox cheeks. It’s such a beautiful and underrated cut of meat. I cook them low and slow in the oven all day in beef stock and can of Guinness. I let this bubble away so the sauce reduces and thickens and then I make some dumplings to go in the sauce, and it’s done. I source the ox cheeks from an amazing butcher, Ryan Atkinson from R&J Yorkshire’s Finest Butchers. The great thing is, they now deliver the meat I serve in my restaurants all across the UK – Michelin-starred meat straight to your door.’
Asimakis Chaniotis, head chef at Pied a Terre.
I’m originally from Greece and I spent a lot of lockdown back in my home country where I cooked a lot with seafood, including one of my favourite recipes, blue fin tuna ceviche. We have such an array of beautiful and quality seafood in my country that I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting and creating various dishes using different methods including ceviche, tartare, cured and cooked fish.