The celebrity chef and TV star re­veals the less than per­fect ed­u­ca­tional record which has led to a suc­cess­ful ca­reer and friends in high places

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

Celeb chef Tony Singh on bring­ing back the YTS and his guilty plea­sures

I grew up in Leith. It’s a free and in­de­pen­dent state which Ed­in­burgh is at­tached to. I love Leith, there’s a great mix of peo­ple and it’s so vi­brant. It still has a strong sense of com­mu­nity. But my favourite place in Scot­land is Loch Awe. The scenery is amaz­ing and the seafood in the area is awe­some. I used to skive off school a lot. If my kids are even late for school I get a text mes­sage. They can’t get up to any­thing, it’s a shame. When we skived we used to go to the mu­seum a lot or to the Water of Leith. We didn’t do any­thing stupid.

I picked up some cook­ing skills from my mum, my granny and my dad.

But I trained at Ed­in­burgh’s Telford Col­lege. I was on a Youth Train­ing Scheme (YTS). I think they should bring them back. Not every­body is aca­demic. I’d rather have some­one with skill and world ex­pe­ri­ence than somone with two or three de­grees. Love of food makes a good chef. You get peo­ple say­ing ‘I don’t eat this and I don’t eat that.’ That’s no good, you re­ally have to en­joy it. You’ve got to be gen­er­ous, hard work­ing, tena­cious and re­ally care. If I wasn’t a chef I’d be a play­boy mil­lion­aire. I tried to train in it but the YTS course was closed when I ap­plied. I’d have been the best. My ul­ti­mate com­fort food is my mum’s chicken curry. That or a big bowl of stovies, with brown sauce and a fried egg. My guilty plea­sure is a great big dirty ke­bab. The strangest thing I’ve ever eaten was gi­ant snails. I was in Viet­nam, but the flavour is just like snails

‘If I wasn’t a chef I’d be a play­boy mil­lion­aire’

in France. They don’t serve them whole, there was a guy slic­ing them up be­cause they are about the size of your hand. Keith Floyd was my hero. He was a very charm­ing guy and very gen­er­ous. He was amaz­ing, a real bon vi­vant. My grandad is also my hero. I never met him but he had noth­ing and he brought the fam­ily over from In­dia. I once had lunch with the Queen. She in­vited me so I went along and sat next to her at lunch. She is very funny, re­ally sharp and witty. The food was clas­si­cally French – we had guinea fowl with wild morels, melon and smoked salmon. I’d want Har­vey Ki­etel to play me in the movie of my life. He would be on the but­ton. Har­vey Ki­etel with a tan and a tur­ban. I’ve tried all kinds of sports. But I’m not re­ally a joiner. I’ve re­cently done an Arc­tic walk. I did it for St Colu­mus Hospice, but to tell you the truth I’ve not done it since I came back. I do like eat­ing, drink­ing, read­ing and watch­ing movies, noth­ing too en­er­getic. I’m re­ally busy run­ning sup­per clubs from my house, so I get 12 peo­ple round and it’s just good Scot­tish hospi­tal­ity with amaz­ing pro­duce and flavours from around the world. I’m run­ning cook­ery classes from home too. I be­lieve in some­thing, but I don’t think it’s ghosts. I think the essence of a per­son goes some­where. I think there are en­er­gies that fluc­tu­ate through time and space but I don’t think I’d call them ghosts. For more in­for­ma­tion about Tony’s sup­per clubs and cook­ery classes visit www.tonys­


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