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Dish of the Day: The last meal

Dan Doherty

536266 458446704223721 112413823 n 200x300 Dish of the Day: The last mealAs a chef, you often get asked, what’s your perfect meal, or what your last supper would be. I don’t know about you, but that’s a hard question to answer. I often find myself replying with the wonderful Sunday roast, as it is one of life’s finest things. But then, last Sunday, after a full-on week at the restaurant, finishing in the early hours of the morning prompted a 12 hour sleep marathon, meaning I woke up at 2pm, to the smell of ragu cooking away slowly on the stove. An hour later and I was chomping down on papardelle with ragu, freshly grated Parmesan and a pretty decent bottle of Malbec. That got me thinking, I can’t possibly commit to one dish should I ever find myself on death row, so, out of politeness towards the prison cooks, I’ve whittled it down to five.

1. As stated, the Sunday roast is hard to beat. Whether chicken, lamb, beef or pork is your choice of meat, or a bit of each as some pubs serve, I always go a bit Christmassy and serve pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce with chicken. Stuffing is a must, as are roasties, yorkies (with all meats) carrots, cabbage, roast parsnips and mashed swede too. Sounds a lot, and it is, but there is no other way.

2. Again, as previously mentioned, a good ragout, cooked slowly for hours, beef, veal, pork, rabbit, or whatever you decide, with well cooked pasta and good red wine, is hard to beat.

3. Now, a meal I’d struggle to do without has to be a curry. I’m not someone who has one every Friday night, but once or twice a month, the cravings kick in and I make my way down to Whitechapel and get my fix. I have no real favourite dish, and yes, guilty as charged, stating ‘curry’ is massively vague and frowned upon, even disrespectful to the regional food of India and Pakistan, but it’s more a culture of cooking I’m in love with, not a dish.

4. Sushi. This is something I eat at least three times a week, not only because I work on top of SushiSamba, with Tai Po knocking up all sorts of tasty creations, but with more and more great places popping up, its easier to find, and you don’t need to re-mortgage your house to pay for it.

5. Pie and Mash. I’m not from east London originally, but my dad is, hence why I support West Ham. The first time he took me to a game was in 1993, the first home match after Bobby Moore died. I was nine, and all I remember are streets lined for miles with flowers for Bobby and his family, and the pie and mash we had before the game. What a meal that was, even the fluorescent green ‘liquor’ that was poured all over the plate – it left a lasting impression on me, although I’m more of a gravy man these days.

As I’m writing this, yes, we chefs do get asked these questions a lot, and it is nice to be able to have a top five or 10, but let’s not forget, we live in a world where millions have no food, billions have very little and, unfortunately, many who do have food, or money to buy food, still put any old rubbish in their pie holes. So if you are fortunate to have food on the table, make it good food for god’s sake, and don’t be scared to try new things, challenge yourself, and challenge your ‘last meal’ dish as much as you can.

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