Desert island dishes

What are the caterers’ favourite foods?

Luke Consiglio
Managing director, The Pantry

Eggs… all eggs!
A quick omelette, or slow-cooked scrambled eggs on toast. What would a full English be without a fried egg to dip your toast into, or a benedict without a runny poached egg? Eggs, the true hero of breakfast times!

Maltese pastizzi
My father is Maltese, and one of my earliest memories of visiting is of buying pastizzis from a small local bakery. Thay are a diamond-shaped, savoury parcel, made from a filo-type pastry and filled with either ricotta cheese or curried peas. The ricotta ones are to die for.

Great auntie Connie’s ravioli
Another memory from my childhood is of my great auntie Connie handmaking tables full of ravioli, which would take her all afternoon but were more than worth the effort. Then, when it came to dinner there, were no TVs, no phones, just friends and family sitting around enjoying each other’s company – and the ravioli. Luckily for me, she’s kindly passed these skills on to my mum, meaning I don’t need to wait for a holiday to enjoy them!

My wife’s bolognaise
It’s by no means traditional, but it’s very delicious! Mushrooms and a pinch of chilli flakes have taken this dish to the next level. We have this dish every week and of course have named it ‘pasta night’!

Handmade pizza
I’m that guy who has a pizza oven in the garden, and come rain or shine, my wife is pointing me to the garden to fire up the oven. I remember when I first decided to purchase one, people told me, ‘You’ll hardly ever use it’. But it’s become such a regular occurrence for me and my children that if I’m not at the office, I’m probably in the garden.

My children are always involved in the process, from start to finish. We make all of the dough by hand, they stretch their own bases, top them with far too much cheese – then I cook, and they eat! Not too bad for seven- and five-year-olds (I have three daughters, but the one-year-old isn’t quite ready for pizza yet).

Roast dinner – Christmas Dinner, in particular
For me, it’s the one meal that stops everything and everyone, and we all come together to enjoy it. Whatever the meat, perfect roast potatoes, crispy Yorkshire puddings, delicious veggies and gravy, all served from the centre of the table, it’s the ultimate social dinner. The only painful bit about a roast dinner is admitting that my mother-in-law makes better gravy than I do!

Apple crumble
My favourite dessert, topped with custard and ice cream – nothing more to say. It was a very close call between crumble and cinnamon buns, but the Crumble just takes it.

Barbecue ribeye steak
Barbecue for me means three things: the sun is shining, family and friends are socialising, and I’m just about to eat a ribeye steak!

What one book would you take with you?
A book that covers how to fish, make fire and not die! I’m sure there will be a Bear Grylls book that will cover that and much more.

What luxury item would you take with you?
A boat, a helicopter… anything to get me off of the dessert island. I’ve got work in the morning!

If you were only allowed one dish, which would it be?
All of my favourite dishes aren’t just based around the food itself, but the emotional connection I have with them. The combination of the great food and the memories of the events are that surround them. But if I had to choose then Christmas Dinner for the win! The variety would keep me from going crazy.

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