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Top chefs at home: Tristan Welch

Tristan Welch, Head Chef of Launceston Place, and father of twins Felix and Tintin, 15 months, talks fine dining with his family and reveals a recipe for tasty Cheddar meatballs

Posted: 9 September 2010
by Catherine O'Dolan

What would be your perfect family dinner? Now we’re talking. When I have my mum and dad round, I like a fruit de mer. A seafood dish like this is a communal affair and gets everybody talking. Then an Eton mess for dessert. But when it is just my wife, the boys and I then I tend to cook with no added salt or sugar. A sure-fire winner is grilled sole (with no added salt), nut brown butter, spinach and mashed potato. My wife loves fish with mashed potato and so do the boys. For dessert, strawberries and cream (with no added sugar, of course) is perfect for the boys, even if it is messy. To spice it up for ourselves, my wife and I may pour a splash of champagne on top.

What are the best recipes for weaning a baby? Felix and Tintin love shepherd’s pie, fish pie, and roast chicken with vegetables. But their favourite is cheese on toast.

Any golden rules for raising a happy eater? We only limit the textures Felix and Tintin can eat, not the flavours. Our boys have been eating almost the same as us; it was just a bit smoother in the beginning. My wife has come up with bizarre combinations, but they seem to love it. It’s amazing how you can adapt a good recipe to something your child will love.

What’s the best way to tempt a fussy eater? We haven’t got to that stage yet – and hopefully we never will. The boys have had a variety of tastes and textures from the start and I think that will help because they really enjoy food and the time we spend cooking for them really makes the difference.

Vegetable Spaghetti With Cheddar Meatballs
Serves 4

For the meatballs:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
A knob of butter
A pinch of salt
280g (10oz) sausage meat
50g (2oz) mature Cheddar cheese grated
30g (1oz) breadcrumbs
Olive oil
5 medium-sized tomatoes

For the spaghetti:
400g (14oz) spaghetti
Extra virgin rapeseed oil
4 sage leaves, diced
Cheddar, grated, for serving

To make the meat balls, and cook the onion gently with a little butter and a pinch of salt. Once cooked, add half of the onion to the sausage meat, Cheddar and breadcrumbs and roll into balls a little smaller than golf balls (it’s best to let them set in the fridge before cooking, but you can cook them straight away) and cook them in a frying pan with a little oil on a medium heat.

While the meatballs are cooking, blend the tomatoes and strain them so you are left with the juice. Once the balls are coloured on all sides pour in the juice and the other half of the cooked onions from earlier and let the juice reduce down until it is nice and thick. Keep stirring the balls around the pan.

While the meatballs are finishing cooking, make the spaghetti. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet and sauté the sage leaves in a little rapeseed oil. Mix the sage leaves and pasta together and then add meatballs on top. Serve with a little grated Cheddar on top. 

Launceston Place, 1a Launceston Place, London W8 5RL. Tel: 020 7937 6912, visit or email

Simply click on the following names to discover the family secrets and special recipes of chefs Richard Bertinet, Jérôme Ponchelle and Henry Dimbleby.

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