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What Chef Jackson Boxer Can’t Live Without

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If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the stain remover pen and the tongue cleaner. We asked British chef Jackson Boxer, who is taking part in charity event Who’s Cooking Dinner? this March, about the English caviar, the Japanese steel knife, and the eau de parfum he can’t live without.

I think Commes De Garçons produce really interesting scents, often with quite spicy, strong, pronounced, almost industrial and vegetal tones to them. The Wonderwood uses oud, which is a fermented resin; it’s very rarified, pungent, almost a blue-cheesy odour. It doesn’t smell like anything else palatable or interesting, but it feels fantastic on your skin. I always wear scent in the kitchen. It’s my kitchen, so I can do what I want! I feel like, worn at an appropriate level, it can be worn anywhere. A dab in the morning will linger.

I work in an environment that isn’t conducive to good skin, and my friends know that, so one of them came through and got me this. He said, ‘This is what you need, just make sure to apply it every morning and drink lots of water, and you’ll be fine’. And it has had a massive effect on my appearance — I don’t think I look great, but I would look absolutely terrible otherwise. It’s a highly concentrated cream without being greasy. I just put it on in the morning after a quick shower. It feels good for London, too — I don’t feel filthy the moment I get on public transport.

Cooking involves a huge amount of organisation and preparation, writing lots of labels, scribbling on things. You have huge fridges stacked from top to bottom full of containers featuring things that are cooked, things that are raw. Everything needs to be scrupulously labelled, partly so you can identify things in a hurry, but also so you can log dates of when things came in or when they need to be used by. However, the incredible usefulness of a fine-point Sharpie is being able to write on anything legibly and clearly. Even bad handwriting is legible in a Sharpie.

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I have a huge array of knives which I have bought at huge expense over the years. Now, I am kind of obsessed with simplifying everything. And the Gyoto knife is my all-purpose kitchen knife for the majority of my tasks. It’s rarely out of my hand. It can do any job with a fair amount of precision, because it’s crafted so beautifully, and it holds such a sharp edge. It was made for me, so it weighs nothing in my hand, as it’s perfectly balanced. The Blenheim Forge guys hand-forge these knives in Peckham, which is incredible. They’re self-taught, passionate, lovely boys who, whenever I go to see them, they’re covered in soot, wearing boiler suits, tinkering around their workshop making things.

I absolutely adore caviar. It’s one of the few truly luxurious products I think justifies the money because it is just so enjoyable. It’s so tasty, so sexy, so unlike anything else. Making caviar is complicated, and it’s hard to do at scale. This brand is not the fanciest out there, but it’s made in Exmoor, so for the UK market, they use a very low level of salt and they don’t pasteurise, which is very rare. Most caviar is put in tins and then ‘heat treated’, to pasteurise it, which kills off a lot of the subtle flavour notes. It’s also often oversalted to prolong the shelf life. So this isn’t Beluga Grand Imperial, but it is incredibly delicious, and in caviar terms, it’s a pretty low price. It’s unimpeachably good, and I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t blown away by this when they try it.

While the spread of information is incredibly important, the diligent analysis of it is also incredibly invaluable. LRB is more of a cultural organ concerned with literary and academic subjects, but in terms of being a really interesting, irreverent journal of ideas, especially regarding contemporary politics, art and culture, it’s an enjoyable and very worthwhile institution that’s worth supporting. I don’t have a lot of time to read, but my grandfather [former Tatler editor Mark Boxer] was involved in getting it started, so I do feel this affection for the LRB.

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What Jackson Boxer Can’t Live Without