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In the name of the father

Categories: News and previews

Chef and dad Luke Mackay gives us a preview of his Friday demo, where he’ll be cooking his dream Father’s Day menu and paying tribute to Anthony Bourdain

“So, I’ve read about this one. Apparently they do a HISTORIC goat offal shish kebab. They don’t have a menu—the man just brings you stuff.”

“Is there a kid’s menu though?” Meekly, I reply: “I just said—they do goat offal.” (LOL.)

“I meant ‘children’s’ menu. Let’s go to that one that does pizza, shall we?”

I am writing this from the Turquoise Coast of Turkey—the beautiful fishing village of Kalkan, to be precise. We’ve been here for almost two weeks and it is my daughter’s second birthday today. She’s demanding Peppa Pig on my laptop as I write. You see the conversation above? There is a variation on that theme every single day.

Such is the life of a dad.

That my wife is pregnant with number three adds another layer of complexity and jeopardy to each and every familial transaction. I have found (too late) that smiling sweetly and saying “sure, why not?” to everything is the easiest way to avoid potential harm.

My gaping maw
But we’re home tomorrow and it’s Father’s Day this week. My day! My SPECIAL day! I wonder what treats shall shower down upon my person; what sonnets shall be composed in my honour and what delicious porcine breakfast morsels shall be fed direct to my gaping maw by my adoring wife and children? Last year I had some muesli because “I thought you were on a diet” and went to Kew Gardens “because they’ve got a lovely soft play area there”.

Blessed as of course I am, as soon as you become a father you slip with dizzying speed to the bottom of the family pyramid. I currently stand at sixth, significantly behind ‘the bump’ and desperately scrabbling for fifth place against Ruby. The cat.

So! When I was asked to do the Father’s Day Demo Kitchen on Friday, the first word that popped into my mind was “selfish”. I’m going to cook the meal that I want to eat without the slightest consideration for children, pregnancy or the fact that my wife’s desert island dish would be a prawn cocktail.

Food and writing hero
Writing my menu has also, tragically, coincided with the death of my food and writing hero, Anthony Bourdain, a father too. He more than anyone else is why I stepped tentatively into the world of food 20 years ago, after reading his seminal work Kitchen Confidential. He loved the ‘nasty bits’; the feet and the snout, the marrow and the gizzards. He gave me the motivation and courage to try anything once and he would be the first name on my fantasy dinner party list. I’ll miss him.

On Friday I’m going to start with a whiskey sour, move on to crisp, hot oysters cooked in Iberico ham fat with bottarga and lemon, then offal with seven spice and sumac flat breads and finish with a moist bakewell tart, my favourite but oft denied by my frangipane-hating wife. So, oysters, offal, whiskey and almonds… all beloved by me and hated by my family. A three-course meal dedicated to writer, traveller and inspiration, Anthony Bourdain—and me. A dad.

Join Luke for tips, tastings and recipes Friday 15th June in the Market Hall, 1-2:30pm