Now is the perfect time to up your game in the kitchen – and British chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and best-selling author Jason Atherton is here to help.
With the government lockdown in full effect, Jason – a husband and father to two daughters – has been focusing his culinary energy on feeding his small family rather than the thousands of diners who are currently unable to visit his restaurants all over the world
But in order to keep in touch with them, he has been filming his daily cooking routine on Instagram, guiding fans through his techniques for producing delicious recipes.
He’s launched Social Kitchen Isolation, offering fans cookery tips and hosting Vegetarian Night, Spanish Night and Italian Night, where he makes dishes to match the theme.
He’s also teamed up with Goodfellows at Home, launching an online shop so viewers can buy kitchen essentials online.
Owner Valda Goodfellow said: “We work with Jason on all of his restaurants, so when he called on Thursday about setting up the shop linked to his cooking at home videos, the infrastructure was already there. There was a slight snag in that we were all working from home, so setting up the new page, products and links had to all be done remotely. We managed all of this in just over 24hrs and the next day it is on TV! I am really proud to be associated with such a great chef.’
In an interview with GQ Magazine, Jason gave his top tips, from kitchen kit to recipes …
Keep it very simple. You don’t need loads of knives, countless pots and pans and pointless gadgets. Get yourself the following basic items and you will be able to prepare and cook almost all the recipes you could want.
1) One good quality knife. An eight-inch cooks knife is perfect. If you want to go high-end, choose a Florentine. For a more affordable mid-priced blade, I would recommend Kasumi or Wusthof. And for a cheaper option you could opt for Victorinox. (They don’t just do Swiss army knives!).
2) A chopping board.
3) Three pans (small, medium and large).
4) For the oven, get a roasting tray, a non-stick pan and a baking tray
5) You will also need a mixing bowl, a hand whisk and some wooden spoons.
I buy all my kitchen essentials from Goodfellows At Home (follow them @gg4home on Instagram) and the list I have given you above should be enough to get you started. You will probably have a few of them at home already. If you are going to treat yourself, a KitchenAid stand mixer is brilliant and you can accessorise it with a pasta maker, a spiralizer and a meat grinder. It’s definitely not a necessity, but they are fantastic bits of kit.
ABOVE: Some of the items available at Goodfellows at Home
There are two, really: keep it simple and do not throw things away. Firstly, with your recipes, don’t try to be over-ambitious if you aren’t sure what you are doing. Chances are you will end up either making something people don’t like, making a mess of the cooking or waste food by not using it efficiently. Secondly, do not throw anything out. Everything can be used somewhere, so instead of putting things in the bin… keep it. That includes the stalks of herbs, vegetable trimmings, the fat from meat. Honestly, trust me on this. You will definitely thank me later.
Every time you make a dish, keep a container to the side and put all your trimmings in that. When the dish is done, challenge yourself to do something with the leftovers. We do this at Pollen Street Social every day. All my chefs in the section are told to keep the trimmings from their food prep, from first thing in the morning. After lunch service has finished, we lay them all out on the pass and we plan a three-course meal for us to eat with what we would otherwise have thrown away. It’s quite rewarding and it is challenging, but the results are often delicious.
ABOVE: White is the perfect canvas for Jason’s Michelin-star creations and is a great choice for the clean look at home.