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IN CONVERSATION WITH: PARIS ROSINA
Ex head chef of the Dusty Knuckle Bakery, Paris Rosina enjoys bringing the dishes of her youth to life, by adding garishly decadent twists to retro classics like prawn cocktail and chicken Kievs.
To celebrate the launch of her menu, the second in our Spotlight Emerging Chefs series, we spoke to Paris about her life in food, from how she got started as a chef, to her favourite snacks, spices and dessert island dish.
How did you get started in food?
When I was young, I was obsessed with cookery shows. I hated school so cooking was a form of escapism for me. After leaving school, I started working in the kitchen at a local pub, then moved from different kitchens before settling at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery, where I worked as head chef for three years. I loved it there and learned so much, but decided I wanted to do my own thing, so I left in September 2021 and started putting on supper clubs.
How would you describe your cooking?
It’s the kind of food your nan would make, but a lot sexier! I love taking the retro dishes of my childhood like prawn cocktail and chicken Kievs and putting my own decadent spin on them.
What piece of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A ladle. My friends jokingly call me a dinner lady because I love feeding people and serving up generous portions – and what’s a dinner lady without her ladle?!
Which chefs inspire you?
I like the proper oldies like Keith Floyd, Two Fat Ladies and even a bit of Fanny Craddock!
What’s your go-to meal at the end of a long day?
It’s spaghetti with a really oily, garlicky tomato sauce.
What’s your favourite spice?
This is a really hard question. I do have some punchier favourites that have heat and lots of flavour, but I believe I’m known for trying to get nutmeg and white pepper into everything I make, so I’d have to say those! In fact, there’s white pepper and nutmeg in my Dishpatch menu.
What are your favourite restaurants in London?
I don’t have a favourite restaurant, but my favourite place to go is Leo’s Café in Stoke Newington. Salman knows my order, he knows where I sit and when I go in, he asks me “the usual, Paris?”, which is set two, the full English with scrambled eggs and tinned plum tomatoes.
What’s your favourite city or country for a foodie trip?
Well, obviously we’re really lucky to live in London because you can eat pretty much whatever you want here. But my best early memories are of being holiday in Turkey – I remember having midye dolma, which is stuffed mussels, and it was just so delicious. I also loved eating sardines by the sea in Porto, Portugal. Basically eating some fish by the sea is well up there!
What’s your favourite shop-bought snack?
Crab sticks with a bit of Marie Rose sauce. Or a chocolate Yazoo milkshake that’s been in the freezer for 45 minutes so that it’s ice cold.. it’s perfect.