Becky Paskin, whiskey expert and founder of OurWhisky, on her favorite restaurant and first memory of food

What is your favorite ingredient?

Cheese. It really is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I would bet it on everything if I could. I haven’t tried cheese porridge yet, but I bet it tastes amazing.

Do you have a guilty pleasure in eating?

Becky Paskin, photo: Joe Hanley

I recently started pairing retro sweets with whiskey and it works surprisingly well. Toasted marshmallows bring out the vanilla sweetness of grain whiskey, and if you let a cube of cola dissolve in a glass of bourbon, it adds a savory herbal cola flavor. This may sound sacrilegious to some, but I like to have a little fun with my whisky.

Tell us about your first memory of food?

My mother was a terrible cook. Her most famous dishes included black soup, deep-fried pizza, and a honeycomb so hard as a rock that she had to throw away the pan. Probably the worst dish was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza, which tasted of cheese, tomatoes, apples and custard. Suffice it to say that I learned to cook from a very young age solely to survive.

What is your favorite Scottish restaurant, deli or café?

Maybe Timberyard in Edinburgh. I love their seasonal ingredient based approach and how they include foraging, marinating and fermentation on the menu. Plus, their drink list is always fantastic – they have a lovely selection of wines and whiskeys, and you should definitely try one of their bushes (vinegar-based cocktail).

What will be your last dinner?

Giant sourdough Margherita pizza with a bottle of 16-year-old Lagavulin to wash it down. Although, if money weren’t an issue, I’d end up with an indulgent 1960s Bowmore for its mouth-wateringly colorful tropical fruit. This is whiskey that sees me off as a very happy lady.

Always starter. I’m not particularly sweet. Instead, I prefer to end my meal with a large glass of whiskey, ideally a malt sherry like Glenfarclas 15 or Aberlour A’bunadh.

Do you hate food?

I can’t stand anything that combines sweet and savory flavors in the same dish, like cheese with fruit or sweet and sour fried sauce. Pineapple on pizza might just end up in the bin.

What appetizers, main course and dessert will be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

I would love to have dinner with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Coleman, I bet they will be very funny and have so many stories to tell. For starters, we would have a burrata with arugula, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, and our main course would be something in common, like a Middle Eastern mezze. For dessert, we would have the classic sticky toffee pudding (or just a fantastic bottle of whiskey).

What is your favorite gourmet geographic location?

Vietnam has the brightest, freshest and most varied food. I once spent several weeks traveling the country and ate hearty banh me, steaming bowls of phoand delicious noodles and summer buns.

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