Forward-thinking chef Stevie talks pop-up dining, new restaurant openings and food trends
What started your passion for food and cooking?
A bunch of things. We grew up in a household where we all helped out. My parents both worked and by the time we were old enough to, we were all expected to play our part. I hated washing up and was pretty greedy, so cooking seemed natural. We travelled quite a lot when I was a kid and food was always important. From quite a young age I found I knew how to really enjoy food; what worked with what, which flavours go well together and how to tailor different cooking techniques to different ingredients. I guess I’m a natural in the kitchen, or at least a naturally greedy person, which helps.
What led you to start your Moveable Kitchen project 10 years ago? What do you like about pop-up restaurants?
Seems like that was a long time ago now, but I’ve always loved the freedom of pop-ups. It was early on in the game when I started doing them, most people didn’t know what they were. I didn’t use social media but before I knew it I had big names in the food and fashion world calling me up and asking me when my next event was. It was the beginning of a very exciting time and the pop-up industry has really boomed since.
Above: Present meals in a stylish way with the Marine range from Le Creuset. Prices range from £10-£220
You've recently opened Pastaio – can you tell us more about the aim for this restaurant?
Pastaio is a fresh pasta restaurant on Ganton St in Carnaby. I want to bring quality food at an affordable price and indulge diners that visit with my love of good quality, fresh pasta, which is still hard to find, even in London.
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Le Creuset for the Taste of the City collection?
These are recipes tailored to the versatile Le Creuset products but developed with the everyday home cook in mind. They reflect how I and a lot of busy people eat right now. Healthy, simple but vibrant and fresh with tastes and influences from cities all over the world. I particularly enjoyed creating the brunch recipes as this is a huge trend at the moment.
What appliance do you find most useful in the kitchen?
I’m actually not big into gadgets; I love staple must-have cookware such as a decent cast iron pot or Toughened Non-Stick pan, but I guess on electrics, my toaster! I often work late and there’s nothing I like more than a piece of toast and a cup of tea when I get home. People are always interested in what chefs like to eat, but at the end of the day when I’m tired, I like to try and keep it simple.
You live in Kent with your family and a collection of animals including bees – what's home life like?
My house is pretty unusual. It’s completely off grid and in the middle of a nature reserve. I love it. We keep bees, chickens and pigs and it’s great for the kids to get involved in food production. It makes them, and us, value the food we eat more. It’s also great fun!
Have you got exciting plans or goals for 2018?
So many exciting plans but none I’m allowed to talk about yet! It’s going to be another big year. On a personal level I’m going to try and be a bit more disciplined with my work and get a bit of balance back. In 2017 I opened two restaurants and it’s been rather intense. Family is really important to me, my kids are young, aged five and seven, and I need to make sure I’m home for them when they need me.
stevieparle.co.uk & lecreuset.co.uk
Article by: Lucy Macdonald