“Are you looking for any particular recipes at the moment” is a question I’m often asked, and the answer is always the same. Yes, good ones. Glib, eh?
But before you roll your eyes at me, ask yourself what sort of recipes you are looking for, and I bet it’s the same as me.
Tasty, obviously, but probably easy too. Not quick necessarily, although that always helps, but not too many ingredients, minimum number of steps, no particular skill required.
Maximum return for your efforts, basically.
I’m also willing to bet your eye will be drawn to a famous name or credible source. Five quick and easy pasta dishes from Giorgio Locatelli or The River Café, say, over five must-have burgers from John Smith, executive development chef of Buns and Baps.
It’s not particularly fair – that Smith geezer might be as good at cooking as Gordon Ramsay is at swearing – but it’s all about recognition, and celebrity trumps anonymity every time.
Not even Michelin stars count for much if the chef’s name doesn’t ring a bell.
How big a bell is has to ring will depend on your target publication, but it’s also got to ring the right bell, and the cut-off is brutal. At the top you have the true celebrities, familiar even to those with no interest in food – the Nigellas, Marys and Jamies of this world.
Then you have the chefs whose names are an endorsement of quality – Theo Randall or Nathan Outlaw, say – and then you have Aldo Zilli.