FESTIVAL Q + A: Ian Puddick, Old Bakery Gin
Christine Smallwood has been probing some of our Enfield Food Festival heroes with her Hothouse Q + A. In the hot seat today, Ian Puddick of Old Bakery Gin,
What’s your favourite food business in Enfield?
Holtwhite’s Bakery. It’s a lovely little place that does lots of things other than bake. They’re nice people and it’s friendly. They’ve started something unique, and created something in a short period of time that isn’t just a copy of what’s up the road.
What is your signature dish, or the most popular dish you cook at home?
Beef stroganoff. My Mum’s Austrian. Loads of paprika, obviously, and loads of sour cream and chopped chives on top.
Who is your food or drinks hero?
Allen Daly from Gerry’s Wine and Spirits. It’s on Compton Street and it’s an institution. It’s an old-fashioned off licence, and I say that in the kindest sense. It’s like a 70s off licence, it’s still the same and has been for 40, 50 years, nothing’s changed. They have everything in there. When I was starting, I went to see Allen, the buyer and he gave me loads of advice, for example to change “illegal” to “illicit” on our label. He said, “if you make a decent gin, I’ll stock it for you. So they were my first stockist!
What’s your most memorable meal, and why?
Fish and chips at Randall & Aubin in Soho when I spoke to René, the manager, about how I was just playing around with gin and I had no idea where it was going. I just sat there enthusiastically telling him the story, and within a short period of time I was making gin but I didn’t know that would happen when I was talking to him. They were my first customer, so that was very memorable!
Your favourite vegetable and way of eating it?
Brussels sprouts, followed by carrots sautéed in butter with black pepper on top. Fantastic!
Is there a food that other food lovers rave about, but that you don’t get, or like?
“Oysters. I just don’t get oysters. I delivered to Whitstable last week. We took 3 days off and we stayed in an old Anderson shelter on the beach. My friends were saying, make sure you try the oysters. And I just don’t get it. If you put Tabasco in them you can get the Tabasco, but I don’t get it whatsoever. I don’t bother with them.”