John Torode: My life in food...

 

John Torode is best known as the straight-talking TV presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef. He originally moved to the UK from his native Australia in the mid-1990s when he worked for the Conran Group. He owns two London restaurants. He is now working with IWSC Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan to launch the Neil McGuigan & John Torode Recipe Collection, a personalised food and wine matching service: mcguiganwines.co.uk

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

The most used thing I have is my wok. I prefer it to a pan or pot. It is my wonder. They’re really easy to clean, I am a lazy cook like that, so it appeals. I learnt a lot about Asian cookery when I opened my restaurant Mezzo in 1995, and it’s been my go-to since. Least used? I’d say it is my food processor. They are great in some ways. You can make pasta in them. You can make pastry in them. But I like to feel what I’m making. So I always prefer a pestle and mortar, or just to chop things with a knife.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I think I would go to a butcher and I’d buy some buy some decent, cheap braising meat. Something like some shin. I’d pinch some herbs on the way home, throw them on the meat with some lard or duck fat and braise it long and slow. Add some lentils and you’re laughing.

What do you eat for comfort?

In winter I love a pasty. They have everything you want: they are spicy, have veggies in them and pastry on them. Plus you can eat them with your hands and they taste brilliant with ketchup.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Definitely potatoes. You can mash them, fry them, make pastry from them – you can do everything with them. How could you live without chips? I could do without bread easily. Potatoes are much cleverer.

What’s your desert island recipe?

Take a whole fish and put whatever herbs you can get in it and then wrap it in a banana leaf and cook on a fire. All the things from the gut will flavour your fish.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

I would say The River Café. I have been going for 23 years now. The two ladies who started it, Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray, have been great fans of mine, and I have returned the compliment.

What’s your favourite cookbook?

It has always been the same: Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David. I came across it in a second-hand shop, not long having arrived in London. I cooked for her once at Le Pont de la Tour, which was a great honour. She speaks very evocatively in that book – it doesn’t tell you how to cook things so much, rather it suggests what you should do.

Who taught you to cook?

The inspiration to cook came from my grandmother and my father who were both wonderful home cooks. But I would say I taught myself. You travel, you discover the world, you explore books – it is these things that make a great cook.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)