Until the age of 23, Gizzi Erskine was a professional body-piercer in Camden, north London. Now a food writer, chef and television presenter, she is best known as the host of the Channel 4 show Cook Yourself Thin and for the bestselling book of the same name. Her latest book, Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts, is due to be released on 28 March. She is working with Total Greek Yoghurt (totalgreekyoghurt.com) to create two new recipes.
What are your most- and least-used pieces of kitchen kit?
If there was a gadget I couldn’t live without, it would be my Thermomix. It’s like a really powerful blender, but it does everything. I sorted through my kitchen a while ago and I found a retro-looking avocado slicer at the back of my drawer that I’ve never used. I’ve kept it as an ornament.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it, and on what?
Chicken wings. Then you just need some rice, potato, self-raising flour and buttermilk. I’d cook them like buttermilk fried chicken, then toss them in this mixture of flours and have them with Korean-style dipping sauces.
What do you eat for comfort?
I love shepherd’s pie – it reminds me of my mum. Spaghetti bolognese, too. Pad Thai and Thai fried rice are also real comfort foods for me.
If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Potatoes. I love mashed potatoes, roast potatoes and chips. You couldn’t give up roast potatoes – that’s impossible.
What’s your desert island recipe?
A really good roast dinner with all the trimmings, really well-done, with really good beef, crunchy roast potatoes, bone-marrow gravy and fresh horseradish.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
A Japanese fusion restaurant in Marylebone called Dinings. It’s got ex-Nobu chefs and it’s really fancy but honest at the same time. It’s a real treat.
What’s your favourite cookbook?
The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. It’s written with such honesty and integrity. The one I use the most is the Robert Carrier encyclopedia Supercook. But for poetic and historical reading it would have to be Claudia Roden.
Who taught you to cook?
My mum. She was a phenomenal cook and being a single parent she would get us all in the kitchen. My earliest memories are peeling veggies at the sink, chopping food or making jam tarts, and we always cooked a Sunday roast together. I’m going to force my children to do exactly the same thing.