Pasta master

Sim­plic­ity and green fin­gers are what’s re­quired in the kitchen of top chef Ste­vie Parle

The Guardian - Cook - - A Cook’s Kitchen - Ste­vie Parle is chef-owner of sev­eral restau­rants, in­clud­ing newly opened Pas­taio in Lon­don, and the au­thor of three cook­books; @Ste­vieParle

About two years ago we left east Lon­don for Kent. We wanted more space for our kids and we found this house – it’s quite un­usual. Set in a acre of land in­side a na­ture re­serve, it is low-im­pact and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. Parts of it are very old, as it used to be the park ranger’s home. We have loads of so­lar pan­els, and bring wa­ter up from the ground, so the house is off-grid. And the in­side is thor­oughly con­nected to the out­side, with a door on to the out­side from ev­ery room. It’s re­ally nice to be in the woods.

There is a large open-plan space, which com­prises the kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing room. Large black stone tiles on the floor, with a colour­ful rug we bought at a mar­ket in Morocco, and very high ceil­ings with wooden beams painted grey. The walls are mostly white through­out the house, although we do like splashes of bright colour – all the doors are yel­low, and one of the rooms off the kitchen is bright, bright blue. That’s where our two dogs sleep – a lurcher called Otto, and this Ir­ish wolfhound (1), Molly. She’s so sweet and gen­tle. And big … I’m ex­tremely tall, so it’s nice to have a dog in scale …

I don’t have many gad­gets – I’m not even sure I have a blen­der. We have a wood­burn­ing stove (2) and a gas range. I like sim­ple things: pes­tle and mor­tars and pasta ma­chines. I’ve just opened a pasta restaurant, and I’ve been do­ing a lot of the de­vel­op­ment at home. So I have these two pasta ma­chines right now – a sim­ple, straight­for­ward one (3), and an ex­truder (4) pasta with semolina, and push­ing it through a bronze die. I’ve been com­bin­ing Bri­tish grains with the tra­di­tional Ital­ian semolina, for ex­tra flavour. I love the ex­per­i­men­ta­tion.

My mother is a doc­tor, but she does a lot of pot­tery. This white earth­en­ware onion and gar­lic jar (5) is one she made. She also made a fer­ment­ing crock I use a lot – I do all sorts in there.

We grow our own veg. We also have six ap­ple trees. And we have pigs and all sorts of rare-breed chick­ens.

Nether­ton Foundry makes ex­cel­lent saucepans. This black one (6) is bril­liant for slow cook­ing. Just chuck in a pork shoul­der with vine­gar and herbs, stick it in the oven and ig­nore it for a day.

It’s re­ally nice to have a chilli plant (7). I’m ob­sessed with chilli. And I love grow­ing things. It gives you an un­der­stand­ing of the amount of work that goes into food, and it makes you less in­clined to waste any­thing.

I grew those dahlias (8), too. And that air plant (9) has been go­ing for a while. I just dunk it in wa­ter ev­ery cou­ple of weeks. It seems su­per happy.


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