Sally Clarke, Clarke's Restaurant, Shop & Bakery interview with David Prior, International Editor Conde Nast Traveler
Sally Clarke has been described as a ‘quiet revolutionary’.
From the day Sally opened her eponymous restaurant in Kensington, London she did it her way. She has a passionate belief in the importance of the freshness and seasonality of everything she serves. Not swayed by the latest trend, Sally has stuck to her beliefs and 23 years on her business continues to thrive.
Sally Clarke is not afraid to speak her mind. The chef is so evangelical about eating according to the seasons that when our photographer asks her to pose with piles of fruit and vegetables, she refuses to be snapped with any produce not available in autumn. “Anything used out of season gets my hackles up,” she says sternly, as I sheepishly nudge apricots and tomatoes to one side. “To see asparagus on a menu in November is depressing, because you know it hasn’t come from Norfolk or Cambridgeshire. It must have been shipped from somewhere in the southern hemisphere, and it can’t taste of that freshness, that peak of brightness. It loses its specialness.”
Clarke has always been a quiet revolutionary. When she opened her London restaurant, Clarke’s, in 1984, her diners had no choice what they ate: she simply served them a four-course menu based on whatever had caught her eye at the market that morning. “I had some rather snooty Kensington people saying,” – she mimics an upper-class accent – “ 'Where’s the real menu?’ But I wanted to present a menu that was perfect for that day. If it was 90 degrees in the shade outside, I wanted a beautiful chilled salad on a plate that had come out of the fridge. If it was a winter’s day, we’d put something warming and comforting and stew-ish on the table. The menu would still be being tweaked and refined almost until we unlocked the doors for dinner service.” Leah Hysloyp interview in The Telegraph
Date: Sunday 21st May
Venue: Ballymaloe House