Like many vegetarians in the UK, I’ve taken the pilgrimage to Mildred’s in Soho many a time and experienced their delicious, wholesome food as well as their vibrant, busy restaurant environment which has people queuing out of the door begging for a table. Part of their success is down to the team in kitchen which includes Australian born Daniel Acevedo.
Daniel started professional cookery in 1997, specialising in Italian, Greek and pan-Asian cuisines, although his Australian, British and Chilean background has contributed to his wide range of culinary tastes.
In 2005 he moved to London and began working at Mildred’s restaurant, where he climbed the ropes quickly taking over as Sous Chef, then as Head Chef.
In October 2010, Daniel and fellow chef SarahWasserman started a food blog for Mildred’s which led them to co-write Mildred’s Vegetarian and Mildred’s Vegan cookbooks.
Their recipes have featured in various publications including: The Sunday Times, The Independent and magazines such as: Red, Good Food, Homes & Gardens, Delicious, Vegan Life and Olive.
Recently, Daniel has been working alongside Ian Meek, Head Chef at The Highfield in Edgbaston, Birmingham helping to create more vegetarian menu choices and co-hosting a special version of The Highfield’s weekly vegetarian/vegan ‘Live Live On The Veg’ event which was a roaring success.
With the festive season soon upon us, Daniel has been working towards the launch of Mildred’s special Christmas menu which is scheduled for the third week of December and which will run alongside their regular a la carte selection. In addition, he’s also involved with expansion plans for Mildred’s in the new year.
Aside from all this activity, Daniel has kindly taken time out to share some of his favourite culinary items and memories in my Epicurean Mementos interview to give us an insight into his world and his kitchen.
Cookery The Australian Way
An Aussie classic with its easy to follow, fool proof recipes. I remember from the age of about 7, grabbing my Mum's copy of Cookery The Australian Way from the kitchen pantry after school and baking yo-yos, Anzac biscuits and scones.
I love preserving and pickling and have a nice collection of jars to get me through a large pickling session. More recently I have really enjoyed pickling Polish style gherkins Ogorki Kiszone. They are pickled in a salt brine, I do this towards the end of summer, preserving enough to last the winter. This pickling recipe and method along with a few other Polish classic dishes have been handed down to me by my Polish mother-in-law. This type of learning, knowledge of recipes and cooking methods handed down by family are so important to me and I feel is invaluable to preserving family tradition and to becoming a great cook.
I remember always hanging around the kitchen at family gatherings when I was young and pestering my Aunties with questions about what they were cooking and how they were doing it, offering to help with any job I could get.
Herbs and Spices
This has to be the best and most exciting part of cooking for me. The different flavour combinations you can create using fresh and dry herbs and spices is simply amazing. You can travel the world and create your own experiments with a nicely stocked spice cabinet.
Chilean Clay Pottery
I have various Chilean clay dishes and pots at home, my two essential ones holding sugar and salt. In addition to storage, the smaller size dishes can be used for serving a pebre (Chilean salsa) or a dip whilst the larger clay pots can be used to bake pies or casseroles. These dishes are found in every Chilean home and kitchen, I have grown up using and eating from them at every single family gathering (that happened every other weekend) in my hometown of Melbourne.
My thanks to Daniel for his time with regard to compiling this interview. All photos provided are courtesy of Daniel Acevedo.