Meet Sam, he's our shiny new foodie that's just joined the fold. He has a real penchant for colourfully printed tshirts and plates full of veg. Pop the kettle on and get to know him.
Ask a foodie: Sam
Favourite food from childhood or earliest food memories
Without doubt honey sandwiches. A lunchbox staple at primary school!
Who taught you to cook growing up?
My dad. He was always keen to get me chopping veg, or trying ‘exotic’ new ingredients such as seafood and cheese (not at the same time!).
First thing you made by yourself?
A Mars Bar, carefully wrapped in offcuts of pastry and baked until golden brown. I was about 5 years old, and so proud!
When did you know you wanted to cook forever?
While studying an English degree in Liverpool, more often than not I could be found in the kitchen concocting various foodie experiments. Particularly if I had a tight essay deadline!
Tell us about your experience (learning your craft)
Professional kitchens initially expanded my knowledge and love of food. Although working as a chef wasn’t for me, my career in food was set, and I have spent the last decade working for excellent suppliers of meat, fish and vegetables, both in a practical and writing capacity. I started my blog Sam Cooks Food in 2012, writing recipes inspired by the seasonal ingredients found in my local food shops in North London.
Your favourite veg
Peas. A true sign of the start of summer, and an ingredient that conjures memories of food that I ate as a child. A unique and versatile ingredient, at home in a hearty stew, folded through pasta or raw in a delicate salad.
Your favourite food season?
I love Autumn. The food often reflects the colour of the trees – vibrant orange squash and burnished brown mushrooms and chestnuts. As the weather cools, light summer food slowly starts evolving into something a little more comforting.
Something you’d make for a party or to impress?
A beef wellington is always a showstopper. Although hopefully the guests don’t witness the nerve-wracking moments removing it from the oven, and slicing it without it falling apart.
Something you’ve made that you’re really proud of?
A few years ago I decided to make a surprise croquembouche for my now-wife’s birthday. I had never made choux pastry before, and it was a real roller coaster of a day. After various pastry meltdowns and a mess of crème patisserie, I finally managed something presentable. It was amazing to see the three-foot column of choux balls that had induced sweat and tears demolished and eaten in a matter of seconds, and it was party of a memorable celebration.
What food do you make for fun or to let off steam (not steamed veg or fish)
I find making homemade pasta very therapeutic. Stretching long sheets of dough across floured worktops, before cutting and hanging to dry around the kitchen.
A dish you’ll never tire of/ Dessert island dish
The first asparagus of the season dipped into a soft-boiled egg. A simple pleasure!
Describe your cooking style in three words:
Rustic, seasonal and flavourful
Top tips you wish you knew earlier on
To take a little time and enjoy the preparation and serving. When I first began cooking, everything would a rush to get the food on the table, and I’d be in pieces by the time it came to eating. Food is definitely improved with a little love, and taking pleasure in the process.