Sally Clarke: Founder of Clarke's


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My guest today is Sally Clarke

Sally has been described as the unsung hero of British food, and her cooking a masterclass in simplicity. She was just 14 when she envisaged the restaurant that she would one day open and this year Clarkes celebrates it’s 37th year.

Despite the prevailing fad for Nouvelle Cuisine at the time she opened in December 1984 , she never waivered in her mission to showcase fresh and seasonal ingredients, cooked simply and in her trademark unpretentious style. It’s no wonder her restaurant was Lucian Freud’s favourite haunt

In the 25th year of being in business, she was awarded an MBE in the queens birthday honours list for services to hospitality – an award she modestly states she shares with everyone involved in the running of Clarkes. Alongside the restaurant, she runs a booming bakery business which has over 120 wholesale customers, and sees them making over 60,000 mince pies during the run up to Christmas. . If you’ve ever tucked into a pain au chocolage on the Eurostar, chances are it was one of Clarkes.

She has just written her third and self proclaimed final book. It has been said that she is a quietly successful restaurateur, described by Jason Atherton, amongst others as Britain's answer to Alice Waters.


Thank you to Cooks Matches for sponsoring this season of Desert Island Dishes

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116 episodes