Five minutes with… James Ramsden

One half of sandwich pros Sons + Daughters, and co-founder of Hackney restaurant Pidgin, on salt, good books and Guinness

Food and Drink 16 Mar 2020

Sons + Daughters

Sons + Daughters' James Ramsden (right) with co-founder Sam Herlihy

Tell us about your new sandwich collaboration series

Every couple of months we’re going to be linking up with a different chef, writer or personality to come up with a knockout special. It’s been great fun so far working with the boys at Pidgin and the spectacular Selin Kiazim of Oklava. We’ve got some crackers in the pipeline, too.

Sons + Daughters, King's Cross
Sons + Daughters, King’s Cross

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

Will Beckett of Hawksmoor recently said – and I paraphrase – you need to make decisions that work for both your business and your moral compass; in these alarming times, that seems like a pretty good rule for life.

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

I don’t know about role models, I suppose I try inadvertently to be a kind of Frankenstein’s monster of various people I admire, no doubt failing on all fronts.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Salt, obviously.

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

I was going to say a good book but now I feel this answer is incredibly dull. Sorry, I’ve been awake since 4am fretting about pandemics.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?

My kitchen table. Failing that, Brawn.

What do you like the most about your favourite London restaurant?

I honestly couldn’t really pick a favourite but sticking with Brawn, the natural light, the staff, the wine list and, most of all, the food, which is impeccably produced, unshowy, and never short of perfect.

What do you like to do on a day off?

Breakfast with the kids, a long run, chips and Guinness in Broadway Market while the kids dance to the busker, get some bits for dinner, go home, cook, sleep for eight hours.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?

The company of others, good films, better books, decent wine, sunshine, being outside, arguing with Sam (Pidgin and Sons + Daughters co-founder Sam Herlihy).

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

J.K. Rowling. We’d do a massive Harry Potter quiz. Imagine that. What fun.

The latest special, available until 30 April, is from Turkish-Cypriot chef Selin Kiazim of Oklava Bakery + Wine and features caramelised Swaledale beef, aged beef fat butter, beef scratchings, barrel-aged feta, za’atar, pickled onion served on baguette from Paul Rhodes Bakery.