What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why?
Never give up! You learn the most from your setbacks and challenges.
Who is your role model?
There are too many to mention but a couple stick out. Alain Ducasse really inspires me; he draws on classic techniques and puts a contemporary twist on his dishes. In the Japanese food world, chef Hirohisa Koyama changed the way I saw Japanese cuisine and was so ahead of his time.
What ingredient can you not live without?
Garlic and yuzu.
What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?
Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
Riva, a small Italian restaurant in Barnes that I have been eating in for years, and the River Café is our family favourite for special occasions.
What do you like to do on a day off?
My favourite way to spend my time off is with my family.
Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
Motor racing – I try to fit it into my spare time as much as possible.
If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?
Steve McQueen – he was a great racing driver and actor with universal appeal.
Zuma has 13 sites globally including the flagship restaurant in Knightsbridge, which opened in 2002. Rainer’s latest venture, modern Japanese restaurant Inko Nito in Soho, specialises in robata-cooked dishes; zumarestaurant.com; inkonitorestaurant.com