Drogo Montagu is the founder of Fine Food Specialist. Since its origin in 2010 the company has grown into the online destination for quality produce and hard-to-find ingredients. Drogo worked as a professional chef and has a wealth of knowledge on interesting ingredients and cooking techniques, which he is always willing to share.
What inspired you to start up Fine Food Specialist?
A passion to source the coolest and hardest to find products from the furthest corners of the globe.
If you had to choose three ingredients to make something epic what would they be? And what would you make?
Artisan ricotta to stuff courgette flowers and create all sorts of delights. The finest salted French butter (our Bordier is superb) to slather on my toast. And finally, langoustine ravioli with a shellfish sauce finished with Armagnac or king crab straight up with lemon, black pepper and a touch of homemade mayo.
What is your favourite childhood memory of food?
Going down to Murry Mcbay’s Lobster tanks in Scotland to pick our own lobsters and watching my mum cook them. Also there is mum's roast chicken, which has always been something very special.
What three things make you happy?
My girls, Inca and Octavia. My wife, Melissa and my family. My next meal!
When you are not busy with work what do you like to do?
I love cooking refined and detailed food, but sadly I only ever have enough time to cook a proper meal on the weekend.
Do you have a favourite food quote?
My old chef, Andre, used to tell me every day, ‘mind what you waste in the kitchen.’ When you prep food, herbs and vegetables every day in a restaurant there are always off-cuts and leftovers. When you add this up over the whole year it can be the difference between a profitable kitchen and a non-profitable kitchen.
If you had to choose a last meal, what would it be?
That is a hard one. It's hard to decide between seafood and meat. My first option is tartufo di mare, truffles from the sea. Harvested seasonally on the Amalfi Coast, these amazing little clams are eaten raw and alive, straight from the sea. Their taste and texture are simply sublime and I don’t think you can find them anywhere else. My second choice would be a veal chop with a morel cream sauce and a proper pomme puree.
What are your top kitchen tips?
I think seasoning is the most important part of cooking and many people aren't as generous with the seasoning as they could be! But most importantly my advice is to be confident in the kitchen or you will not succeed.