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Best Family Restaurant: The Rooftop at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon

Rob Fredrickson, Head Of Catering at the Royal Shakespeare Company and father of two, shares his tips for happy family dining

Posted: 25 May 2011
by Catherine O'Dolan

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What’s your earliest food memory? Sunday roasts with my family – I’ve never seen a man eat as much as my grandfather – and crab sandwiches on the windswept Cornish coast are my fondest food memories.

What foods did you like and dislike as a child? I ate anything as a child with the notable exceptions of Tapioca, Rice Pudding and Semolina – I still cannot bring myself to eat these dishes!

Do you have any cooking heroes? Mark Hix – such a focus on ingredients and skilful preparation is to be applauded!

Who is your greatest foodie inspiration? My mum and grandmother – the feasts they used to turn out of the smallest domestic kitchens never failed to delight and astound in equal measure.

What was the first thing you ever cooked? My grandmother let me loose in the kitchen when I was two and I ended up making a chocolate mess topped with milk bottle tops. The only problem was that the milk bottle tops went on before it went in the oven...

What’s your worst cooking disaster? See above.

What would be your perfect family dinner? In winter, it would be Roast Rib of Beef with all the trimmings and a fine Bordeaux. In summer, a BBQ using the best sausages, pork, chicken and fish I could lay my hands on with light salads from the garden and buckets of Provencal Rosé! I think the children would love the Haribo Jellies we feature on our Little Menu at the RSC Rooftop restaurant.

How often do you eat as a family? As often as possible, but working life can make that hard so every available opportunity is taken, whether that be one of the meals mentioned above or a bowl of cereal in the morning before work.

Do you have any tips on encouraging good table manners? I often encourage my children, Tom, eight, and Ollie, five, to just take their time eating. That normally helps!

Any golden rules for raising a happy eater? Be adventurous yourself and when trying new things, do it in a group. Children are far more inclined to try new things if they see other young people doing it as well. Mine have eaten all sorts using this technique – curries, stir fries, game, spicy chorizo, squid and octopus, to name a few.

What are the best recipes for weaning a baby? Mild dishes work best, but that doesn’t mean they have to be devoid of flavour.

What’s the best way to tempt a fussy eater? Pudding!

What’s the most unusual thing your children eat? Octopus.

What’s your favourite cookbook? Nose To Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.

What’s your favourite restaurant? Hix Soho, where the ingredient is king and its preparation paramount. I am simply never disappointed eating here.

What’s your food guilty pleasure? Honestly? Erm, this is really not something I’m proud of but I have a weakness for Kentucky Fried Chicken that rears its ugly head two to three times a year. I can’t help myself!

What would be your last supper? Anything would do so long as it was eaten with my family.

Where do you dine out with your children? Gastro pubs, my local Indian restaurant, Carluccio's.

What would you do if your child had a tantrum in a restaurant? This is not something that happens thankfully, but if it did, a short break out in the car park would probably do the trick.

Do you think families should be more encouraged to dine out in restaurants? Absolutely. Communal dining is such a joy and I worry that it is being lost in many families due to modern living and the pressures everyone is feeling on their wallets!

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Rooftop restaurant, family restaurants, dining, RSC, stratford upon avon, celebrity chefs

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I went at The Royal Shakespeare Company and was unable to find it earlier. Luckily, the Restaurante en Fuengirola was nearby so I was able to go over there and listen to the whole of it right there.

Posted: 16/09/2017 at 16:14

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