Rekha Patel from Clocktower and Pizza Della Casa Epping describes her dream dinner party

PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 20 February 2013

Rekha Patel proprietor Clocktower and Pizza Della Casa

Rekha Patel proprietor Clocktower and Pizza Della Casa

We ask local people from the food and wine industry<br/><br/>to describe their dream dinner party

How did you get started?
I finally realised that sitting in an office wasnt going to make me happy in life. I graduated in hospitality management in 1995 then went to work for several restaurant chains as a manager before training as a chef at Butlers Warf chef school and working at Quaglinos. I bought my Ongar restaurant in 2001 and Epping restaurant in 2002, creating the Clocktower brand where we believe in all-day casual dining with freshly-prepared food and relaxed, friendly service.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Small things make me proud all the time: someone complementing my staff, being asked to host someones wedding or special birthday, a small child asking to come to Clocktower because they like the food or my team working together to make a busy evening run smoothly.

If you could invite any five famous people to a dinner party who would they be and why?
Princess Margaret, the fun-loving rebellious royal who must have some wonderful stories. Richard Branson for his natural instinct for knowing what his customers want. Freddie Mercury for his unbelievable voice and showmanship and Anthony Hopkins, a great, classic actor, but he also appeals to non film and theatre buffs like me. Finally, Margaret Thatcher. Whether you agree with her politics or not, she was a woman in a male-dominated world and had the determination to take the path which she believed was right.

Where would you host it?
At my house. Im lucky enough to have a great space and dining table for entertaining.

What would you serve?
I like to keep things really simple when entertaining, letting the freshness and flavours speak for themselves, that way you dont get distracted from being the perfect host. So wed have Champagne cocktails to begin and then for starters, a selection of antipasti both meat and vegetarian (cured meats, marinated vegetables etc). For the main course wed have a selection of fresh char-grilled fish and seafood, drizzled with garlic olive oil, either salad or fine beans depending on the season and roast new potatoes. For dessert wed have a dark chocolate parfait with kirsch-laced cherries and clotted cream. Wed then have a big cheeseboard with nuts, grapes and quince jelly. A selection of white wines would sit in a huge ice bucket next to me and Id have a range of light to heavy reds so that we could all drink what we fancied with each course.

Which chef would you ask to cook?
Daniele, my other half and chef at Clocktower. As hes Italian he knows how to bring out great flavours without messing around with the food.

How would the seating plan look?
Richard and I would sit at opposite ends of the table. He would entertain the two Margarets and I would want to be charmed by Anthony and Freddie either side of me. As Im saying that, Im getting butterflies as if it were really going to happen! Could you imagine?

What would you talk about?
Thered be so many amazing stories Id love to hear, I think Id invite them for lunch instead so we could have the whole day.

If your guests start getting bored how would you entertain them?
It just wouldnt happen, would it? But if we had time Id love to hear Freddie belt out a tune.

Book a table
4 Station Road, Epping CM16 4HA
01992 575 707

Pizza Della Casa
Budworth Hall, High Street,
Ongar CM5 9JG
01277 362431

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