Flash Grilled: Simon Attridge

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Lateef Photography
Image: Lateef Photography

Related tags Simon Attridge Restaurant London Fine dining Claridge's

The culinary director at Claridge’s likes a Big Mac, dislikes badly taken food shots and thinks oysters are overrated.

What was your first industry job?
My first job was laying up tables for weddings early on a Saturday morning at my local hotel, while my first chef job was at Redhill and Reigate Golf Club.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Finance and Trading

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
From a culinary perspective, you must admire the way Gordon Ramsay has built a loyal team around him, and gained the accolades and recognition before growing his business in the right way - you only need to see how many of his restaurants are such a success today.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
A chef’s appearance – I’m keen for my team to keep a smart appearance and professional work attire. A tidy kitchen is a tidy mind.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence
Seasonal and locally sourced produce using distinct flavours from around the world, with the style of cooking adaptable to the occasion.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Approach work with the right attitude - watch, listen, taste, persevere, work hard (which does not mean 80 hours a week). The skills can be taught, it’s a lot harder to teach attitude.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Chef spoon

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A classic prawn cocktail to start, roast beef with all the trimmings for my main, and a crème brûlée to finish

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
In the UK it would have to be Helene Darroze at The Connaught. Internationally, I would have to say Jean Georges in Shanghai.

What’s your favourite fast-food joint?
My ultimate guilty pleasure is a Big Mac.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Beef Bourguignon - it's an absolute classic.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?

What’s the most overrated food?

Your restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Badly taken pictures of food.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
So many to pick from but five to start: Barack Obama, Anthony Bourdain, Tiger Woods, David Beckham, and Jennifer Lopez for some glamour…there would be some stories here!

What’s your earliest food memory?
Making apple pie with my dad with an apron on.

Twitter or Instagram?

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The Hippodrome Casino for a post work late night stop. There is always such a good atmosphere and great for a couple of late drinks with friends. There is an amazing steak restaurant called Heliot and a new Chinese downstairs called Chop Chop too.

What’s your tipple of choice?
Champagne, followed by white and red burgundy, and of course a cold beer after service.

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Fried Chicken and Champagne – Dom Perignon of course.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
Definitely dishes that evolved over time. Previously, I had worked with my old exec pastry chef for approximately 15 years and for his leaving dinner we cooked the dishes that developed the years, including chicken liver parfait (I used to always make his mum one for Christmas), scallops, yuzu and ginger, and teriyaki glazed short rib of beef.

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