New head chef of London Shell Co. Fede Pollame came from Coutts Bank after working for Pierre Koffmann & Marco Pierre White. A graduate from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Project, cooking and food has always been an integral part of his life.
London Shell Co. offers the finest British seafood along the beautiful and historic Regent’s Canal in Central London either on the static restaurant aboard The Grand Duchess or the cruising restaurant aboard The Prince Regent which takes you past iconic landmarks such as London Zoo and Regents Park.
We caught up with Fede Pollame to talk to him about London Shell Co. and all things food.
How did it all start?
My journey definitely started at home. My Father is Italian from a region called Abruzzo, and my Mum is from Hackney. Food was always a big thing in our house growing up. I did an apprenticeship with Jamie Oliver at Fifteen, I think I owe my career to that really as it gave me the most incredible introduction to the industry. The foundations to my cooking come from my times with Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White. Working with them taught me the basis of classic cooking and gave me so much towards who I am as chef today.
Tell us about your new menu aboard London Shell Co.
I took over as head chef just over a year ago and have really found my feet in a totally different cooking environment. The menu right now is better than it’s ever been. It’s balanced and combines a few sharing courses followed by individual courses. The sharing courses are great as they’re a bit more interactive and force people to talk about what they’re eating a bit more. I think the food is refined, but flavour is always the most important thing. Nothing too challenging. Always tasty and tidy on the plate.
What makes London Shell Co. different?
The most obvious thing is that we’re on a boat and we cruise for two and half hours while serving some of the best fish and shellfish this country has to offer. People are always quite amazed at how we produce and serve to the standard we do in such a tiny space. I think no matter how many times you’ve come, you’re still surprised each time as to just how we do it.
How important is sustainability when it comes to the provenance of fish?
This is integral. It’s what the company has been built on and it’s my job to continue this ethos in everything I do with the menu. Most of our fish comes directly from Cornwall. We work really closely with Wild Harbour and Kernowsashimi who represent a network of independent Cornish day boat fishermen, and their fishing practices are everything we stand for.
Any future signature dishes you are working on currently that you can tell us about?
I’ve had my Trout Sausage Roll on the menu for a couple of months now and it’s been super popular from the start. It’s always hard to change something that everyone seems to love. Nostalgia is really important for this dish; I want it to be something that people are familiar with yet has my own spin. We’re going to start working on a new one soon.
What do you like to cook at home?
I love Korean packet noodles, they take 3 minutes to cook, cost about 90p, massive flavour bomb and burn your lips. Other than that my partner Aoife cooks. I work late a lot, so she does most of it and she’s pretty good at it. If not though, another go to is taramasalata and what ever bread I can find to dip in it.
Top 3 favourite restaurants in London?
All three are in Hackney actually!
E Pellicci has been run by an Italian family for over a 100 years. They do the best Full English, alongside some really good pasta and other bits. Chicken escalope with a lasagne is usually the way I go.
Mangal 1 is probably my most frequented spot. Great food, really quick and BOYB. Selection of starters and a Tavuk Beyti which is a minced chicken skewer with lamb fat, seasoned with garlic and parsley.
House Of Momo is a Nepalese place that does great dumplings, curries, rice and noodle dishes. I love the Jhol momo fried dumplings that come in a curry sauce. A must have!
If you could award a Michelin star right now, who would it be to and why?
It would be to Meedu Saad at Kiln in Soho. I’ve had a few meals there now and the food has been nothing but stunning. The cocktail and wine list is pretty good too. It’s a really nice space to eat and drink in and I think it is very deserving.
What is next in the culinary journey for you and London Shell Co.?
We’re planning a few pop-ups, seafood kebabs being the first. Turkish food is really popular in London and we want to have our own take on it. Simple skewers, nicely spiced, served with bread, chilli sauce, garlic yoghurt, parsley, onion and sumac.
To discover more about London Shell Co. visit: londonshellco.com
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All imagery courtesy of London Shell Co.