Some Pilau Talk With ... Fred MacAulay!

Everyone in the TATTGOC brotherhood loves curry – we even have an award that says so! But surely we could still learn a thing or two from other prominent curry lovers? And maybe even go round to their house for tea? In the special summer series we're calling Pilau Talk: The Legends, Trampy and The Tramp will be asking well-kent faces to recommend some of their favourite curry haunts and recall some of their most memorable spicy experiences. Next up is Fred MacAulay, the veteran stand-up and broadcaster you'll know from his long-running BBC Radio Scotland morning show. As well as fronting TV shows like McCoist And MacAulay and Life According To Fred, he's also done multiple tours of duty on Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week and Radio 4's The News Quiz. Over to Fred ...

What are some of your favourite curryhouses, past or present?
I'm afraid I've been fairly mainstream with the many Glasgow curryhouses visited over the years. I do remember going to a Gaylords in Birmingham in the late 1970s though! However, I can play a trump card as we visited India last year and had some of the best cooking ever. Our Indian travel agent took us to a restaurant called Dhaba in Delhi which was sort of transport-cafe style, with great food.

At the other end of the scale we had Punjabi Sikandri Lamb at the Rambagh Palace Hotel [named "Best Hotel in the World 2009" by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine], the preparation and cooking of which was described in great length and detail by the chef Jitendra. We also had a number of great delicious treats from Deep Mohan Singh Arneja, the executive chef of the Oberoi chain when we were at the Oberoi Vanyavilas hotel (pictured) in Ranthambhore National Park. He's worked in the UK many times and has been a guest on some of Jamie Oliver's television shows.

And your favourite curryhouse for a takeaway?
I filmed an episode of Life According To Fred in The Spice of Life in 1999 which Sanjay Mahju owned long before he bought the Harlequin group and they were our favoured deliverers for some years after that.

What’s your all-time favourite curry dish, the one to which you always return?
I'd love to think that I'll return to India one day and have a second helping of the lamb I mentioned earlier. If I have it twice, does that make it regular?

And if you had to choose just one accompaniment, would it be rice or naan?
Naan. And sorry to keep harping back to India, but we had one stuffed with a goat's cheese which was THE BEST. The goat was a bit miffed at having to do without its cheese ...

That's a joke.

Where’s the most exotic place you've had a curry?
See all previous answers. Most expensive was Tamarind in London where we've eaten three times on special occasions.

Can you actually make a decent curry yourself at home?
I did a very simple chicken curry with cous cous on Celebrity Masterchef which was criticised as being TOO simple. But the crew scoffed it in preference to the winning dish, so I was pretty pleased.

Can the TATTGOC brotherhood come round for our tea?

If you could enjoy a curry dinner-for-two with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Doesn't matter. It's curry ... that'll get all the attention. Does it really matter who you say "Was yours good too?" to? (That could be a punctuation minefield right there ... too?"to? WOW. If that's right I'm claiming a B in Higher English.)

And finally, who are some of your comedy heroes – the spicier the better?
Heroes have been, roughly chronologically: Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Rik Mayall, Billy Connolly. Currently I think the best stand-ups include Lee Mack and Jason Byrne. Phil Kay used to blow the roofs off venues time after time. Neil Delamere is an outstanding and largely unsung Irish comic. And I have huge respect for all my Scottish contemporaries with whom I've shared an amazing two decades in comedy.

Tom Shields


The Tramp said...

The mention of Fred playing the trump card has had me thinking about what a Curry Top Trumps would be like? What categories would there be? Or maybe there could be a Glasgow Curry Houses Top Trumps in the same vein as Rumpoles legendary Berlin Kebab Shop Top Trump deck.

Trampy said...

The Spice of Life is getting a lot of love in our Pilau Talk series, from Fred and future interviewees - has anyone else been since it transformed into Tapas International?

EB. said...

Surely 'Pakora Skillz' would be one of the top categories?