Nigel Slater

This month, the dishes River Cafe’s Joe Triv­elli cooks at home, and what Brexit means for food

The Observer Food Monthly - - CONTENTS -

In this month’s is­sue, Jay Rayner tries to un­ravel the un­holy tan­gle of Brexit. In par­tic­u­lar, what it will mean to the food on our plates. With the whole busi­ness get­ting messier by the minute, he at­tempts to shine a light on what our exit will mean for farm­ers, grow­ers and restau­ra­teurs, for home cooks and the cater­ing in­dus­try.

I of­ten won­der what pro­fes­sional chefs eat at home, what they cook for their fam­ily and friends. There are some who I sus­pect eat the ex­act op­po­site of the imag­i­na­tive food they send over the pass. One par­tic­u­larly fa­mous chef once con­fided in me that his off-duty diet con­sisted al­most en­tirely of Coco Pops.

In his new book, Joe Triv­elli, most of­ten seen be­hind the stoves at Lon­don’s River Cafe, lets us into his home kitchen to share the food he makes for his fam­ily. He thinks the cliche of the chef who goes home to beans on toast to be true, but, as he adds, “What toast, which beans?” He doesn’t stop cook­ing just be­cause he is out of his chef’s whites, and Joe’s fam­ily sits down to what he refers to as pro­gres­sive Ital­ian cook­ing. His book con­tains such de­lights as spelt with fresh peas and strings of melted fontina, rab­bit roasted with milk and parme­san, and pork chops with quince, oregano and vine­gar. Th­ese are dishes that stick to “the rules” of Ital­ian cook­ing, yet feel fresh and new. We have a se­lec­tion of his recipes from The Mod­ern Ital­ian Cook for you.

We also take a trip to the east coast of Scot­land, to meet the mod­ern-day equiv­a­lent of the “her­ring lassies”, the women who work in the area’s fish-pro­cess­ing plants, gut­ting, fil­let­ing and pack­ing the lo­cal catch. Craig Eas­ton’s photo es­say has a time­less qual­ity – a snapshot of a life that is both mod­ern and steeped in the his­tory of our food sup­ply. It is of­ten for­got­ten how much of our fish is ex­ported, how it is revered all over Europe. Heaven only knows what Brexit will mean for that.

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