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Q&A: Rüya’s Colin Clague

What was your first job?
Kitchen porter at the Ocean Castle hotel on the Isle of Man.

What do you normally have for breakfast?
Benecol and gallons of tea.

What do you do to relax?
Read a book with a glass of wine.

What’s your favourite hotel?
The Park Hyatt Tokyo – the rooms are palatial, the restaurants divine and the views from the New York Grill are breathtaking. And the jazz is awesome.

Are there any ingredients that you refuse to cook with?
Shark’s fin – sharks are vital to the ecosystem, and such a majestic animal. It makes me sick that they are tossed overboard after their fins are cut off.

What do you always carry with you?
My iPad – it has my music and The Guardian on it.

Which person in catering have you most admired?
Rainer Becker. I worked with him at the Park Hyatt Sydney and we opened Zuma together. He taught me to see beyond the kitchen and also to check the small details. I try to run my restaurants as he would.

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
My dad and my uncle John. My dad had a Billy Elliot moment when I said I wanted to go to cookery school – it was unheard of then. I had to get special permission from the board of education and my dad always supported me. My aunt and uncle took me in and were always ready with good advice

If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Stan Laurel.

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