What's Your Favourite Weird Food Combination?
One of the great things about eating is that it’s a totally individual experience. Something that's completely unique to you. Even when you’re sharing an intimate meal with someone, no one else can taste something for you and no one else will be able to experience something in the exact same way that you can.
We’re all individuals when it comes to how we perceive flavour – it's typically a combination of our cultural upbringing as well as how our bodies are biologically wired – and that’s one of the reasons why everyone likes weird food combinations. Watch anyone’s eating habits for long enough and you’ll start to notice that everyone’s got their own different and distinct peccadilloes when it comes to food and drink. I personally think that peanut butter and pickle sandwiches taste amazing but I've been told on numerous occasions that that flavour combination is an affront to God.
But what about the chefs who are renowned for their fine palates? Well, it turns out that they’re human just like us and they like some pretty weird shit, too. I spoke to some of the UK’s top chefs to find out what their favourite strange food combinations are.
William J M Chilila – Cottage Cheese And Strawberry Jam Pasta
"I’m mad about fruit. One of my favourite fruits are bananas, which I tend to split in half, covering one side with peanut butter and the other side with blueberry jam – yes, blueberry, not strawberry – before sandwiching it down. But sometimes my fruit madness gets even stranger. My girlfriend is Hungarian and we always tend to combine traditions to create new flavours! One of these creations is cottage cheese pasta finished with strawberry jam. The pasta is cooked in salty water for 3-5 mins, then tossed in a hot pan with cottage cheese that’s been seasoned with only salt and black pepper. With the even crazier addition of crispy bacon you almost get the illusion you’re eating pancakes with bacon and maple syrup."
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Michelle Trusselle – Artichokes, Mango and Curry Spices
"It sounds gross, right? Like it couldn’t work, but it really does! I love artichokes and I love the complex flavour of globe artichokes which initially the tongue perceives as sweet on first taste. Interestingly, artichokes are able to make other foods taste slightly sweeter and, when paired with the Caribbean's favourite fruit, the mango, which has a sweet, fruity, creamy and slightly floral taste, this sweetness continues when combined before the slight citrus flavours of the artichoke come through. This leaves the mouth feeling clean, refreshed and ready for the next bite! Why the curry you ask? Because I simply love curry. Curry goes with mangoes and just eating mango and artichokes would be outright weird!"
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Jenny Phung – Ham, Cheese, And Gherkin Lettuce Wrap
"My very weird bite resembles the kind of thing you would eat when you're pregnant – which, just to clarify, I have never been. From occasion, I get a craving to eat butter leaf lettuce wrapped up with shit ham, plasticky cheese and rolled around a gherkin. The whole thing is very weird from the super tartness of the gherkin to the plastic cheese getting stuck on the roof on your mouth. It's an unwholly mess devoid of any nutrients, totally unbalanced taste-wise and super tacky... but sometimes it takes you to eat something truly weird/terrible to make you appreciate food again."
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Karan Ghosh – Roast Beef Sandwich With Marmite Mayo
"I created this dish in my previous workplace, The Drop Wine Bar. The marmite mayo aspect is what makes it unique and also raises a few eyebrows. Marmite mayo works really well with roast beef on toasted sourdough or on any slice of toasted bread. The umami from the Marmite and the sweet/tangy mayo work in harmony with the roast beef. We use to make the mayo from scratch in-house; we'd melt the Marmite and add that with the oil to emulsify it. I've also tried marmite mayo with chicken, ham or anything else you want to put in a sandwich for that matter."
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Mary San Pablo – Loaded Toast And Halo Halo
"I love to use my toast as a vehicle for all my breakfast spreads. Starting with salted butter, a generous swoop of marmite, slather of Nutella and a couple of dots of crunchy deep roast peanut butter. Halo halo, in its own right, is an amped-up version of so many wrongs that are right together; a purple yam ice cream sundae with chickpeas, mung beans, coconut jelly and condensed milk flan. Continuing down the fence of sweet and savoury is my take with condensed milk flan, sweetcorn ice cream, crushed cheese buttercream, Sky Flakes, and corn nuts."
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Jay Morjaria – Baked Beans And Bombay Mix
"Growing up as a British-born Asian, I was equally exposed to the food of two cultures. One of my favourite and but odd combos was baked beans on toast with a big old handful of Bombay mix on top, chopped raw onions and mayonnaise. You have to try it, it's the best of both worlds."
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