Inside Alec Lobrano’s Kitchen

3rd February 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

The restaurant critic recommends an “unbelievably good” chocolate maker, an olive oil that holds its taste when heated and the “ultimate” dessert cookbook


Alain Ducasse chocolate »
“Alain Ducasse[footnote]Colossal French (now Monegasque) chef with 21 Michelin stars to his name[/footnote] started a chocolate factory here a year ago, over near the Bastille, with one of his pastry chefs, Nicolas Berger. They went all over the place – Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia – to find artisanal chocolate-making equipment. The machines are stunningly beautiful and the chocolate is unbelievably good. They roast their own beans, do lots of single-bean chocolates – from places like Venezuela and Sao Tome & Principe. The Sao Tome & Principe is the funkiest chocolate I’ve ever eaten in my life. You put some in your mouth and you are standing drenched in sweat under a banana tree.” – Alec

Quinta da Romaneira olive oil »
“This is the best olive oil we have – it’s from the Duoro valley in the north of Portugal. It’s really light. Most fruity olive oil loses its taste when heated, but this holds it. At any given moment I’ll have probably 12 different types of olive oil in the kitchen.”

Alziari olives
“Real Niçoise olives from a famous shop in the old city of Nice[footnote]Alziari, 318 Boulevard de la Madeleine, Nice [/footnote]. They’re really good and quite bitter. You need a glass of rosé to go with them.”

South African spice butter (Isinonga sama Zulu)
“I picked this up last time I was in Johannesburg. If you’re in a real hurry and sautéing or steaming a chicken breast, it’s a fabulous spice mix made from dried tomato, onion, garlic, thyme, wild oregano, paprika, brown sugar and salt.”

Nanami Togarashi spice mix
“I use this Japanese spice mix all the time – it’s pretty much replaced black pepper on my table. It contains chilli pepper, black and white sesame, Japanese pepper, ginger and orange peel.”

Smoked salts
“I really love smoked salts and have a couple of different types. There’s a mild beech one and a version that really blows your head off – it’s like campfire ashes. In a rush, things like this are great flavour boosters if you’re steaming vegetables or fish.”

Stock cubes
“If I can I’ll make my own chicken stock, but like many people I’m lazy, so I have a library of organic bouillon cubes, including Italian broth and Spanish jamon.”

PG Tips tea »
“I drink M&S tea and PG Tips – I love that strong take-the-enamel-off-the-cup taste. The French like more refined and delicate things and after dinner they often drink herbal teas. At the moment, my partner is making a stock of tea with verbena. It always strikes me as being slightly elderly, herbal teas, but I suppose you’ve got to look in the mirror at some point and realise the day has come.”


Dough pedal
“One of my favourite travel-to-eat trips was to Transylvania. An old man – he was probably 90 or so – made wooden dough pedals by hand and they are still being used.” – Alec

Hal Morey photograph of Grand Central
“For me, Grand Central the most beautiful place in America. Compare it to the stuff that we build now, which is such shlock. They built this with unbelievable extravagance – glass, stone and marble – and it was built for beauty as well as functionality.”


James Beard’s American Cookery, James Beard »
“It’s old-fashioned American food, but this great big tome has everything.” – Alec

The Classic Italian Cookbook, Marcella Hazan »
More Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan »
“These two Marcella Hazan cookbooks have travelled with me in paperback editions ever since I left New York.”

Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, Maida Heatter »
“It’s the ultimate dessert cookbook.”

Posted 3rd February 2015

In Things


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

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