Five minutes with… Clive Fretwell

The head chef at London's Brasserie Blanc on working for his role model, the wonders of the outdoors and his dream dinner guest

Food and Drink 5 Jun 2019

Clive Fretwell of Brasserie Blanc
Fishcake at Brasserie Blanc
Rhubarb and custard at Brasserie Blanc
Gunpowder chicken at Brasserie Blanc

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why? 

I applied to work for Raymond just after leaving college. He told me to go to France and learn my profession. I did. This experience was the key that opened every door that I later knocked upon.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?

Raymond Blanc. His passion and understanding of food, flavours, textures and combinations is unequalled.

 What ingredient can you not live without and why?

The simple things like limes and lemons. Flavours explode into life with just a few drops of their juice, transforming everything they come into contact with.

What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?

My wife.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?

Barrafina for its informal, relaxed service, offering consistently well cooked, well-seasoned, well-presented and very, very tasty food.

What do you like to do on a day off?

I’m a huge fan of being outdoors, picking fruit, foraging, growing fruits, herbs and spices, for making wines and chutneys.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?

My family: especially my two granddaughters. Time is so precious.

If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?

I would love to be cooking with Raymond for Andrea Bocelli; it would be hard to imagine one of the world’s greatest singers eating a meal that I had helped to create with one of the world’s greatest chefs.