1. Crudités at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. I first heard about this place on the Netflix series Chef’s Table and became obsessed with owner Dan Barber’s almost entirely farm to table cooking. We sat through a never ending tasting menu which was nothing short of astounding and I’ve never tasted vegetables quite like it.
2. Blackberry, douglas fir and chestnut at The Forest Side in Cumbria. Recently awarded its first Michelin star, this “fairytale gothic mansion” is a brilliant restaurant with 20 gorgeous rooms. I’d say the food is up there with L’enclume.
3. Crispy pig tails at SMOKESTACK in Shoreditch. Don’t you just love crispy pig tails? Well, if you don’t, you will after a visit here. These tails are brined, slow cooked and deep fried – the result is a little nuggets of pork fat both crisp and soft. Pure heaven.
4. Grouse pithivier at Holborn Dining Room. Exec chef Calum Franklin is pretty masterful when it comes to pastry (his beef Wellington is a thing to behold) but there was something rather special about this round French pastry pie. The grouse was cooked perfectly too which can’t be easy.
5. Ibérico pork ribs at Pizarro on Bermondsey Street. It was an evening hosted by his pork supplier, Cinco Jotas, where we ate endless amounts of the 100% Iberian pig. These ribs were insanely fatty – right up my street.
6. 21 oz Aberdeen Angus T Bone at The Colony Grill – proof that when a marvellous piece of meat is cooked perfectly it’s a wonderful thing. The restaurant (owned by Corbin and King in The Beaumont, their first hotel) is old school glamour at its best.
7. The Colonel burger at Chick ‘n’ Sours. This is their second restaurant, now in Seven Dials, and it’s consistently the best fried chicken I’ve eaten. This burger is huge (you could share it) with the crispest coating and most succulent chick you’ll find.
8. Suckling pig at The Whitebrook in Wales. It’s a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms slab bang in a secluded part of the Wye Valley. Chef Chris Harrod sources everything locally and this pig was worth the journey to Wales.
9. Saddle of Welsh lamb cooked on board the Belmond British Pullman. It was a one off dinner cooked by legendary Irish chef Richard Corrigan as we chugged through the Surrey countryside. The whole pomp and glamour of the evening made it one I’ll never forget.