We as a nation are obsessed with food on the telly.
From The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef and The Great British Menu, to Sunday Brunch and Saturday Kitchen, to every foodie programme listed on Netflix – if we’re not eating, we’re watching other people eating.
And why wouldn’t we be? On shows with professional chefs and bakers, we get to experience dishes and ingredients we may never get a chance to in real life, from delicacies from abroad to menus at Michelin starred restaurants.
But that doesn’t mean these are the favourite foods of those we trust to tell us what is tasty.
We have asked some of the UK’s most famous TV foodies what their favourite meals and snacks are, and while there are some distinguished palettes amongst them, it turns out even the most experienced chefs love crisps, chocolate and takeaways as much as the rest of us.
Simon Rimmer, Sunday Brunch host
‘Lamb saag balti, but madras hot with pilau rice and naan bread.
‘I dream of this if I’m hungry, hungover, happy, sad, back from holiday, or on a night out.
‘Slow cooked, falling apart lamb with rich spinach and indian spices – washed down with a nice cold pint of Kingfisher.’
Michel Roux Jr, MasterChef star and chef patron at Le Gavroche
‘I don’t really have a favourite food, I love it all! I think it’s who you’re with that makes a meal truly special – all of my favourite meals have been with my wife and daughter.
‘Having said that, I think my guilty pleasure would have to be dark chocolate, I can’t resist! It has to be high quality chocolate, and at least 70% cocoa solids. I think my love of chocolate came from my mother; she taught me to make my first dish, which was a dark chocolate mousse and I’ve loved it ever since.
‘Everyone knows my father as a great chef, but my mother was actually an incredible cook too. Her shepherd’s pie with leftover roast lamb and vegetables was heaven, although my dad did make a duck version with truffles which came pretty close!’
Marcus Wareing, Michelin starred chef and MasterChef: The Professionals judge
‘It’s a hard one to answer as my tastes change over the seasons and time of day! However I think my go to dish has to be the duck salad at The Ivy.
‘I first had it at the original Ivy and Le Caprice 20 years ago. Still love it in whatever form it appears, which differs slightly from the original!’
For more info on Marcus’ restaurants, visit his website.
Ruby Tandoh, Great British Bake Off star and author of Flavour and Eat Up
‘I’m a very fickle person so my favourites will change all the time, but right here, right now, I’m going to say Minstrels. Here’s why, and I’ve really given it some thought: firstly, in this glorious, end-of-the-world global warming weather, that crisp little shell means I’m not having to worry about them clumping the bag, or melting all over my jeans when I evitably drop one in my lap because I’m too busy watching Love Island.
‘Also, and this is crucial: the shell means that a Minstrel is never bad. Food safety pros might not agree with that, but it’s my firmly held opinion and I’ll never be disavowed of it. I think I even tweeted it once. [It’s true – in 2015, Ruby tweeted: ‘A Minstrel found down the side of the sofa is as good after 3 years as it was the day it was dropped – one of life’s great gift.’] And obvious, they’re delicious. God’s own cinema snack.’
Gregg Wallace, MasterChef host
‘My favourite snack is to combine handfuls of salted peanuts with scampi fries. I love the sharp saltiness of scampi fries and the texture of nuts. Perfect.
‘My favourite meal is roast lamb with roast potatoes and mint sauce. My grandmother always cooked it when I visited her as a small boy. The flavours have been in my heart ever since.’
Gregg’s Italian Family Cookbook by Gregg & Anna Wallace, £20 from Octopus, is available now.
Jack Monroe, Cooking On A Bootstrap and Tin Can Cook author
‘My favourite snack at the moment is, unashamedly, my own sweet-sour cannelini beans. Knocked up from a tin of beans and a few simple ingredients then left to steep for a tormenting week, they are great on toast, in a wrap, on crackers, to enliven a simple can of soup on a lazy day, or spooned straight from the jar.
‘Once the jar is unsealed in my household, no matter how large it is, they vanish almost instantly.’
Recipe on Cooking On A Bootstrap and page 58 of Tin Can Cook: 75 Simple Store-cupboard Recipes, available now.
Lisa Faulkner, MasterChef champion and TV chef
‘My favourite meal from a restaurant is the thing I always want from the Little Viet kitchen. Oh my goodness – I want it all the time. It’s a crispy seabass dish with chilli and fish sauce – its amazing. Thuy the chef is incredible.
‘My favourite snack – Five Guys, it’s a tasty burger.’
Meant To Be: My Journey to Motherhood by Lisa Faulkner is out now.
Paul Ainsworth, Great British Menu star and chef at Rojano’s In The Square
‘My favourite meal has got to be Italian, I absolutely love Italian flavours and a really good pizza ticks all the boxes for me.
‘Same for a snack really – I love antipasti meats, they are just so full of flavour and you can get such a variety. It’s just my go to food on my day off. At home I will do a mozzarella and tomato salad with antipasti and it’s something we all love to share as a family.’
Tom Kerridge, Michelin starred chef
Tom may be into more carb-light, protein-heavy meals now that he’s lost 12 stone in a healthy eating and fitness regime, but he still has the same cravings as us all.
On Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s podcast Off Menu, Kerridge said that his dream starter would be calamari with mayonnaise, his dream main course would be classic fish and chips served with mushy peas, gravy and curry sauce, and his dream dessert would be a knickerbocker glory from the old eatery chain Berni Inn.
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