9 courses with Ren Patel
Ren Patel, aka the Queen of Spice, is a cook school teacher and founder of Ren’s pantry.
Ren is on a mission to make dry stores sexy. Her aim has always been to source the highest quality spices and teach people why good spices are so important (they’re where all the flavour comes from!). With Ren’s pantry, she not only supplies most of London’s Top restaurants, including Ottolenghi, Native and Mangal 2, but also runs spice masterclasses where you can learn the secrets of spices and how to incorporate them into your everyday cooking.
When we first spoke to Ren about supplying the spices for our North Indian course, her unrivalled knowledge and passion for spices shone through immediately, so it’s no surprise we can now say her spices are the best we’ve ever tasted – her garam masala is tastes nothing like the imposter you’d get in the supermarket!
For the first instalment of our Kitchen Conversations series, we sat down with Ren for 9 courses;
- What made you start Ren’s pantry?
When I realised what awful spices were available for chefs and cooks at home I just knew I had to do something about it and create a business where the best spices and ingredients are available.
- What’s your favourite cuisine to cook at the moment?
Southeast Asian, there is something about the summer months that makes me want to eat spicy food.
- Biggest kitchen nightmare?
Pastry … I’ve tried so many times and have failed so now I buy shop bought.
- Rice or potatoes? Any form, for the rest of time.
Rice rice rice !!!
- Omakase please – What’s your go to three courses to knock your guests socks off?
Starter: Sticky pork ribs , Tandoori chicken , Veggie pakoras.
Main : my luscious lamb curry, gunpowder potatoes , goan fish curry, saag , rice, chapatis, cucumber raita.
Pudding , my saffron and pistachio cake served with cardamom ice cream.
- Ok we know what you’re cooking – now who are your top three guests dead or alive?
Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Peter Kay
- Who’s been your biggest inspiration outside the kitchen in life?
My mum, she’s the best.
- What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Paint a picture
I can’t paint at all ! and also a very difficult question to answer. All the food we have eaten in Sicily has been faultless.
- What’s your hidden gem of a restaurant you love?
The Regency Club.