UNITY magazine’s Q&A with the venerable Ed Baines

 

Celebrity chef Ed Baines says he’s like pistachio ice-cream: hard to crack, unique and terribly irresistible. He sharpened his knives under the famed restaurateur Anton Mosimann before spending two years as the official chef of global fashion house Armani.

Ed now runs his own restaurant Randall & Aubin in Soho. In an exclusive Q&A, Ed Baines spills the beans on cooking for England cricket captain Alistair Cook and what he would eat on death row.

If a genie were to grant you one wish, what would it be?
The ability to fly, I always thought that was Superman’s greatest gift

A good day is…?
Earning more than I can spend

A bad day is…?
Spending more than I earn.

Which celebrity have you enjoyed cooking for the most?
Alistair Cook prior to the England cricket team winning the Ashes in 2015.

What’s the strangest challenge you have experienced as a chef?
Cooking a banquet in Chengdu, China. It was, possibly, the most estranged environment I have ever been in.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
KFC

What stands out most from your time with Armani?
My wardrobe and how Armani influenced my sense of detail.

Which fictional figure do you identify with, and why?
Russel Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius, better known as The Gladiator. He’s resilient and never gives up, just like me.

Who would you love to cook for, and why?
Winston Churchill because he loved his food and I’d love to hear him talk.

What three things are vital to your day?
Coffee at breakfast, a good morning kiss from my wife and a clear understanding of what I am doing throughout the day.

If you could have invented anything what would it be, and why?
Electricity. It’s taken for granted but when we’re without it – wow! It’s mankind’s greatest step since fire and the wheel.

What ingredients should we be using in September?
Mushrooms, soft fruit, nuts.

If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Roast rib of beef with all the trimmings

Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
My cooker

What’s your greatest fear?
Being helpless

What flavour of ice cream are you, and why?
Pistachio. It’s moreish, unique, hard on the outside, difficult to get to but surprisingly good.

There’s a fire in your house, what item do you save?
Family first, then my loving cat… the other possessions can go up in smoke.

What’s the hardest criticism you’ve received?
Being told I was fat: I got in shape with hours of training and changed my greedy ways.

An embarrassing moment?
Loosing the first round of a word association game on the BBC. I’m dyslexic so this wasn’t my strong suite, but it was still embarrassing.

Your proudest moment?
I’ve got two: Entering Monaco harbour in braided whites on the deck of the world’s most exclusive yacht, and opening my restaurant Randall and Aubin in 1996.

You’re working on your third book, what’s it about?
It’s called ‘YUM and it’s about the food and dishes that lead to the culinary success of a chef and the pleasure of the folk who eats them.

 

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