#INSPIREDBY RYAN CHETIYAWARDANA
Ryan is the busiest man in the drinks game. He founded the uber-cool White Lyan cocktail bar, and Dandelyan (now Lyaness) at Mondrian London, which both won multiple awards. He now runs bars in London, Amsterdam and the States, as well as consultancy arm “Mr Lyan Studio”.
What was one of the very first dishes you remember eating?
Mum was an amazing cook so we had a great relationship with food from a young age, so it is tragic to reveal that the first thought that comes to mind is being taken to McDonald's for the first time. I had no idea what was happening, and I distinctly remember being confused by my siblings glee at the idea. My mum obviously was absent and I recall McNuggets and a sugar rush – aka childhood euphoria. In the same vein, chocolate milkshakes at Little Chef on overly long roadtrips up to see family friends.
Who is your food hero?
Mama Chet. We were such nightmares. She bent to every tantrum and always made something amazing with no money – and the diversity of her cooking was incredible. She was vegetarian for so long – well, she was super fussy over the meat – and would make her own dish on the side, and still share it with us when we were envious. I remember being so embarrassed by her questions in restaurants. We now all personify and champion all the challenges, traits and habits she had been saying all along. She set the motions for the way I champion food – she always taught us to use the best you can, and be supportive of who you get your food from, strike balance, share liberally and note that delicious things can come from anywhere. Like all mothers, she was ahead of the herd.
What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Tinned fish and tinned peaches. Nutella. Ribena. Jack and coke. Mister Whippy. I'm both super fussy, and a trash bag.
Which restaurant to you long to return to?
Faviken, but that's sadly not likely anymore! Having done noma a few times in its former guise, I'm excited for 2.0.
What would be your last meal?
Bread and butter. Fried chicken, caviar, ice cream, Martinis, Burgundy, Scotch. Big table, friends and family, music and singing. And a game of chess with some Cognac and a creme brulee before it all ends.
What dish do you cook the most at home? And who shares it with you.
Pie. I love family style dishes, and I love making a pie and some veg and sitting around the table and chat late into the night. I live with Doug (McMaster) though, so living with one of the best chefs in the world means it's a scary task when it's my turn to cook.
What restaurant T-shirt would you wear?
St John, Black Axe Mangal and Silo – sure there's more friends' spots that would fit the bill, but these feel very close. Plus they each have ace graphics – BAM should just do a tee of Lee and Kate's cock drawings
I cycle with most things. But currently sprouting broccoli (purple, white or whatever)
English mustard, or anchovies if you allow it in the definition
Most over-rated dish?
Truffled carbs. Less than the sum of its parts. Adjunct gripe; throwing chillis into dishes it has no expectation to be in, and not listing it. I'm a spice wuss, sure, but this is just rude. America as a whole is very guilty of this.
Favourite restaurant not in the UK?
I tend to explore new spots when I visit somewhere on travels, so it's hard to develop a favourite. But I have great memories of drinking tonnes of sherry and eating delicious tapas at Quimet y Quimet with Iain in Barcelona, and it's now on my must visit for friends heading there. It's also a bottle shop, so you can grab any bottle off the walls and drink it in for an extra euro. You can do the same with the spirits. Divide the bottle cost by the number of shots, add a euro fifty. Mind blowing. Our tiny table was covered in food, a bottle of Palo Cortado, a bottle or vintage Recaredo and a handful of drams.
Favourite fast food joint?
McDonald's obviously. It's sinister brilliance. It's engineered, gratuitous and damaging, but there's no doubting its crown. Everyone tries to recreate the Big Mac and McNuggets – nostalgia wise, or in their flavour profile. Them golden arches corrupted the world's psyche. It's kinda worrying I've brought it up twice. My mum will kill me. My dad can't cook for shit, and once when my mum was away, we could sense his panic, so coerced him into taking us to McDonald's every day. We were so sick by the time my mum came back.
Breakfast in bed or in Hotel Restaurant?
In the restaurant – but probably as I am usually working
English Breakfast Tea or Long Black Coffee?
English Breakfast tea, of course. I'm currently cut back to about 10 cups a day
Martini - Gin or Vodka?
It alternates, I love both. But probably Gin, a la Libecans – ie extra everything. Wet, bitters, twist and olive
Ketchup or Mayo?
Stella or Boli?
London or New York?
London. Unrivalled – objectively, and from personal perspective.
City break or Hideaway?
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