This month we ask five fab chefs – What’s the most important thing your mum/grandmother taught you about food?
Engine Room at The Fire Station, Sunderland
My gran, who died last year, was a fantastic cook. She always said that if you don’t put care and attention into everything you make, it’ll never be the best you can do. She also said ‘the first taste you have of food is with the eyes, so it should always be aesthetically pleasing’. These simple mantras have stuck with me.
The Inn Collection Group
My mum Joanne was head chef at the American Air Base in Bicester, cooking for 3,000-plus in the officers’ mess. She told me to keep it simple, use good quality ingredients and let the flavours work together. She made fantastic rice pudding, goose fat roasties and the crispiest pork crackling; great old-school cookery.
Searcys at The Treehouse, Alnwick Garden
My gran was a home baker, so I spent hours baking at the kitchen table, making everything from scones to bread, cakes and puddings with her. For the time (the 70s) my mum had a more extensive, international range of dishes than anyone, and she would prepare wonderful things like moussaka and lasagne.
Forge RESTAURANT, Middleton Lodge
My Nanna Betty was a great influence. She was a big part of my childhood, always in the kitchen making cakes and biscuits for jumble sales, and saving one or two for me. Cooking was simpler then and that influenced my style; I love the challenge of creating something unexpected and delicious from ingredients grown here on the estate.
My family emigrated to Canada when I was a young child. My mum, keen to carry on tradition, was not the greatest of cooks (this is probably why I learned to cook!) and taught me how to make the perfect Yorkshire pudding using a teacup to measure the ingredients. This technique has been etched into my consciousness ever since and I still follow it to this day.