Last to chat to us is Gee Charman, who thanks her stints in the TV world for some of her influences, but remembers how her Grandmother has inspired her too.
Which country would you say was your strongest influence in cooking?
I’m British through and through but working on a TV show called Market Kitchen exposed me to so many different world cuisines that I have absorbed many different techniques and flavours over the years. I love anything from South East Asian spice to the classics of French cookery.
If you could travel to cook in any country for a year, where would it be?
We went on holiday to Burma / Myanmar last year and the food was so unusual but familiar at the same time. It had many familiar flavours of Thailand but with a unique twist. I would love to learn more and challenge myself there.
What’s your favourite childhood holiday memory?
We took a family holiday with both grandmothers to Cornwall when I was about 7/8. One morning my grandmother took us “periwinkling.“ We collected loads in our little buckets then took them back to the flat we rented and cooked them up. Nanny then showed us how to use a safety pin to remove the meat. Once out of their shells they looked horrible so I decided that I was going to be a vegetarian . It lasted all of 2 hours as we then went to the fish and chip shop on the harbour for supper and cod was the order of the day!
Where’s your favourite place to travel?
In the UK, it has to be Devon and Cornwall . I was at university in Exeter and we had many happy holidays there as a child. I love the coastline , the food, especially the fresh seafood and the fact that my death row meal would be crab on toast, shows how much I love it. Somehow by the sea it tastes a hundred times better!
Outside the UK, I would love to go back to Burma/ Myanmar.
If you could fly anywhere in the world for a day, where would it be?
Africa. Not entirely food related but I would love to do a wine tour followed by a safari .One day I’ll do it……
What’s your favourite cookery book?
I have hundreds but I do love the Maze cook book by Jason Atherton
If you had to cook one dish, what would it be & why?
That’s like asking the Pope to pray for one thing only! For me, it’s totally dependent on mood and situation.
If you had to choose one country to move to, where would it be?
Probably Australia – I love how light the food is there. I think it’s because of the sunshine, and the Asian influences they have in the food. I’m also not a languages person so the fact they speak English helps too!
What’s your best food memory from a holiday?
In Myanmar we went to the most magical place called Inle Lake. We went to a cultural centre where they train young people in hotel management and as chefs. We had the most amazing salad there as part of a magical set lunch. One of the main components was peanuts but they had been soaked and dried, then soaked again, then oven roasted. It completely changed their texture and mixed the green papaya, it was simply divine.
Who was your main chef / cooking influence when you were growing up?
When I was really young, it was my Grandmother. She was Irish and cooked everything from scratch. She made scones like nobody else could make them and I still to this day have never had one like hers again. Simple ingredients cooked well with a little bit of heart added. Scones, Irish stew and soda bread were always available.