The Inspiration behind our cooking kits was The Good Cook Simon Hopkinson

How inspiration for our Cooking Kits came from ‘The Good Cook’ Simon Hopkinson

Back in the late 1980s before Whisk Hampers was born, I began my career in the food & wine industry at Bibendum Restaurant – the flagship of Sir Terence Conran’s restaurant empire.  It was a very exciting time to be in the London restaurant scene, which had a newfound confidence and reputation, fuelled by the recent launch of restaurants such as Bibendum, The River Café and Kensington Place.

Bibendum’s Head Chef at the time was Simon Hopkinson - an incredible cook who eschews the foams, spumes and towers of some of his more pretentious contemporaries, focusing instead on the best quality ingredients, carefully prepared and simply presented.

After Bibendum, Simon turned to writing and is now considered to be one of the best cookery writers working today – his first book ‘Roast Chicken & Other Stories’ won a Glenfiddich Food & Drink Award and was voted ‘Most Useful Cookbook of All Time’ by Waitrose Food Illustrated Magazine.  It’s also my personal favourite cookbook (as its dog-eared and food stained pages demonstrate)

Although Simon is much respected within the restaurant trade, he has never been a household name and certainly not a ‘celebrity chef’ (a term I’m sure he dislikes intensely).  However, his new television series ‘The Good Cook’ is bound to change that.  Watching the series opener on Friday reminded me why I love Simon’s food (and writing) so much -  it is simple, no-nonsense and absolutely delicious, an approach we aim to follow with our Cooking Kits and Hampers.

Each programme shows how to make five classic dishes (this week’s included Coq au Vin and Sticky Toffee Pudding).  Although many of the recipes are traditional, the programme has a brilliantly modern touch – a barcode to scan that downloads the ingredients straight to your iPhone.  If you enjoy cooking and missed it, I urge you to catch the next episode, or watch them all online here...

‘The Good Cook’ is on BBC1 on Fridays at 7.30pm or online using the BBC Iplayer.

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