First published in Menu

Gary Lawrence, 52, editor of the Swindon Advertiser, tells us about his life with food

Do you cook a lot yourself? What is your failsafe dish?

I cook two or three times a week. I used to be a (not very good) chef so I should say my failsafe dish is Lobster Thermidore or something fancy, but it’s actually a good old roast dinner or poached salmon with herby roast potatoes.

Where do you like to eat out? How often?

I like Bistro Les Chats in Old Town, the Bridge Brasserie in Chippenham and The Three Crowns at Brinkworth. Joe’s in Summertown, Oxford, is also a delight and I wish Swindon would get a Bill’s Produce. I think maybe I eat out too much...

What do you always hope to find on a menu? For starter? Main course? Dessert?

I’m a sucker for pate or French onion soup for starter. I enjoy a decent steak and a nice piece of lamb, so I look out for that. I live with a vegetarian and cook a lot of that at home so going out is like foraging for meat. I don’t have a sweet tooth but if pushed I’d share a tiramisu.

Which foods did you hate as a child? Do you eat them now?

I was made to stay at the table and eat a few things I didn’t like and still detest a lot of them. Broad beans, runner beans, swede, parsnips, butter beans, marrowfat peas and asparagus soup spring to mind. I hate aubergine too, unless it is buried in a moussaka.

What’s your favourite drink? Alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Squash or milkshake like a good Essex boy. And red wine is my downfall on many an occasion.

Marmite: yes or no?

Oh yes.

What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to food...something you know you shouldn’t eat, but do anyway?

Greasy burgers at West Ham. I must have dodged a million BSE-ridden bullets in the 70s and 80s so I feel pretty invincible now. I’m also a slave to a pork pie.

You are on your own at home watching a film. What is your snack of choice?

Plain Walkers crisps in a cheese salad sandwich. Or a fish finger sandwich with rocket and grated cheddar. Or... no I’ll stop there.

You are eating a bacon sandwich... ketchup, brown sauce or nothing at all?

Brown sauce is the only answer.

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