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Meet the chef: James Elliot of Pizza Pilgrims

Meet James Elliot (pictured right), one half of the brotherly team behind Pizza Pilgrims. Discover his three favourite ingredients, 15-minute supper idea and his idea of the perfect Sunday

My favourite wine is… 

I know I’m a cheap date, but I’m prosecco’s biggest fan! It’s great with pizza, and I love how versatile it is when it comes to cocktails – bellini, spritz, kir royale… the list is endless. We also serve it on tap at our pizzerias, and I’ll never get bored of that.

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In my fridge there’s always… 

‘Nduja and freeze-pops! ‘Nduja is the ingredient I absolutely could not live without at home. It just sits there quietly in a jar because its cured, and tastes great stirred into pasta, sauces, soups, stews or even spread on toast to give a really porky, spicy kick.

As for freeze-pops, they’re just the best invention ever…


My favourite 15-minute supper to make at home is…

Pasta. I never get bored of pasta. I hate overly-sauced pastas though; I always pick just a couple of star ingredients such as brown shrimp, frozen peas or chorizo, and toss it together with some good olive oil and fresh herbs.

Garlic bread with homemade garlic butter in tinfoil is also a must!


My guilty pleasure food is…

I love those 20p instant noodle packs. You can pimp them up really easily – it’s great comfort food with a fried egg and some sesame oil on top.


If you gave me a tenner I’d spend it on…

A beer, two scratch cards and three Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs.


A restaurant trend I see being the next big thing is…

Really good vegetarian food. The arguments for eating less meat are hard to ignore, and some of the most exciting restaurants opening in London at the moment focus on vegetables. Also pizza can be great for vegetarians…


On a Sunday I like to…

Have a pub roast, a couple beers, a Tom Hanks film then be in bed by 9pm… I’m getting old!


My favourite country to visit for foodie inspiration is…

Italy. I get to go about three times a year for work and on every occasion I come back full of ideas for new restaurant dishes. My next trip is to Puglia.


What are the three most useful ingredients and why?

1) Tomatoes, because they go with everything.

2) Olive oil, because it can make a sauce from anything.

3) Anchovies, because they bring a depth of flavour to whatever it is you’re making.


About Pizza Pilgrims

Pizza Pilgrims arrived on the London food scene in September 2011 after brothers James and Thom Elliot made a pilgrimage to Italy to discover the true art of pizza-making. Converting their humble Piaggio Ape van into a mobile kitchen, the pair travel about offering Napoli-inspired streetfood to the UK.

They have since launched their first book, Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy; and opened two pizzerias on Dean Street and Kingly Court. In 2014 they embarked on a 3,000 km pilgrimage to Italy to pick only the finest Amalfi lemons for their very own limoncello.


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