Last Word: Phil Pringle

Hospitality & Catering curriculum lead, Newcastle College

What do you have for breakfast?
I don’t have a fixed breakfast routine, though I have to have a latte every morning. If I have breakfast, I like porridge with a little jam or, if I’ve had a few beers the night before, a bacon and sausage sandwich.

And your go-to guilty pleasure?
I love Chinese food, either at our favourite local restaurant, Gosforth Palace, or as a takeaway. The flavours are among my favourites and I enjoy socialising over a meal with friends and family.

What would be your last meal on earth?
A medium-rare ribeye steak with lots of pepper served with chunky chips and a pepper sauce or herb butter.

What’s in your home fridge?
I keep a good stock in there, plenty of protein – chicken, steaks, and bacon and sausage – lots of vegetables and salads. I have a good selection of cheese including my favourite, Cornish Yarg. I’m passionate about not wasting anything so I’ll always throw together soups and stews later in the week.

Which ingredient would you have if you could only choose one?
Maldon sea salt is essential, and if I could only have one it would be a good olive oil. I get mine from La Casa Delicatessen in the Grainger Market and while it’s an indulgence, it’s essential in my kitchen.

What’s your most important piece of kitchen kit?
I’m a bit of geek and it’s important to stay up to date when you’re teaching so I have a lot of kit. I love my Konro Grill, and my go-to is my Thermomix. I get a bit of stick for having one at home, but I use it for everything from soups and purées to bread.

What’s your favourite cookbook?
My favourite cookbook – the most important book in my life – is White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It’s so much more than a cookbook; the wider discussion in the first half captures everything that’s inspiring about the industry.

What’s your most important piece of advice in the kitchen?
Learn about everything that goes into a dish – where the produce is from, when it’s in season, its costings, how it fits into a whole menu, etc. That wider learning will be essential throughout your career.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working in food?
I was sporty as a youngster and dreamed of being a footballer, but food hooked me early on. Being a chef is very practical, so perhaps I would have enjoyed a trade like joinery.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, what would you buy?
I’d pick up some beef or lamb shoulder, a few vegetables and herbs and pop them into one pot in a low oven for 4-5 hours. Simple food is the way to go.

Who is the greatest cook ever?
It has to be Marco Pierre White, and his book White Heat, as mentioned, has had such a huge influence on my career and my life.

A former Royal Navy chef, Phil moved into education in 2011. He won the NECTA North East Chef of the Year in 2018 and today leads the training of the next generation of chefs at Newcastle College. He also contributed to Galley: The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Cookbook, in 2021, available at

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