oli marlow | roganic

After popping up from 2011-2013, Roganic has returned to London for good, just a few doors down from where it first appeared, and many of the original team, including our LDNER, have returned along with it. Meet Roganic Head Chef Oli Marlow…

Where do you live in London and why do you enjoy the area?

I am currently living in Notting Hill, about a 10 minute stroll to Holland Park. I grew up in West London so once I returned to London after my travels it was a place I feel at home. I love the area as its close to work and it has so much character from the different coffee shops to the hidden bars. Roaming the streets of Notting Hill with my headphones in is something I will never tire of.

What inspired you to get into cooking?

That is a question I will always be asked and never know the answer to. If you were to ask my mother she always told me I like to prove people wrong and my food tech teacher told me one parent’s evening, Oli will never become a chef. I can’t remember this, but my mum is adamant I became a chef on the back of this conversation. For me it’s more of a person who inspired me to cook. My mum is a very passionate cook and raising me as a working single mum she would always come flying through the door at 5.30 after a stressful day at work and somehow manage to have a healthy and super tasty dinner on the table bang on 6
o’clock. We would sit down at the table and eat together and talk about what we had done that day. I would always appreciate the food I was given as I understood the little time and money she had but was so committed to feeding me and my sister the best that she could.

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What has changed since the original Roganic first popped up in London in 2011?

It’s great that we returned on the same street in Marylebone, just a few doors down from where the pop-up used to be. For me Roganic this time round has more of a mature approach. All of the senior team have worked within the group for many years. We have all grown up and I would like to think as a group have all become more experienced and knowledgeable. Of course we still offer a relaxed and laid back atmosphere but we still want to deliver a product that
you could find in any top end restaurant. And hopefully with the full support that Simon gives us we will get there. We still offer a taste of L’enclume, bringing what I believe to be some of the best produce in the country down from Our Farm up in Cartmel. Over the years the farm has grown to the stage where it is able to supply all of Simon’s restaurants and this really dictates what goes on the menu and when. I believe this is the biggest change since the original Roganic, the connection we have with Our Farm.

Talk us through the role that development kitchen Aulis plays at Roganic.

Aulis is best described as the brains behind Roganic. It’s a place where any chef can go and be in a relaxed and calm environment. I always find when thinking up new dishes and ideas you need to be in a place of tranquillity. And it is normally on the sofa at home or at Aulis. It is a place where you are
allowed to make mistakes and have the time to keep testing with the added luxury of having diners who are willing to try your creations and give honest feedback. We rotate chefs through the development kitchen so everyone gets the chance to contribute and create. For me it’s the single hardest part of being a chef. Most people can follow a recipe but to create a dish is very challenging.

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Does the popularity of vegan food have any impact on the way you create the menus at Roganic?

People are now really looking into what they are eating. Patterns and trends are a lot more noticeable these days, vegan diners being one of them. At Roganic we cater for everyone. We are a very vegetable driven restaurant as Our Farm is the driving force behind our menu and concept. So a lot of our dishes are vegan/vegetarian friendly. We try to let the produce do the talking as we believe in its quality.

Describe your perfect day in London.

My perfect day in London would have to consist of a lie in of course. I am not the most talkative or positive when tired. Having woken up and moved from my bed to the sofa and sunk a cup of coffee or two, the day normally starts at midday. I am not the person who tends to make plans. I prefer to enjoy events that are spontaneous or last minute. A hot summer’s day would be ideal and a last minute call to organise an evening BBQ with lots of chef friends would be perfect. I always find when you ask a chef to bring food to a BBQ they always bring the best food and way too much of it. With a beer in one hand and a burger in the other, it’s always enjoyable listening to the funny stories and events of what has been happening in other kitchens around London. Some of the craziest life experiences I have had have happened in kitchens and it’s nice hearing other chefs tell theirs. Food is always a way of bringing people you like together and what way better than around a BBQ? With the BBQ over, I’d retire to the sofa with a tub of Pralines and Cream Haagen-Dazs that I deliberately did not get out at the BBQ because I’ selfish when it comes to desserts and watch whatever series on Netflix I am currently addicted to. That would be my perfect day.

5-7 Blandford St, London W1U 3DB