When not in the kitchen or commuting between his clutch of restaurants in London and Lyme Regis, Mark Hix is usually found messing about in his boat in pursuit of supper.
Kathryn Lewis invited Mark Hix to stretch out on the Food Therapy couch and consider a few probing questions
Which foods take you back to childhood?
Freshly cooked mackerel. I grew up in West Bay in Dorset and after school I would go fishing with friends. I’d take our catch back to my grandmother who’d pan fry some and souse the rest with onions and vinegar.
What does home taste like?
After 35 years in London, I’m spending more time in Dorset and eating whatever I can catch or shoot. When I have friends around I’ll cook whatever I can source that day in my boat – at the moment it’s mostly bass, mackerel, cod and lobster.
What was the last thing you ate?
I haven’t had lunch yet so it was staff breakfast at my restaurant in Lyme Regis. We often eat together – I had plain pancakes with one too many coffees.
What would you never eat again?
There aren’t many things, though I once had fermented bean curd on a trip to Tokyo and it was shocking.
What’s in your fridge?
There’s usually some good-quality cured meats and cheeses from local artisans. Some days my fridge will be bare; at other times it’ll be brimming with veggies from my garden. I grow all sorts – from salads leaves and herbs to cardoons and rhubarb. I like to be experimental while also keeping it low maintenance.
Which restaurants make you happy?
I’ll often take friends to The Seahorse in Dartmouth. The menu changes all the time but there’s always a lot of fresh fish. There’s also a great Chinese near my house – it really depends on what kind of mood I’m in.
What do you eat when no one is looking?
If I’m on a long journey and need to stop for fuel, I’ll often sneak a Snickers. I’ll probably also be munching through a packet of Squares.
Self control or self indulgence?
When you’re surrounded by food it’s easy to be indulgent, but in this business you learn to have self control over what you eat and drink.
Is there a dish you’d rather forget?
I’ve already forgotten the bad ones; I tend not to experiment too much – especially not on the customers.