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Best of times, worst of times: Max Palmer

Categories: Behind the stalls

The likes and dislikes of Max Palmer of Alsop and Walker

Fantasy job
I have always imagined I would like to run a small hub of arts, music, photography, with a vinyl cafe attached to it. That would combine a lot of my interests and really appeal to me.

Worst job
I worked in a chip shop when I was a teenager and all I was allowed to do was peel potatoes. I never got to do any of the frying or even serving. I remember that being used as an army punishment in old comedies. They weren’t wrong.

Last good film you saw
The Circle, which is about a tech company and their ability to take over and control the lives of everyone around them through the technology we all use. It was a bit of a frightening vision of where we may be heading. If we are not partly there already.

Favourite holiday destination
Japan. I am really intrigued by their history, culture and, of course, Japanese cuisine.

Favourite childhood meal
Easy, my mother’s shepherd’s pie. I sometimes make shepherd’s pie myself, but it comes nowhere near my mum’s supreme efforts.

Signature dish
I like cooking and enjoy making a wide variety of dishes, but the thing that comes out best is a traditional roast chicken with garlic and lemon, with all the trimmings.

Best recent meal
That was in the WastED pop-up held at the top of Selfridges. It was run by Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant in New York. The meal was delicious but what was more important was the fact that he was serving top quality high-end dishes, based entirely on food that would have been thrown away.

Worst kitchen disaster
I was baking some apples and stretched some rubber bands around them to hold everything together. The apples then exploded in the oven making an awful mess. The worst thing was, the few bits I managed to rescue didn’t taste very nice.

Favourite drink
It is a cocktail called ‘The last word’ which is mezcal and gin-based. I like to drink it as my dessert after a Sunday lunch.

Least favourite drink
Probably advocaat. I have horrendous memories of drinking it at Christmas when I was younger. Snowballs featured heavily.

Food hero
The forager Miles Irving. He is very real, out in the countryside picking fresh herbs and spices— food that the land has produced for us—and deals with wildlife in a very ecologically sound way.

Best gig
Live Aid. It’s impossible to explain what a special day that was.

Favourite thing about London
The diversity of cultures and food cultures.

Least favourite thing about London
It’s one big construction site. The scaffolders must be making a fortune.

Best recent book
I reread Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is an incredible, powerful book that has nothing to do with the films or the image of Frankenstein that has grown up around them.

Biggest bug bear
How dirty the city is. It could and should be much cleaner.

Hangover cure
A bloody Mary with a raw egg dropped on top.