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An Inteview With Chef Allan Pickett Of Piquet

Allan Pickett | Courtesy of Roche Communications
Allan Pickett | Courtesy of Roche Communications
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Updated: 30 November 2016
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Based in Fitzrovia, Allan Pickett’s Piquet blends classic French with a dash of English cuisine in a cosmopolitan atmosphere. We had a quick catch-up with the chef and restauranteur to discuss London’s thriving restaurant scene, Snail Pithivier and having the best of both worlds.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

I have so many but meeting my business partner Andre Blais is the best thing that has happened to me, without him I wouldn’t even be here. He’s an amazing mentor and we just clicked when we met the first time.

What is the best thing about being a chef?

The role I do now encompasses so many different areas of the restaurant and the learning curve is vertical most days, because you are constantly up against time pressures and making positive tweaks to the food and service that we give. Nothing beats running your own business and the stresses are different to anything I’ve encountered. You quickly learn you’re running a marathon and not a 100 metre sprint when you run a restaurant. Each and everyday the respect you have for other chef’s quadruples because of what they do and how they do it. We are nothing without a great team around us and I wouldn’t be here without their determination to be the best they can.

Seabass Courtesy of Roche Communications

Do you thrive off kitchen hustle bustle? Or do you prefer being behind the scenes and thinking up new recipes and concepts?

I’m very lucky to have both. I’m here six days a week at the moment and all development sits with me and my senior team. We try and stay very seasonal and some items are only on the menu for a couple of weeks as their season is so short; it’s the beauty of running a small independent restaurant where change happens fast and sometimes on a daily basis.

How would you describe Piquet in a sentence?

A restaurant for mum and dad.

Why Fitzrovia as a location?

Well I knew as soon as I saw the site that I could make it work, and having spent most of my career in the city it was nice to be cooking in the West End for a change.

Piquet Courtesy of Roche Communications

If you could sit down and have a meal with one chef in the world, who would that be? Who would prepare the meal?

It would be one of my old chef’s Chris Galvin, I’m very lucky to have worked for him for four years and he still inspires me to this very day. I would ask my good friends Jeff Galvin and Warren Geraghty to cook for us as I know they would cook us a fantastic but simple meal.

What is one city that you would consider a must-visit for our food-lover readers?

At the moment it’s London, the restaurants on offer are getting stronger and stronger and more diverse by the day.

What would you say is the best dish on the menu?

Well, our snail pithivier is our best dish and seems to have its photo taken a lot. All the work goes into it pre-service, it looks so simple to make but it really isn’t. There are a lot of things to get right to make the perfect pithivier!

Snail Pithivier © Claire Menary
Snail Pithivier

What is your vision for the future?

The immediate future is to perfect the offering at Piquet and have a full restaurant lunch and dinner. Both Andre and I will see what opportunities come our way when they arise but have nothing planned at the moment.

If you were on death row and were offered one last meal, what would you choose as your starter, main course, dessert and accompanying drink?

Starter would be the steak tartare and toast from Galvin Bistro de Luxe (Baker Street). Main course would be poached turbot by Guy Savoy and dessert would be raspberry sable by Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche. I would also drink a glass of Château d’Yquem from 1811.

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