Gizzi Erskine: 'I'm totally in love with Anthony Bourdain'

Sunday 23 January 2011 01:00 GMT

My earliest food memory... It's quite a weird one from when I was about 18 months old, which my mum is convinced can't be possible. We used to live in Scotland and I remember lying on a mat watching her picking vegetables in the vegetable garden and being surrounded by all these colours and smells and tartan and loads of soil.

Store-cupboard essentials... I spent time in Asia later in my childhood because my mum worked out there, and so I have to have a lot of Asian things. I cannot live without tons of garlic and chillies, ginger, spring onions, loads of lemongrass, frozen lime leaves, fish sauce and oyster sauce. I also make my own curry paste, which I store in little individual portions and I can just whack out of the freezer at any point.

The kitchen appliance i can't live without... Without a good set of knives, you're screwed: I've used Global [knives] for years but I've got my heart set on some from the Japanese Knife Company. They're up to £500 each, but you can keep them for ever if you take care of them, so they're an investment.

Culinary tip... Great ingredients are the basis for great food: for example, a good-quality piece of meat that's been dry-hung and farmed in the correct way. I know some people get pissed off with that argument because of the financial side of things, which I understand, because until the past six months I've not had any money. But I'd rather have good meat occasionally and not eat meat the rest of the time. We eat far too much meat in this country anyway.

Favourite food shop... The Ginger Pig butcher, near me in Hackney, which I use a lot for meat and cold cuts. I also love Gastronomica in Wapping, which is a Southern Italian deli, and has really great cheeses, and online, Fish For Thought is a phenomenal fish supplier. It's cheap as chips, and they deliver to your door pretty much the morning the fish is caught in Cornwall.

My top table... Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill. It has been for a long time, and my boyfriend and I go there quite a lot, so it's funny that I'm working with [its chef-patron] Richard Corrigan now. I just like that it has a very relaxed, down-to-earth environment; the food is very honest.

Dream dining companion... Anthony Bourdain. I'm totally in love with him. He's really naughty and so handsome, and I think we probably share a similar ethos, in that he's quite rock and roll, and has stood out in an industry in which everyone is quite samey.

Desert island dish... A really good seafood platter, with dressed crab and amazing lobster and a mixture of native and rock oysters and clams and really good mayonnaise... and I'd have to have a side order of chips as well and, go on, some champagne.

Guilty pleasure... I'm obsessed with Southern fried chicken. I love the smell and the taste and every time I walk past a chicken shop, it's torture because I don't allow myself to get it. I don't have a problem with eating fried food, it's just with the quality and the ethics of where the meat comes from. I'm waiting for someone to create organic or free-range Southern fried chicken that you can buy on the high street – it would make my life.

Pet hates... I think the most pointless vegetable in the universe is a mange tout. I just don't get it: it's got no flavour and it tastes wet and damp. Also, I hate the whole way food is packaged: when I go to the supermarket and see everything trussed up in plastic, it makes me mad.

Tipple of choice... It would have been champagne, but I got hideously drunk with Corrigan on Friday and I've never been more hungover in my life. I can't even deal with the word champagne at the moment. hugh montgomery

Gizzi Erskine is a chef, food writer and television presenter. She will be hosting 'Cookery School' on Channel Four on weekday afternoons from 31 January until the end of March

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