As I mentioned before, I've been paired with Jamie Theakston to keep an eye on the Talk & Fork category of the Tesco Real Food Challenge. I put some food and cooking questions to him recently and am happy to share my interview with you here!
Do you remember the first thing you cooked? What was it and how old were you?
Chocolate refrigerator cake!! I remember my mum letting me clean the bowl – yum!
With a young family at home, what are your favourite family meals?
The kids are 3 and 2 – they love sausages, pasta, and, oddly olives!! I couldn’t stand Olives when I was younger!!
Do you cook with the kids? If so, what do you love cooking together?
They are still a bit too young, but they love their food, and I’m pretty sure they will grow up to be keen cooks!
What is your ultimate dish when cooking to impress?
I like to cook seasonally – my fave at this time of the year is to zap some mint sauce and peas into a puree in the blender, spread onto griddled sourdough bread, put some Parma ham and asparagus on top, shaved parmesan, soft boiled egg and then glug of decent olive oil – buonissimo!
What kind of music do you like to cook to?
Foo Fighters puts me in the right mood.
Who would be your 5 ideal dinner party guests - alive, dead or fictional?
What's the best veggie dish you've ever had?
One of my top restaurants is called Babbo in NY – they do Asparagus ravioli with ricotta and spring onion butter – it’s wonderful…
What is your favourite comfort food?
Burrata – with a little olive oil and aubergines Or try it with honey and oregano.
Have you discovered/ tried any new foods lately, that you've really liked or hated?
I went to a gallery opening recently and they served frozen party food – it was terrible!
Ignoring health implications for a moment, if you could eat only one dish for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
What's your favourite cuisine cooking at home and what's your favourite cuisine eating out?
Italian – we are going to Orvieto this summer on holiday, I can’t wait!
You're based in London - can you recommend your favourite neighbourhood restaurant and your favourite for a special occasion?
My top place to eat in London is Scott's in London – best razor-clams in town! I live near La Trompette in Chiswick which is said to be very good. Also a friend of mine is opening a pub called the Devonshire very soon – I'm looking forward to eating there!!
Any plans to follow former your former colleague Jane Middlemiss on to Celebrity MasterChef?
I'd love to! It looks a lot of fun!
What's in your fridge right now?
Asparagus, some left over lamb and some mackerel that needs eating!
Some strawberries (the kids love them).
And a left over pea and bean salad with chilli and goats cheese which I will zap in the blender and eat with the lamb.
What cookery book do you use more than any other?
Nigel Slater is the best – probably ‘The Kitchen Diaries’ or even ‘Real Fast Food’. I also like Jane Grigsons ‘English Food’.
Do you have a food idol? If so who and why?
Keith Floyd – as a TV presenter, his approach was completely unique!
If you could banish one ingredient from the face of the planet, what would it be?
Andouillette sausage – eugh – you won’t find it sold over here for good reason – its pigs colon, and it tastes as bad as it sounds. If you do see it over here, you’ll know the French have invaded…
If you were a cheese, what would you be?
Stilton – bit funny looking from the outside, bit smelly, very English and great with a bottle of Claret!