The List: Ten things celebrity chef and author Laura Calder can’t live without
My favourite read
I love the personal pieces at the back of The Spectator. Essays are my favourite form of writing because they’re so intimate.
My paper collection
I always have some nice wrapping paper from The Paper Place on hand for last-minute presents. There’s so much junk in the world, it’s a delight when something’s beautiful just for the sake of it.
My M0851 rain slicker
Walking is one of my greatest passions. It’s a way of clearing my head, and I don’t ever let rain stop me. I bought my raincoat for a trip to Vancouver Island and have been attached to it ever since.
My big cutlery
My flatware is from an antique dealer in Germany, and it’s huge. The soup spoons are like ladles. They feel so substantial. I can’t stand the flimsy stuff you get at restaurants.
My local watering hole
When I moved to Toronto in 2008, I didn’t know anyone. A friend in Vancouver set me up with a group that met at The Artful Dodger every Friday. I’m 40 years younger than everyone else, but I enjoy their company so much. It’s been a nice touchstone in a strange city where life was grim for a couple of years.
My Veuve Cliquot
I never used to drink champagne much because there were so few options in Canada and it’s so expensive, but on my last trip to France, I ended up having a glass every day. I felt like I was in another era.
My Staub Dutch oven
It’s perfect for making one-pot comfort dishes in winter. It looks handsome on the stovetop, and I bring it right to the table because it gives the impression there was some serious cooking happening.
My gold nugget
A friend of mine was trying to get a reservation at Noma, an exclusive restaurant in Copenhagen. Another friend runs a gold mine in the Yukon and suggested he write a letter to the restaurant offering to pay in gold nuggets—he did, and he got the table. I love this story. My Yukon friend later gave me a nugget, and I put it on a chain. I wear it for luck.
When I was a student I bought the Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder. It’s so well laid out: I love that the synonyms come right after the definitions.
My happy music
I’m a bit obsessed with the period between the two wars. That perky music—the Andrews Sisters, Cole Porter—cheers me up when I’m in the doldrums.
(Images: John Cullen)