The Good Cook: Simon Hopkinson, king of the kitchen

Simon Hopkinson has some mighty fine bowls. A lovely kitchen too. In fact he’s another charming gay cook I’d quite like to move in with (I feel the same way about Nigel Slater, although I now realise it’s not lust at all, it’s pure greed). Both have gorgeous kitchens, and I’m not sure either would welcome a scruffy oik to mess their pans up really. But boy, would I be happy being fed by either of those two.

I knew of Simon, or ‘Hoppers’ as Jay Rayner says he’s known to his friends, through his excellent book, Roast Chicken and Other Stories, widely regarded as (and indeed voted for) the best cookbook ever by his fellow chefs. There’s no photo of him in it and it’s not lavishly illustrated or full of glossy photos. It’s a real, proper recipe book, in which everything you try works perfectly. And he is a self-confessed perfectionist so that figures. But it’s precisely why he is so damned good. Unlike some cooks, like myself, who love food but are also lazy arses, he does bother doing things properly, every time, and with good reason. I’d recommend that book for anyone. He comes across as someone you can trust. 

But do his programmes work? Well, yes they do. I’m certainly enjoying them, and admiring his gorgeous bowl collection too (he has other good old-fashioned kitchen devices I’m jealous of too, such as the hand operated puree maker which solves the problem of potato soup going claggy when you blend it, not a problem everyone will realise exists, but it does, as our household, where potato and garlic soup is made regularly, can testify). Simon Hopkinson lives in Bury, Lancashire, and we get to see his sincerely delightful relationship with local food suppliers, especially the butcher.

He has more of a soft spot than me for offal and heavy puddings, but there’s still plenty of superb food to savour in each episode. And I particularly enjoyed watching him lovingly create a roast chicken dinner with bread sauce, potatoes, sausage, bacon and gravy. And not one single other vegetable. Man’s a legend. I just wish he’d let me move in to become his food taster.

Posted by Inkface


Filed under Cooking shows

2 responses to “The Good Cook: Simon Hopkinson, king of the kitchen

  1. arialbold

    Ah he was indeed fabulous. Favourite line was when he said they had used ready ground pepper at home. And then in shocked tones added: “And my father didn’t buy his first black pepper grinder until I was 6!” Marvellous. But the food and the recipes are indeed divine. Now to seek out that hand operated puree maker …

  2. inkface

    Anyone who knows Gustav Temple will know what I mean when I say he’s very Chap. In the best possible way. I do find his love of white pepper a little startling, associating it as I do trying to give vile scoops of dry school dinner mash some kind of flavour. It might be a Lancastrian thing, not sure, will ask my mum. I also suspect he’s a man who enjoyed school dinners – what else could explain the love of rice pudding?

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