“I wasn't arrested just escorted off the premises!”

Alex South

Alex South


Aaron Middleton and Ollie Dabbous discuss their favourite past jobs, close encounters with the law, and Ollie’s dislike for kidneys.

In this week’s episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen, Editor Cara Houchen was joined by co-host Aaron Middleton, Chef and social media influencer, and his guest Ollie Dabbous, owner of the one Michelin-starred Hide.

During the episode, the pair discussed everything from which ingredients they each really dislike, to what actions would likely lead to their separate arrests.


Born in Kuwait to a French-Italian father, Ollie moved to England with his mother and brother for school, and spent his holidays visiting his father in the Middle East.

After a handful of unpaid work experience placements – at Kensington Place under Rowley Leigh, and the three Michelin-starred Guy Savoy in Paris – Ollie struck gold with Raymond Blanc.

Upon finishing his A-levels, Ollie secured a job at the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, which he says is “the hardest place I’ve ever worked.”

Rising through the ranks to become senior chef de partie, Ollie was again exposed to the importance of fresh and seasonal produce, with the two-acre garden on site at Le Manoir at the roots of every restaurant dish.

After leaving Le Manoir, Ollie travelled across the continent to work in renowned kitchens including The Fat Duck, Noma, Mugaritz and Claude Bosi's Hibiscus.

On his return to England, Ollie secured the position of head chef at Texture. After two years, he met the Swedish mixologist Oskar Kinberg, with whom he opened his own venture Dabbous in Fitzrovia, London. It was awarded one Michelin star within just eight months of service.

Ollie opened Hide in Piccadilly - a multi-story dining experience with two restaurants and a bar.

Hide Below is the basement bar with a record-breaking wine list, Hide Ground is the casual all-day space, where his team offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with Hide Above being Ollie’s top floor restaurant with views over Green Park, where diners can enjoy a set lunch or tasting menu dinner.

Hide was awarded Wine List Of The Year in the Harden's London Restaurant Awards 2018, and was awarded its first star in the Michelin Guide 2019.


Kickstarting the episode, both Ollie and Aaron faced Grilled’s infamous Wheel of Truth, where both chefs were asked to reveal their biggest food dislikes.

Answering the question first, Aaron explained ground turmeric was his biggest food turnoff thanks to it being a regular backseat spice and famed Tupperware destroyer.

"I think it just always tastes a bit like cupboard. It's always that one at the back, the damp has got to it, it's in clumps, and then if you get it on a bit of Tupperware in your sink, it takes some serious cleaning to get it off,” explained Aaron.

For Ollie, most of his food dislikes come from the texture of different foods, with the chef revealing his disapproval for kidneys.

“It's actually not a very cheffy thing for me to say but things like snails, and frog’s legs, and even certain sorts of simmered mushrooms, and then also kidneys just because of the intensity and especially when you know what purpose they perform,” Ollie explained.

Explaining where food dislikes often stem from, Ollie added: “A lot of people's food dislikes are texture based and that comes from it being a natural first form of self-defence. If you put in metal or glass on your tongue, your body is going to reject it and spit it out straightaway.”


During the podcast, both Ollie and Aaron were asked if either of them had been arrested over the years, with Ollie retelling one particular story from a heavy night out in London.

Despite not being arrested, Ollie recalled: "I passed out on someone's front garden many years ago. I just had a night out and it just looked nice and cosy, and I just needed to sleep. It was somewhere in Chelsea, I think I was about 19 and just absolutely smashed and thought a nice little bit of grass, I'll just camp myself there. Apparently, the homeowner didn't like it so yeah. I wasn't arrested just escorted off the premises, but I can't even barely remember it.”

Like Ollie, Aaron also revealed he had not been arrested but assumed if he was, his family and friends would likely assume the probable cause would also be a messy night out.

"No, I have not been arrested. What would my family think I had done? Probably something similar to Ollie's story about some sort of night out where there was a lot of overindulgence and maybe something stupid was done. Luckily, there was no police on Necker Island, my most reckless years were not seen by any law enforcement officer at all," joked Aaron.


Looking back at their careers and the numerous different jobs they’ve each worked in, Ollie and Aaron discussed which of their past jobs they loved the most and why.

Kicking off, describing his time at Le Manoir, Aaron said: "In terms of work esteem, I think when I was three years into Le Manoir, when you first realise that you have half an idea of what you're doing, and things start to flow and things start to click, and the way you structure your day starts to work.”

He added: “All those nuances of cooking that you've been working on are starting to click together and everything starts to flow and you realise what can be achieved and what can be done and you get that first little inkling of ‘maybe this is not too bad’ before it gets ripped out of you again and again."

Like Aaron, Ollie also held his time at Le Manoir with great respect, explaining it was those formative years that turned him into the chef he is today.

Explaining his time at Le Manoir in greater detail, Ollie said: "I knew a lot about cooking but I couldn't actually really cook professionally in that sort of kitchen, and then you go from washing the spinach and grating Parmesan to actually making the filling to a pasta, making the pasta, and changing sections. It almost forges you, and it's good that it's tough. It should be hard."

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 26th May 2023

“I wasn't arrested just escorted off the premises!”