We came up with ten questions for Tim Hughes, the Chef Director of Caprice Holdings, the Birley Group and Urban Caprice. Be it in award-winning restaurants, or at home with his wife and three children, Tim insists on using seasonal, simple and well-sourced food…
What’s your favourite dish to prepare?
One of my favourite dishes to prepare on my Britannia is a good roast, be it a roast duck or chicken, using the rotisserie feature. I take a whole organic, free range chicken, rub it with olive oil, sea salt, butter and chopped fresh herbs, put a bulb of garlic inside and a little bit of bread which soaks up the juice and stops the garlic from falling out and roast. The chicken skin goes perfectly crisp and with all the juices collecting in the tray it makes a perfect gravy. The kids love it.
Name your favourite dish to cook in a hurry?
If I ever cook in a hurry it’s usually for breakfast, which may be a good quality bacon sandwich. Or if I’ve been down to the coast and I’m cooking in a hurry, I’ll cook some nice fresh scallops which only take a couple of minutes.
What’s your all-time favourite recipe?
I don’t really have an all-time favourite recipe, I’m always looking for new ideas. My favourite food to cook with however would be fish because I like its simplicity. It’s quick to cook and you don’t need to mask the flavours with thick sauces.
Who inspired you to cook?
My mum, because she was such a terrible cook so I thought if I wanted to eat good food I had to learn how to do it myself… After that it would have to be my first Head Chef, where I did my apprenticeship in Worthing. He was a Swiss chef from the Escoffier school of cooking and he was a great mentor to me.
What’s your ‘secret ingredient’?
Good quality fresh produce.
What’s your favourite cuisine to cook?
Be it Italian, French or Thai, it would be impossible to name a favourite. All the different styles of cooking open you up to new techniques and experiences.
As a chef – what do you find important for your home cooker?
Well, the flexibility of the Britannia is great for me at home. You can grill, roast and bake and with the Chef Top you can prepare all kinds of dishes ‘a la plancha’.
Do you find cooking at home relaxing compared to the stress of a restaurant kitchen?
Yes definitely, you have more time, you can cook with the kids, have music on and have a drink while you’re cooking.
What would you prepare for a dinner with friends?
I like to do big spreads, sharing dishes, big bowls of salad, grilled vegetables, plates of sea food or if it’s a main course a big roast. I like doing big meals for 10-12 people where you sit down and share, rather than doing individual plates. You want to enjoy the company of your friends rather than be constantly in and out of the kitchen – like an old style banquet.
What is your favourite cook book? Why?
I don’t really have a favourite cook book, I like all cook books. I like the Escoffier cook book, it’s like a cookery bible (although it’s not really a lesson in practical cooking). Other cook books I enjoy are Jane Grigson and Simon Hopkinson’s books to name a few. I like books that make cooking accessible to the masses. Restaurant books tend to be more table top books (even though they are very good).
To view practical examples of cooking with the Chef Top or rotisserie, click on the video links below:
The Chef Top (02:19)
The Rotisserie (02:18)
What is your favourite cookbook? Please comment below...