Chefs from some of the greatest restaurants on earth are joined by gastronomes, celebrities and passionate foodies to share childhood food memories and the recipes that inspired them to experiment in the kitchen... a memory bank which reminds us home cooking can be fun, thrifty, save money and amaze your friends.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ben Mckellar - The Gingerman Group - Brighton

This week we spoke to Ben Mckellar about this earliest food memories. Mckellar is Head Chef and Owner of Brighton's highest rated restaurant The Gingerman as well as The Ginger Fox and The Ginger Pig, both of which have been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2009.

"An early memory for me not directly linked to food but important never the less in regards to my career was that I used to go shopping with my mum at Sainsbury's on London Road in Brighton during the school holidays. I must have been about seven or eight years old at the time and we had to park near the Catering College on Pelham Street. There is a big window on the second floor and I always remember seeing the chefs in clean whites with their big hats on rushing around. I have never forgotten those images and remember then and there wanting to become a chef.

Another vivid food memory I have was when I first stepped into a professional kitchen, I was sixteen and had just started at the very same catering college in Brighton. The then best restaurant in Brighton, One Paston Place wanted a college boy to work weekends and I managed to get the job. I arrived on the Friday night nervous, got changed and walked into the kitchen to be greeted with the most wonderful smell imaginable. On the hot plate having just come out of the oven was a tray full of just cooked duck confit. This was 1989 and Duck confit was unheard of in most English restaurants and I could not believe how good it looked and the smell of duck fat mixed with garlic and thyme still provokes warm feelings for me. My first job was to separate the meat from the bones and to put it in earthenware pots to be covered by the duck fat. I could not help but lick my fingers and eat the crispy bits of skin that had been above the duck fat when it was in the oven"

We asked Mckellar to share a early favorite recipe that you could try at home:

Anchovy Toast

  • 100g salted anchovy fillets
  • 1 table spoon dijon mustard
  • 25g capers
  • 75g egg yolks (about three yolks)
  • little garlic
  • juice of half lemon
  • pinch cayenne
  • table spoon chopped parsley
  • 125g softened unsalted butter
  • 1 sour dough loaf

Place all the ingredients except the bread in a food processor and blitz until smooth, toast the sourdough on one side, turn over and spread with the anchovy mixture, grill until golden and serve with a green salad dressed with walnut oil.

More information can be found about Ben Mckellar and his eateries at