Do you think the public are tiring of “food porn”?
It’s still so popular. Nigella’s obviously the most porny of the food porn. She’s so luscious. I must admit I am amazed how much food TV is still made. My idea of a great food TV show is where you learn something other than the personality of the presenter. And I like it when you get a bit of history and bit of knowledge and something other than just a big ego trip for the chef.
What food programmes do you watch?
I like watching Junior MasterChef Australia. It’s more than a cooking show – it’s brilliant.
What would you request for your last meal?
It’s never changed since someone first asked me 15 years ago. It’s a crispy duck leg coconut red curry on sticky rice with lots of coriander. Pudding would be alphonso mangoes, which is a mango you get in Pakistan and India. They’re the same shape as a Thai green mango, but they’ve got a golden skin. It truly is the best mango in the entire world.
Name six people you’d invite to the ultimate dinner party.
It would be my partner Al; the composer Gustav Mahler; Romeo and Juliet (I’d tell them to run away from their families); I’d like Hilary Mantel because I’m reading Wolf Hall at the moment and it’s the most incredible book, and I imagine she’s fairly fabulous; and Lady Gaga.
What would you be if you couldn’t be a chef?
I used to want to be an architect when I was a kid, but I think I’d rather one day design a house than be the architect. So a gardener or a potter. I collect ceramics, and I love gardening, so it would be one of those.
Do you have any embarrassing habits?
What I find hilarious about me is I sing a lot, but I never know any of the words but I think that I do. I’m appalling with lyrics and my tune doesn’t always work, but I like to think I sing quite well.
What’s the best lesson you’ve ever learnt?
Either how to fillet a fish or drive a car. In terms of what’s been useful in my life, I think filleting a fish tops the list.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve been?
Ladakh, northeast of Kashmir. I went there in 1986. I stayed with a local family and the head of the family was a female Buddhist monk and she was fabulous. I drank salted yak-milk tea and the scenery was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. They describe it as similar to being on the Moon. It was just beautiful.
When was the last time you cried?
I get a bit teary even when I read news in the paper, like when I heard that nurse in London had taken her life. Just the sadness. I’m often teary.
It’s only useful if you’re in London, but it’s an Addison Lee minicab app. This time of year, getting a normal black cab is a nightmare, so I use this on my BlackBerry.
You still have a BlackBerry?
I know – I’ve got an iPad and a MacBook Pro at home, but I use this BlackBerry and the annoying thing is they no longer sync with Apples. So I’m feeling like the BlackBerry will soon be departed, but it’s really sad because I love it.
Favourite stretch of road?
From Istanbul Airport to Müzedechanga restaurant. Atatürk Airport is quite modern, then you drive along the coast and suddenly come to the stretch of road where the Bosphorus hits the harbour, then you drive across the Golden Horn bridge, then you go along the waterfront past Sultanahmet and Topkapı Palace and Pera Palace and you go under two huge bridges, and then you arrive at Müzedechanga and it’s just beautiful. The history is just incredible. The first time I did it back in 2000, I was just blown away. I’ve been there about 50 times since and it never ceases to amaze me.
EVERYDAY, by Peter Gordon (HarperCollins, RRP $49.99).