Aberdeen’s City Bar & Diner head chef and owner David Anderson takes us to his food heaven and hell.
Who inspired you to start cooking?
My grandfather started it off. I always used to help him in the kitchen cooking the Sunday dinners. We cooked the usual family meals on the weekend like Sunday roasts and broths.
What food don’t you like?
I don’t like offal – I’m really not a fan of that. I shouldn’t say I don’t like ‘haggis’ because that wouldn’t be very patriotic! But I really do hate it. I’m also not a great fan of molluscs – mussels, whelks, cockles, clams. I love seafood, but I can’t eat molluscs. They’ve got to be so fresh otherwise they’re just useless. We buy our seafood in fresh every day for that reason from RW Henderson the fish
Who is your favourite celebrity chef?
Raymond Blanc. He was taught to cook by his mother. Nearly every chef that has gone on to be something big has worked for Raymond Blanc at Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons at some point. He still holds two Michelin stars, but he doesn’t want three because he’s happy where he is. He also just makes food for your normal person which I like. There’s also Michel Guérard who transformed French cuisine and tried to make it a bit healthier. That’s one of the mainstays in my life as a chef.
What has been your greatest triumph in the kitchen?
Probably the amount of people that have worked for me that have gone on to be successful as chefs. I’ve trained up quite a lot of people in Aberdeen that have gone on to become head chefs themselves. Peppe Lepre at Ciao Napoli is one of them – he owns his own restaurant now. Also all the staff that work with me now have been with me for ten years. There’s only four of us – my wife Jacqui is also a big part of it – she keeps me in check with the spending.
What has been your biggest kitchen disaster?
The day that the kitchen porter threw out the turtle consommé because he thought it was a pan of dirty water. That was on Christmas morning. We just had to make some beef consommé instead and tried to make the best of the situation! We threw some bouquet garni in it and it turned out okay in the end.