Interview

The 5 x 5: Tom Parker, White Swan at Fence

5 basic ingredients you can’t live without…

TP: “Butter, the key to life is butter. Salt, is that too simple? (Do you use a particular kind of salt or..?) No just salt. (Not pink Himalayan or something like that?) You can fuck off with all that shit. Come on we’re in Burnley, you don’t need pink Himalayan salt on top of your turbot do you? Veal stock or chicken stock, the key to everything. Or just all good stocks really. I do a lot of game, venison, hare and stuff like that. Fish, I love cooking fish. Yeah, butter, salt, stock, fish and meat.”

5 most essential pieces of kit…

TP: “ThermomixPacojet – it’s just an ice cream machine basically. We use it for quite a lot, it makes really good mousses and stuff; Nitrogen, we use quite a lot of nitrogen. A good fish pan, that’s crucial…and a whisk.”

5 quick dinners you make at home…

TP: “I always make food on a Monday because we’re closed on a Monday, so it’s normally a big batch of chicken brothcassoulet, chicken fajitas or chicken wraps, stunning. Chorizo pasta’s a winner. Baked sweet potato, red onion and feta cheese. My girlfriend makes that – it’s a winner. Dice it all up, chuck it in the oven with some spices on, put your feta on last minute, happy days.”

5 words that should never be seen on a menu…

TP: “Preparations of…, Textures of…, what’s the other one people do? Elements of…, when people serve you ‘elements of a cauliflower’, just do one! ‘With’ I hate the word ‘with’. Of course it’s ‘with’ something! It proper winds me up that does. What else? Balsamic reduction. Haha! I hate that.”

5 things you still want to learn…

TP: “Life in general; How not get pissed on two pints of beer on a Saturday night. Food wise, I’ve always wanted to do a bit of blown sugar work but I’ve never been able to do anything like that. More sauces really, just proper classic French sauces. I’ve always wanted to do a bit more on that because I’ve never really been taught. Well I have and I haven’t. But really complex French sauces like bouillabaisses and stuff like that. And one more, what else? We were trying to figure out how to do a salmon terrine last night. We just couldn’t figure out how to do it and then cook it and slice it.

Ooh go on then, could you tell me about 5 disasters you have had in the kitchen?

“Jesus, I could tell you about 5 disasters I had yesterday!”

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