We are truly delighted to announce a collaboration with one of Britain’s most treasured chefs, Alastair Little. He will be reimagining some of his classic recipes - dishes that you know and love, but might typically associate with Italy, France, Greece, even Morocco - using Spanish ingredients. And all peppered with his irascible wit. We are so excited, this is going to be fun!
A lifetime friendship with the godfather of modern British cooking...
Brindisa’s relationship with Alastair goes back over 30 years. In fact, he was one of our very first customers! In the early 90s I took my basket of Spanish goodies round town to London’s best chefs; pulses, anchovies, chorizos, saffron and sheep's cheese. Bundles of different flavours, colours, aromas and textures.
My plan was to persuade the most innovative chefs at the time to try my ingredients in their recipes and on their cheese boards. It was exhilarating, and I remember being quite insistent, as I have a habit of being (I’m told!). Alastair eventually agreed - probably to stop me badgering him…
At the time Alastair was Chef Proprietor at his eponymous Soho restaurant in Frith Street, and featured regularly on TV - according to a fellow restauranteur Simon Slater… “Alastair gets more publicity than Princess Diana”.
Having Alastair as an early customer was a big deal for me, and I’m sure encouraged others to try Spanish ingredients, the quality of which were then quite a surprise to many.
His short form menus, which changed twice-daily, focussed on the best seasonal produce available - and, radically at the time, no cover charge. Alastair’s approach was ascetic, both in the decor at his restaurant and his ‘keep it simple approach’ to flavoursome dishes.
He led a revolution away from nouvelle cuisine; some even referred to him as the ‘godfather of modern British cooking.’
"It was like a gastronomic meeting of minds. Alastair represented so many things that I was driven by at the time, and have remained faithful to throughout the 34 years of Brindisa. A sense of food adventure. An unshakeable commitment to food integrity. Inspiring others with fresh dining ideas. And an impossible possible mindset."
Alastair went on to set up Tavola, Notting Hill’s trendiest deli. And then founded the UK’s first gourmet meals, cooked-to-order, delivered fresh, online business - By Alastair Little.
Both demonstrated how wonderful it can be enjoying outstanding food at home, without the drama of complex cooking, or the time associated with it. So many of us lead ‘time poor’ lives, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of convenience food, or uninspiring takeaways!
Throughout Alastair has remained a consistent Brindisa customer, so when the opportunity arose for us to collaborate with him, I leapt at the chance.
Fresh spin on the traditional
Over the years Alastair he has always found ways to include our Spanish ingredients on his shopping list. The whole of the Med shares a strong food culture, making it easy to innovate dishes with regional ingredients.
So we have persuaded Alastair to scour the annals of his recipe archive and reimagine some of them using Spanish ingredients. The dishes that you know and love, but might typically associate with Italy, France, Greece - even Morocco - re-worked with a fresh approach, and celebrating the quality of Spanish products that offer a different flavour profile; even enhanced. But I would say that!
Alastair’s recipes for Brindisa will remain faithful to his keep it simple philosophy. So they are easy to follow, and ok to try yourself 'Because Al says so'.
Each week we will publish a new recipe developed by Alastair, featuring his trademark introductions - which are always highly entertaining, inspiring and typically idiosyncratic!
Don’t be surprised to learn about Sophia Loren's favourite pasta sauce, or why to avoid French (and indeed English) asparagus. Alastair has an opinion on just about everything, and doesn’t pull any punches!
Each recipe will feature some ingredients that are, unashamedly available from Brindisa. And we will make it easy for you to buy those on brindisa.com. We would like you try some of our products that you might not already be aware of. But most importantly we want to give you a weekly reason to visit our website to see what Alastair has cooked-up, to inspire you, and to make your cooking life easier that week.
Each recipe will also feature a 'Little Tip', some of which were new to me, and I immediately adopted. They are so simple and obvious, once they are pointed out!
To start the series we have Chicken Pimentón, Alastair’s spin on his classic roast chicken with paprika recipe.
Please do look out for other recipes coming. They will be seasonally appropriate, follow the availability of the best produce throughout the year, and the way we feel our appetites adjusting along with the weather. You will find the library building on the website for easy reference, however you feel like eating at the time.
I do hope you enjoy this collaboration. I’m very excited, it should be fun!