Introducing This Month’s Supper Club Host: Tom Hill
Cooking credentials … Tom Hill’s love of cooking began as a child in the kitchen with his mother. As a professional chef, Tom has worked with a number of leading figures in the restaurant industry – he has managed kitchens for Mitch Tonks and Mark Hix, and worked with Ed Wilson of Terroir (now chef-proprietor of Brawn). He met his business partners, Clare Lattin (and Rory McCoy), whilst working together at Hix Oyster and Chophouse. Today, the pair own two restaurants: Ducksoup in London’s Soho and Rawduck in Hackney. A third venue, Littleduck, will open in May. Clare and Tom are the authors of the Ducksoup Cookbook: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking (Square Peg).
Portrait by Elena Heatherwick
Can often be found … In the kitchen or in the garden.
What’s your style of cooking? Simple and sympathetic to the main ingredient. There’s little in the way of time-consuming techniques in our restaurants – our dishes use just a few ingredients at their very best.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Always from my travels. I love Italy, Spain and Portugal and talk a lot with Clare about the Middle East, as she has travelled there quite a bit. But I also have an obsession with Asian flavours and often cook with my Chinese friend Benny Zhou. Myself, Clare and Rory (the third partner in the business) spent a month in Japan, which was hugely inspiring. I always look at the foods in season and think about what ingredients would be friends with each other. I’m also inspired by what I fancy eating at any given moment, as well as by conversations with others about what they’ve tasted recently.
Why do you love to feed people? I get real pleasure from watching people’s faces as they enjoy a good meal. Obviously, I love taking raw ingredients and turning them into something that satisfies – but I also love listening to people talk about what they are eating, whether it’s a simple yet surprising salad, or a slow-cooked meal that evokes warm, happy memories.
Photography by Kristin Perers
What’s in your cupboards? Always a good selection of seasonal veg from the farmers’ market. But I often find that when I’m home, I don’t really want plates of meat. I much prefer a light, healthy supper after a big lunch out.
What’s the difference between a good meal and a great meal? I think it comes down to the environment you’re in. Great meals, for me, are nearly always unplanned. I’ve stumbled upon some of my most memorable meals: a simple plate of food and a glass of local wine in a small wine-making village, or a simple fish restaurant by the sea. When I have a great meal in London I usually don’t return to the same restaurant for ages because I want the memory to last forever. I find that, quite often, when you have a great meal, if you return too soon, it’s often not as good.
Photography by Clare Lattin
What’s on the menu? I will be serving an Italian Spring feast – a preview of small and sharing plates from our latest venue, Littleduck, which will be opening in early May on Dalston Terrace.
Photography by Clare Lattin