20 questions with Jamie Hazeel and Lalie Jacout, the duo behind The Wandering Chef
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
J: I set myself mad challenges and put myself in ridiculous positions so I don’t get lazy or complacent. Working with Lalie seems pretty true to form.
L: Professionally speaking, a desire to create eating experiences I would actually want to go to. Privately, I couldn’t possible say.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
L: “Che sera, sera but a good meal and a drink always makes it better”.
J: Hey! That’s my family motto! Well the first bit… I’d have to go for “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all”.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?
J: People who talk about their favourite burgers.
L: Fair enough those buggers do annoy me but Putin takes the biscuit.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
J: Our lives are pretty hectic these days. So really, having no responsibilities. In other words guilt free lie-ins.
L: Ditto. And my mother cooking for me every day. I have Jamie now though so it’s all fine.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
L: True love, Princess Bride style.
J: This is a public forum, Lalie, you might get just get lucky… To be honest I’d call swapping a fiver for an easy life a good deal…
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
J: Money gives options and capitalism opens up opportunities. The banking system should be a facilitator not an end in itself.
L: Banking should only be as complicated as is possible without computers.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
L: “We have run out of mayonnaise”.
J: You’re such a fatty. I can’t stand being told that something is not possible. Where there is a will, there is always a way.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
J: I am a great believer in small acts of kindness and making a difference for the people you come across. If everyone did that charities would become redundant.
L: Any charity, at home or not, is a good cause. However it’s very sad how badly some charities are run. At The Wandering Chef we enjoy a very close relationship with an amazing charity called StreetSmart, whose efforts to help the homeless are exemplary.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
L: I was high-minded about this sort of thing until I was introduced to Candy Crush.
J: I can be the worst offender. I have a panic attack if my iPhone runs out of battery. If we are talking ideals, I’d say never in preference to real company.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
J: I have had rather a wonderful and unusual journey since I left schools and have shared it with many colourful characters. Most of them have never met. I’d love to see them all in the same room- or carriage. I think it would be a vast amount of fun.
L: A group of my dearest friends. Rhey know who they are. And Patrick Rothfuss. Oh, and probably Ryan Reynolds and Benedict Cumberbatch too.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
L: A porcini risotto with a boulder sized white truffle and a bottle of Macon in La Fontana.
J: Think La Grande Bouffe or François Mitterand’s last feast. The menu would be longer than this article, the food would be exquisite and the whole experience, a rambunctious celebration of vast excess. It would have to be held in a sultry dark room somewhere or on top of a remote Mediterranean cliff.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
J: It depends how long the party continues… 8am is perfectly acceptable if you are still up.
L: It depends on the occasion. You don’t have to have been up all night to have champagne with breakfast, Jamie.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
L: Sometimes it seems as if my life revolves around Jamie’s next cup of tea. The world stops until his cravings are satisfied. A martini at Dukes with my best friend Kim is one of my life’s great pleasures.
J: Lalie is right: My day is dictated by tea and cigarettes. I’d love to say the same was true of a martini but unfortunately I can’t drink them all day long.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
J: My idea of absolute heaven is getting roaringly drunk with Lalie’s family.
L: Ditto. I learnt from my mother. I learnt from the best.
Who is the most positive person you know?
L: Jamie: He is planning The Wandering Chef’s meteoric rise to stardom every day.
J: Well things don’t happen unless you think they can. The most positive person I know is my puppy, Leo. He always knows he’s going to get what he wants.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
J: Far too many to relate; so little space and so many lapses in taste. Most of them food related. Can I avoid listing them by being flippant and saying having a girlfriend?
L: Fantasty novels and dreadful television. Now lets list some of Jamie’s: cheap Chinese, cheap Thai, YO! Sushi, fruity ciders, neon taramasalata and the most disgusting builder’s fry-ups (I like a good one). He’s still an excellent cook.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
L: This won’t come off.
J: I wouldn’t have one. Can’t I have a piercing instead?
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
J: A 60’s Mercedes convertible: A little old fashioned, surprisingly reliable and just cool enough.
L: A Fasel Vega; A bit French, a bit in your face and a bit outdated.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
L: More fun the other way around. The most surprising thing about Jamie is his huge capacity for compassion. And his deep-seated fear of the tube.
J: The most surprising thing about Lalie is how scarily efficient she is. She keeps her food chopping skills fairly tight under wraps these days too.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
J: Very weird stuff. I have just moved house and nothing has a home. Some scissors, a pot of mustard, a Tibetan artifact and a few lighters.
L: I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore.
Jamie Hazeel and Lalie Jacout are the duo behind the London based The Wandering Chef. They specialise in pop up restaurants.
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