In between chef gigs at some of the UK’s best restaurants, Stevie has travelled and worked all over the world, eating in people’s homes and restaurants, and picking up techniques and ingredients that have greatly influenced his style. Stevie’s ‘Moveable Kitchen’ project, where he set himself up in various locations around London and cooked menus based on his travels, the season and famous food writers, led to the opening of his very own restaurant, The Dock Kitchen in west London. Stevie is currently working on his fourth book and plans to open a new restaurant next year.
Q&A with Steve
The best breakfast in the world?
String hoppers – rice noodle pancakes
Kiri hodi – coconut broth
Sambol – punchy fresh coconut pickle
What makes Sri Lanka a wonderful food destination?
Sri Lankan food is delicate and delicious in a way rarely found in neighbouring India. Good food is accessible without having to eat only on the street and the ingredients are of great quality. Though there isn’t a vibrant street-food scene, the modern restaurant culture is dynamic and exciting. The multitude of spices used (mostly cinnamon and cardamom, but increasingly vanilla and pepper) makes it a fascinating destination for spice lovers.
What makes Malaysia a great food destination?
Malaysia is a fascinating mix of cultures and subsequently cuisines, from the amazing penang asam laksa of the brilliant Nonya cuisine (Chinese-Malaysians) to the ubiquitous flaky croissant-like flatbread known as roti canai (an Indian import from Chennai), or the truly wonderful hot and sour fish head curry, a pre-mosque Friday staple of the Muslim population. Amazing food is everywhere in Malaysia.
What ingredients encapsulate Cambodia cuisine?
Cambodian food is all about green and black pepper. In Cambodia, the quality of this much-overlooked spice is unrivalled anywhere else in the world. When you eat it, you almost get the flavours of a thousand spices in one.
What ingredients encapsulate Sri Lankan cuisine?
When thinking about Sri Lankan food I always smell the alluring, comforting aroma of cinnamon. Almost all the ‘true’ cinnamon in the world still comes from this gem of an island.
What is something specific to Malaysian food culture that you find fascinating?
Malaysian food is amazing because it is genuinely fusion cuisine. They have adopted and adapted the food cultures of so many places to create something whole and truly their own – an exciting, intoxicating mix of Chinese, Indian and South-East Asian flavours.
Don’t leave Cambodia without…
Having kampot pepper crab. I often cite this brilliant stir-fried, soft-shell crab with fresh peppercorns as the reason I wanted to be a chef.