A Harvey Nichols Foodhall is always a safe bet when you’re looking for something delicious and beautiful, and a big reason for this is the bright buying eye of Kelly Molloy. One of our favourite faces at food trade shows because she always has a new recommendation and a good conversation.
In this latest ‘A Panad with… ‘ feature, we discuss why having a chef boyfriend isn’t as good as it sounds and what to eat when you need something quick and tasty.
WHO TAUGHT YOU TO LOVE FOOD?
My parents, of course! Dad loved bringing home seafood and new foods to try. And an ex-boyfriend was a chef so he introduced me to going out and trying things more, and new places. He didn’t cook that much at home, though, unfortunately…
WHERE DO YOU GO OUT TO EAT?
I love trying new places and have a big list of places in London to go to. I love the informal vibe that is going on – lots of sharing, lots of grilling, lots of international flavours. Recent favourites have been Japanese restaurant Kurobuta (which has just opened at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge) and Smoking Goat (Soho).
WHAT’RE YOUR THREE FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS?
Avocado, cheese, coffee. Wait, coffee isn’t an ingredient, is it? But is an essential and actually works really well if added to chocolate cake or pudding, as it introduces a slight bitter edge. Also, salt, of course!
WHAT DOES HALEN MON GO BEST WITH?
Avocado, tomatoes, roast chicken, eggs.
DESCRIBE WALES IN FIVE WORDS
Beautiful, natural, friendly, views, outdoors.
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY FOOD PLEASURE?
I don’t have a sweet tooth, but my grandmother’s cake with streusel on top, or scones with jam and cream. In all other cases it is cheese. Lots of cheese.
WHERE DO YOU THINK IS AN EXCITING FOOD SCENE OR CITY?
I really love what London is doing right now. The street food scene, the championing of techniques yet with simplicity and lots of flavours, the diversity – and too many places to try! Also, Brooklyn (I know it is part of a bigger city), but there are lots of exciting things coming out of Brooklyn and especially Williamsburg at the moment. They have a certain style that is unique, interesting and makes me want to visit.
WHAT’S THE MOST UNDERUSED INGREDIENT?
Salt – don’t know why people are scared of using it. Use a good quality salt and the flavour shines through. It enhances.
I’m also a huge fan of Japanese ingredients – particularly miso, mirin, dashi… so simple to use, and with lots of umami impact. We stock an excellent range of Japanese cooking ingredients range in our Foodmarket, with the best miso pastes, seaweed, wasabi and matcha tea (an underused ingredient in cooking).
WHAT DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU GET HOME FROM A LONG DAY AT WORK?
If I’m after something quick, really tasty and good for me, I make my own version of ramen or miso soup. Stock, miso, lots of veg, sometimes noodles (but often not), some kind of protein (prawns are perfect for this, or tofu) – sometimes I poach an egg in the broth. Sometimes I make it more Vietnamese and instead of miso add ginger, chilli, cardamom and cloves instead, and any herbs I have in the fridge. The perfect, quick one-pot dish.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COOKBOOK?
I have a LOT of cookbooks as they make great reading. I just need to use them more, rather than gleaning ideas and going off-piste and doing my own thing. There are always stacks of cook books next to where I am sitting, as we stock a selection of cookbooks in Harvey Nichols sites – more often than not we manage to snag a few books signed by the authors too.
The first book that ever made me sit up and think, “wow, I can do this” was Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking. I also have The Joy Of Cooking, which has just about everything in it. Sometimes you just want to know how to make a basic cake or recipe, not a pimped up version, and this has all of that – it has just about everything and it should do, it is huge! I have used Bill Granger’s cook books a lot over the years as well.
Images: Kelly Molloy