Politicians and their plates: Alex Cole-Hamilton makes pizza
Alex Cole-Hamilton lighting his pizza oven with a blowtorch - Image credit: Alex Cole-Hamilton
Describe your favourite plate of food.
My favourite plate of food would have to be a plate of south east Asian street food. I’m a vegetarian, and of all the places I’ve travelled, Thailand and Malaysia offer the most choice and greatest varieties of flavour for the vegetarian palate. I’d have pad thai or mee hoon fresh fried tofu and shitake mushrooms.
Why is it so special?
My wife and I got engaged in Malaysia. (I proposed to her on a diving slate 20 metres beneath the surface of the South China Sea.) We went out for street food to celebrate that night.
Who have you shared this plate of food with and what was the occasion?
It’s not really a meal, but it’s pretty rockstar. On the way to a Stones concert in 1999 I was in the passenger seat of a minibus on the way to Wembley, a limo pulled alongside, we were doing about 40mph and the back window came down and there was the band ‘Sixpence None the Richer’. We had a conversation and then shared crisps and beer back and forth – all whilst driving at 40mph.
More generally, what’s your most memorable meal and why?
Probably the buffet at the opening of the Edinburgh Dungeon. I was the guest of an MSP and there was so much food. There were two piles of savoury profiteroles one of salmon and one of cream cheese. Somehow a rogue salmon one had got into the cream cheese pile and I scoffed it. As a vegetarian the taste of fish is alien and pretty rank actually so I had to quietly spit it into a napkin and stuff it behind a curtain. (I hope they found it.)
Have you ever had any culinary disasters?
Using industrial strength Thai red curry paste in a meal for dinner party guests that didn’t like spice. I had to water it down with four litres of milk. We had to eat it for days.
What would be your last meal of choice?
I love Asian food, and whilst south east Asian street food is my everyday favourite, a banquet at Dishoom (Bombay street food restaurant) Edinburgh would probably do me for my last bit of scran before eternity.
What’s your comfort food?
I love pasta, but I recently bought a wood pellet-fired pizza oven. Nothing I have ever owned has given me more joy. Fresh, homemade pizza from scratch is my go-to comfort food.
Is there any plate of food that you would never eat?
Aside from meat (which is a pretty big aside), I could never get worked up about rice pudding. In fact I’d use it to stick up wallpaper before putting it in my mouth.
What is your favourite thing on the Scottish Parliament menu?
Mac and cheese and chips of course!!! Anyone who tells you it isn’t their favourite is lying to you.