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We asked some of the world’s top chefs what their favourite comfort foods are and what restaurants they enjoy when they aren’t working themselves. Here are their answers…

Bill Granger

Bill Granger is a self-taught cook, restaurateur and food writer who is based in his native Australia, Japan and London. He is well known for his simple yet creative cuisine that has made him one of the most successful and well-known chefs in Australia. His easy-going approach has made him a favourite among family cooks and food critics alike. After starting out with his first restaurant, bills, in Sydney, Granger quickly made a name for himself that resulted in four acclaimed eateries in Japan and two in London, as well as numerous TV shows and 11 cookbooks.

Question 1: After coming home from a difficult day, what is your go-to comfort food or guilty pleasure? What makes it so satisfying for you?

Fried rice for comfort food….brown rice crisped in the pan with tons of ginger, and served with a fried egg, coriander and guochang chilli sauce.

Question 2: What is your favourite restaurant to eat at – whether famous or humble – anywhere in the world other than your city?

Our favourite restaurant is Maru in Tokyo. In a city with amazing food everywhere you look, things can be a little inaccessible for a non-Japanese speaker. Maru is a favourite as it is near my restaurant. The staff never change and know me, and the food, simple and good dishes like sweetcorn tempura or lovely piles of salad with teeny tiny crunchy fish, makes me feel comfortable and at home …not an easy thing in the bustling metropolis that is Tokyo.

André Chiang

Born in Taiwan and trained in French nouvelle cuisine, André Chiang has lived in Singapore for 10 years, spending the last 5 as chef-owner of Restaurant André – currently number 5 of the top 50 restaurants in Asia. Chiang is known for his unique “octaphilosophy” that seeks a balance between what he has identified as 8 key elements – pure, salt, artisan, south, texture, unique, memory and terroir – each of which is represented as a dish in his 8-course dinner menu, usually created spontaneously each evening from that day’s market haul. Chiang owns two other restaurants, the more laidback RAW in Taipei and Porte 12 in Paris, and is the author of Octaphilosophy, an upcoming cookbook that will, for the first time ever, provide a glimpse into the inspiration and ideas that fuel Chiang’s kitchen. Here are his thoughts:

After coming home from a difficult day, what is your go-to comfort food or guilty pleasure? What makes it so satisfying for you?

I enjoy “one pot cuisine” very much, such as fried rice, porridge and sukiyaki. I can easily get protein, carbohydrates and vegetables together in one pot. This has been my comfort food since I was young.

What is your favourite restaurant to eat at – whether famous or humble – anywhere in the world other than your city?

Recommendations:

Le Maison Pic –  Valence, France

Relae – Copenhagen, Denmark

Eleven Madison Park – New York, USA

Luke Thomas

An aspiring chef from the age of 12, Luke Thomas began pursuing his dream on weekends and evenings after school, working in the Michelin-star kitchen at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel & Spa and moving on to apprentice under the likes of Jamie Oliver and Grant Achatz. At 18, he launched his solo career with the opening of his first restaurant, Luke’s Dining Room, which won Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Restaurant of the Year in 2013. In between appearances on shows like Junior MasterChef and the BBC Three documentary about him, Britain’s Youngest Head Chef, Thomas has managed to open 3 more restaurants and write a cookbook, all before the age of 22.

After coming home from a difficult day, what is your go-to comfort food or guilty pleasure? What makes it so satisfying for you?

It really depends on what mood I’m in, the time of day and so on, it can be anything from a bowl of cereal which is sometimes all you want after you’ve been cooking and tasting heavy dishes all day, but cheese on toast is probably my favourite, thick bloomer or sourdough toasted, my favourite is snowdonia black bomber cheese to put on it with a good splash of Worcester sauce and sliced red onion. There is nothing better when the cheese has melted, starts to caramelise with the Worcester sauce and there’s still a good crunch to the bread.

What is your favourite restaurant to eat at – whether famous or humble – anywhere in the world other than your city?

This becomes a harder question to answer by the week, we are so lucky now to have so many great restaurants globally, especially London it really is quite amazing how many great spots there are. After my recent travels to the USA I would have to say one of my favourites now is in Los Angeles, Jon & Vinnie’s. It’s an Italian concept, part of the group that own Animal and Son of a Gun, which are equally brilliant. But there is something quite amazing when you sit in this place, the meatballs are a must, a perfectly cooked portion of two giant meatballs, a tomato based sauce, a spoonful of ricotta and garlic bread that blows you away and their salads, well, they really do take a salad into another league. Simple food, done well is often the best. Impeccable service and great sitting at the kitchen counter chatting the extremely passionate kitchen team.

Michel Roux, Jr: Owner and Chef Patron at Le Gavroche in London

Michel Roux Jr

Michel Roux Jr is one of the most recognisable names in London gastronomy, having served as Chef Patron and owner of Le Gavroche for the past 25 years. Taking the helm from his French-born father, Albert Roux, Michel has continued to build the restaurant’s reputation and guide its gradual evolution toward a more modern style, all while sharing his expertise with a wider audience through television, on shows such as the popular BBC series MasterChef, as well as numerous cookbooks.

After coming home from a difficult day, what is your go-to comfort food or guilty pleasure? What makes it so satisfying for you?

Good-quality chocolate. Just a square or two can really pick me up, especially when paired with a glass of Gosset Celebris. My favourite chocolate is Amadei, but as long as it’s got 70% minimum cocoa solids, I’m happy. I’ve loved chocolate as long as I can remember, my grandmothers would make me all kinds of chocolate desserts when I was a child so it’s just something I’ve grown up with.

What is your favourite restaurant to eat at – whether famous or humble – anywhere in the world other than your city?

Le Lisita

2b, Boulevard des Arènes

Nîmes, France

It’s so simple, and yet so sophisticated. The restaurant has the most magical terrace with beautiful views of the ancient areas of town, and the locally sourced wine list is incredible. My advice: pick one of the speciality dishes.

Article by Gail Wilcoxen

It's no wonder chefs have eclectic tastes once they finally escape the heat of the kitchen. Do you still have an appetite once you've prepared a feast at home?



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