Five minutes with Bob Fowkes
Bob Fowkes is the founder of premium, botanically beautiful Brockmans Gin. We caught up with him, to find out more about his life in food and drink.
1. What’s your first memory of food?
My mother always insisted on giving us fried eggs and bacon every morning with buttered white bread. It was normal then, rather than a weekend treat. It came with super strong tea that your spoon could stand up in. It’s a food pairing experience that I still cherish today.
2. What’s the first recipe you learned to cook?
It was in shared accommodation as an undergraduate at the London School of Economics. I remember someone talking me through the recipe just before a lecture on the Theory of the Firm. It contained sweet corn, tomatoes and way too many chillies. It was probably quite dreadful, but my flatmates politely finished it – all washed down with ice cold supermarket lager.
3. What’s the recipe you can’t live without?
What I call my ‘Milanese sauce’ which I make with pinot noir. I basically apply this to a range of ingredients including vegetables, braised beef and herby sausages. The cherry-like properties of the pinot combine well with the tomatoes and herbs.
4. What’s the one ingredient you’d take on a desert island with you?
Beautifully ripe plum or beef tomatoes. I can eat them with freshly milled black pepper in a sandwich, or just on their own.
5. What’s the meal you’d miss the most?
Fish and chips – particularly as I will be beside the sea. To me it’s an automatic association with sea air, born from my school-days in Southport and frequent trips to Blackpool.
6. You can have a one-off dinner party on your island… Who would you invite?
My wife Helen and my four children. They are all grown up now and pursuing careers and busy lives. They are all such different personalities and enjoyable to be around. We are so rarely together, but we do gather sometimes, mainly for Christmas. It would be a wonderful treat.
7. Which cookbook would you take with you, to the desert island?
My daughter laughs at me because she knows that I start with a recipe in mind but gradually meander into using a range of other ingredients that might be on hand or in the fridge. The end result never quite resembles the initial intent, although the journey produces something relatively tasty, in my humble opinion!
I use cookbooks for starting ideas, times and relative measures – so something like Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course is a handy manual or guidebook on this tricky pathway.
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