Rachel Allen, celeb chef and author, returns with a new cookery show on TV.
Tell us about Rachel Allen’s East Meals. What can aspiring chefs get out of it?
I am passionate about food and, through the show, I will share my passion with you all. For instance, spices are very important. I think that spices are the crust of any dish. You can cook something, such as lamb cutlets or lamb chops and put in some crushed cumin or coriander, or it could be something as simple as chickpeas and it will pack in a different flavour.
What makes people wary of cooking? Is it rocket science? Many find it a waste of time?
No, it’s no rocket science. You just need to get your basics right, be organised, plan your menu in advance, taste your food and use best and fresh produce. Start with cooking something simple that you would love to eat and make it, and just take it from there.
What got you into cooking in the first place? When did the love affair begin?
It all began at home with my mom. I always found cooking fun. My parents suggested I take up a cooking course because they knew I just loved it. While doing that course I actually found my passion.
What is your mantra for a great dish?
I always use fresh produce and good quality products. I believe that a great spice is a crust of any dish. It should be packed
Which is your favourite food?
I love Thai and Asian — I love the sweet and salty and husk flavour. But you know I love what my mom makes. Breast chicken stuffed with bread crumbs and cooked with a little bit of lemon.
You have been focusing a lot on health food lately. Any particular reason?
Absolutely. Fast food is really harmful and I know that I need to avoid it because if I munch it, I will lose my energy. I prefer not to eat it and focus on healthy food and propagate the same.
Will Easy Meals have vegetarian dishes too?
Yes, you will see lot of green veggies. I like to cook my food in natural flavors.
If not a celebrity cook, what would you have pursued as a career?
I would be travelling a lot or probably I’d become a writer.