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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas