THE ROTA ARCHIVE

ANDREW CLARKE - THE CHEF

"I WISH I COULD MIX A DRINK AS WELL I CAN DRINK THEM" 

Follow him on Twitter & Instagram @fleurdelysLDN

1. What was your first job in hospitality? 

A small pizza restaurant in Kent, I was picking garlic bread off a floor and putting it on a plate. Nah kidding, I was rolling out pizza bases.

2. What is your favourite type of cuisine to eat – preferably not the one you work with?  

Mmmm, its terribly difficult, I guess I tend to lean towards the food I tend not to cook myself or have much frame of reference for.  So I love eating Indian and Turkish food.  They would probably be my favourite.  Silk road region. 

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

 Umm…..what dish, hmm….black pudding sandwiches?  What kind of kid would eat that? (laughing)

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

Yeah I was kind of a weird kid, it kind of took me a long time to love.  (laughing) I don’t want to make it an awkward answer, but music was my first love.  I don't really think there was a girl that I really thought about that I thought of music to. 

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

Usually a bath. I think that’s where I can unwind and I can relax.  As much as I like partying and having a drink, its not always relaxing ya know?  A bath will do it. 

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have?

Two Double espressos.

7. What is your favourite word?

Amalgamate

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where would you choose to do so?  

Lyon – me and a few chefs have tried to organise it a few times and we haven’t, so I think that has got to be top of the list. 

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Coursed out. Well, let me go back, I think it should be a little bit of both, just enough that you can get enough stuff out with the right level of intensity. 

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?  

Yeah I guess I wish....I wish I could mix a drink as well as I can drink them (laughing)

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

(Laughing) I don’t know if there is, but I would always carry around an emergency (reaches into jacket pocket) Alka Seltzer, but I’m not necessarily sure they work anymore.  I am getting too old for cures. 

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Tequila.

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Eat chicken wings with a knife and fork.

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

Um I don’t want to say that I’m uh, what is it OCD? But I think I have to work completely clean and things have to be in a certain order all the time. 

15. What’s the last film you saw?

I was watching a documentary on Aileen Wournos, the serial killer. 

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant?

It kind of seems quite shameful to say, but I cant remember so many good experiences. I am always really grateful for when people discount a meal or don’t charge me at all, I always remember when people do that.  Being in the industry we get perks, and I’m very very grateful. They look after you, more than what they should. But I guess nice touches, simple things like that. 

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

I don’t think I have one.  Hang on, wait, there is one, how can I package this.  I think it comes back to the fact that I try where possible not to complain, because there is always someone who is worse off, so 'shut the fuck up and live your life.'

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

I do. I don’t necessarily agree with what I do.  When appropriate. I think its important because as a chef its great reference and sometimes you want to show off via Instagram where you are and what you’re eating.  But to be honest there is something kind of tacky and I don’t know the word, something a little um, contrived. 

19. Rank the following in order of priority; wine, food, sex

Food, sex, wine - NO! sex, food, wine.  I have sex and I’m amazingly hungry, some people go for a cigarette and I go for a burger. 

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Fish and chips and a glass of sarsaparilla. 

21. What makes you happy?

The same things that make me sad actually; my girlfriend, my friends and my family. 

22. How do you relax?

Light fire to animals – just kidding.  Usually like that (mimics a starfish) sofa, film, girlfriend, cheese board.

23. What is the background on your phone?

An angry girl staring at me.  No, it's my girlfriend a bit angry at me on a rickshaw. 

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow

@ClerkenwellboyEC1
@Thatlookslikeadick
@Mattydeathbro

25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality?

Community. That we have a great community amongst us all.  That we all know each other and we’re never short of conversation. 

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

I’m a bit ashamed I haven’t been down to The Dairy in Clapham, Quality Chop House and Parlour in Kensal Rise. 

27.Who is the person who most influenced you in hospitality?

Probably two, Fergus Henderson and Philip Howard.

28. What is your go to party trick?

I’ve never had a party trick. People are always excited to see me and maybe I am the trick (laughing).

29. Finish this sentence;  I eat everything except …

Spaghetti Bolognese