My good friend Nigel Kershaw was telling me yesterday that he survives all the charity and public dinners he attends with the inevitable rubber chicken by taking chillies with him. Once, when attending one such dinner in Birmingham, he forgot to bring some so he nipped out to a local curry pub and explained his predicament and offered to buy some. They thought it so funny they gave him a bagful for free.
A famous and glamorous New York chef once proudly told me she always keeps a bottle of Tabasco in her handbag.
All around us, we’re turning up the heat. My best Christmas present this year was a collection of chillies from around the world. We’re all becoming familiar with Scoville Scale and I keep reading articles about the health benefits of hot food.
And to bring it home, where do you think the world’s hottest chilli is grown? Mexico? India? Nope it’s south Devon. So it seems we’re progressing to becoming a nation of chilliholics.
It’s a myth (perpetuated by many immigrant communities as well as stalwarts of French cuisine) to say that developing a taste for hot food numbs the palate for more subtle western dishes but if you do find yourself in constant need of a spice kick, don’t let that put you off coming to Roast. Our new head chef Marcus has placed that most British of dishes on the menu – a curry.