Offal Waffle with Elizabeth Haigh
Carcass Cartel member Elizabeth Haigh - From chocolate nipples to a Michelin star
What’s your first memory of cooking, and what did you cook?
My first memory of cooking is being messy in the kitchen with my mum, probably making a bread and butter pudding of some sort. When my sisters and I were younger, we loved making puddings and getting covered in flour and sugar.
What’s the one mistake you made in your career that still makes you cringe?
One of the my first chef jobs was at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London, and I was so eager to impress but I was still learning a lot. I was in charge of making these complicated tiny teacakes but instead of looking like neat little peaks of marshmallow sitting on top of biscuit, they simply looked like a big tray of chocolate covered nipples staring at me (they are a lot harder than they look ok?). Mortifying.
And the best moment of your career so far?
When my restaurant received the Michelin star in 2016. Hands down my proudest moment.
Who has been the most influential mentor/chef in your career and what dish would you cook to thank them?
My previous boss, Neil Rankin. He introduced me and taught me how to cook over fire and also how to combine cuisines together without holding back on flavour. I’d cook him a ridiculously aged steak with smoked hispi cabbage confited in that aged fat.
Tell us about the last great meal you ate in London.
Temper city – had some aged flank steak cooked for us quickly and it was delicious.
What’s your favourite cut of meat to cook with?
Hard to say because they are all uniquely tasty in their own way. I’d have to push to say heart, because it’s such a delicious lean piece of meat that ironically doesn’t get a lot of love itself.
Why do you think people moved away from utilising the entire animal at home, in the UK?
I feel we’ve moved away from the generation where food was scarce, primarily during the war it was about using everything otherwise you’d be hungry. Now it’s all about having choice and instead of going to butchers, going to the supermarket is generally how we shop – it’s accessible and convenience over quality of produce and supermarkets pushing profit over creating waste. When everything is packaged up (also contributing to horrible plastic waste), people rarely see what else is available other than prime cuts that sell. [It’s been great to see some online retailers sell half/whole animals like goat/lamb on “Farmdrop” though].
Tell us about your latest project Kaizen House.
I started Kaizen House as a platform to express and engage people in food in different ways. I work on our YouTube channel which educates people about food, restaurants and travel, but also I cook at events and pop-up restaurants. I want to redefine what it means to be a ‘modern chef’ – so even if I don’t have a permanent site right now, it means I can be flexible where and who I work with next.
So what is next?..
I want to push the YouTube globally more so we are working with brands and companies that also share our ethos in sustainability and food development. There’s a lot in the pipeline that I can’t discuss right now but stay tuned is all I can say.
You can catch Elizabeth popping up with the Cartel on the 10th & 11th June at Hackney Church Brew Co. Get your tickets here
Elizabeth on Insta - @the_modernchef
Kaizen House - www.kaizenhouse.co.uk