Things

Inside Gill Meller’s Kitchen

12th April 2018

Interview: Letitia Clark
Photographs: Maria Bell

The chef and author picks out a good local sea salt, his parents’ aluminium egg poacher and the cookbook that opened his eyes to real food and cooking

INGREDIENTS

Cornish Sea Salt »
“I love sea salt, and this is a local brand. The salt is delicious, it doesn’t have quite the same fragility of the Maldon salt crystals but it’s getting there.” Gill also uses Sel de Guerande: “It’s milky and less salty than other types. I grind it fine in a pestle and mortar and use it for seasoning.”

Coriander seeds »
“I use coriander seeds a lot, I love their flavour and their crunchy texture. The smaller, rounder ones seem to be the best. I love the way they can be both subtle and powerful depending on how they are used.”

Home-made red wine vinegar
“This is a bottle of my own red wine vinegar – I got the starter about 15 years ago, from a bergerie farm restaurant in Uzès, near Avignon. I’ve been making vinegar ever since, topping it up with dregs of red wine. I put any old dregs in, and it never seems to change the taste. Some of my friends have compared it to nail-varnish remover, but I think it’s delicious.”

Italian olive oil
“I do sometimes try to use rapeseed oil, which can be produced locally, but often I find the flavour too strong. The truth is you just can’t beat good olive oil, it’s so fucking good. It’s been used or thousands of years in Italian cooking and for good reason. I don’t like cooking without it.”

OBJECTS

Oval roasting dish with spout
“This is quite an unusual piece that my grandmother gave to me: a large oval cast-iron roasting dish with two handles and a pouring spout. I assume it was meant for fish, but I use it mostly for roasting meat. The spout is useful for pouring off the fat/juices. I assume it’s French but you don’t come across them very often and there’s no mark on it so it’s hard to tell.” – Gill

Pinch pots made by Alice Meller »
“My wife makes these beautiful pots. She’s only just begun learning but I think, for an amateur, they’re just gorgeous. She is being taught by an old lady who lives locally and has taken Alice on as her protégé. Alice sells her pots at her shop in Lyme Regis.”

Dan Prendergast knife »
Blenheim Forge knife »
“Both these handmade knives are brilliant, beautiful and sharp. Light and beautifully balanced. The one from Dan Prendergast is so simple, but beautiful. The only downside about them is that they are swines for rusting, just a touch of lemon juice left on them and they’re tainted.”

Dave Budd paring knife »
“I’m very fond of this little knife, which I use for cutting wild garlic and picking mushrooms and things. It was made by a local guy who used to design and make bondage, and has now moved down here and started making knives. He sells them at the River Cottage fairs.”

Old aluminium egg poacher
“I love this old aluminium poacher my parents always used for poached eggs. The poached eggs it makes are fucking amazing and a totally different texture. Perhaps they were a generational thing as no one seems to use them anymore but I still think they make the best eggs.”

BOOKS

Real Cooking, Nigel Slater »
“I love this book for its honesty.” – Gill

The River Cottage Cook Book, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall »
“The first cookbook that opened my eyes to real food and cooking. I picked it up, read it and was inspired to get in touch with Hugh. Then by chance I sat next to him at a dinner. The rest is history.”

Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking, Fergus Henderson »
“Incredibly inspiring, and the book for meat cooking.”

The Cookery Year, Reader’s Digest »
“Pure class. My mum gave me her copy which fell apart so I bought another.”

Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, Jane Grigson »
“Because it makes me want to be French. And because I love pork and all things pig.”

Posted 12th April 2018

In Things

 

Interview: Letitia Clark
Photographs: Maria Bell

More from the Things

Inside Elisabeth Luard’s Kitchen – The author of European Peasant Cookery selects a potent South American tea, a tiled Andalusian table and five favourite food books

Inside Sam Gleeson and Niamh Fox’s Kitchen – The furniture maker and chef pick out one of Ireland's best beers, a curious metal gadget for scraping coconuts, and a favourite Jamie Oliver book

Inside Rachel Roddy’s Kitchen – The Rome-based food writer picks out a reliable pasta brand, the kitchen tool she couldn't live without and her six favourite food books

Inside Takashi Miyazaki’s Kitchen – The chef-owner of Miyazaki in Cork picks out a clay barbecue, a surrealist cookbook and the craziest mushroom we've ever seen