Q&A Richard Bertinet

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Richard Bertinet, baker, author, founder of the Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School and Bakery and BBC Food Champion

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking?

Lionel Poilane’s Guide de l’Amateur de Pain. It’s in French but I love to still go back to it from time to time. Poilane was my bread hero and I was lucky to have met him and his daughter

The food of love: what would you cook to impress a potential date?

Jo, my now wife and I, dated over copious amount of seafood and Muscadet sur Lie. Seafood is the ultimate flirty food

The perfect dinner party: which five people (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner and what would you cook for them?

There too many friends and chefs  I would like to share food with to mention, but the four people who matter the most (and always find it a treat when we do) are my wife and three children, Jack, Tom and Lola. As they grow it’s becoming more and more precious

Fast food –  your top snack tip

I love a good burger especially when it is nice and rare.  Often when I do some food festival I’ll always treat myself to a few and a few beers

Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

Probably the scene in Katz’s deli in New York in the movie When Harry met Sally.  I took the family there a couple of years ago and it was very memorable but not for the same reasons – this time it was for the enormous salt beef sandwiches

Your worst kitchen disaster

I had a few! When I was an apprentice we learnt the hard way.  And I remember falling asleep as I was so tired – only for five minutes but  just enough to over-bake an oven load of baguettes. I got my ass kicked and my day was going to get even worse

On a more domestic level, I was teaching my son and a friend of his to make mayonnaise when they were about ten years old.  We were using the blender and we didn’t put the lid on properly when we turned it on.  We covered ourselves and the entirety of the kitchen in mayonnaise.  I have never seen such a mess and it took ages to clear up because we were laughing so much

The best thing to do with stale bread?

We all waste far too much food and it always breaks my heart to see bread wasted. Bread pudding or summer pudding are a good way to use it up or try making croutons or breadcrumbs and popping them in the freezer

What would you like your final meal to be?

Definitely a huge seafood platter ! I’ll make it last as long as possible with a large loaf of sourdough and couple of bottles of good white wine! I’d die happy then

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

I can show the dough who’s boss! And I am good at washing up

What did you eat for breakfast?

Just coffee

What’s in your fridge?

Enough to stop the kids whining and say there’s nothing to eat in this house.  Breton salted butter, milk of all types, a few bottles of wine and tonic water, pickles and olives plus enough for  two or three evening meals

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on to your children

When I met Jo the first dish she cooked for me was a smoked haddock chowder passed down from her mum.  I still cook it –  it’s a winner.

Crumb: Show the Dough Who’s Boss by Richard Bertinet is published by Kyle Books, £25