Around two decades ago, there was a time when food on telly was still getting popular but only gradually. This was when a young English chef, with his ruffled hair and sleeves folded up, brought in a rustic way of cooking to television space. He could whip up meals in a jiffy, making men want to get into the kitchens too, for his blokey approach (which one must admit, is quite an achievement!)
Freshest of the ingredients, not being afraid to take the herbs into hands and just tearing them up leaving the knives behind, dinners that can be made in less than 15 minutes on the clock — there can perhaps be no better way to describing Jamie Oliver and his cooking. As a chef and restaurateur, there is almost no place in the world Jamie hasn’t been, if it has food. At this 2016 culinary curtain call, he shares with us on what he thinks the biggest food trends of the year have been, and what we can look ahead for on our plates in the coming 2017...
Biggest food trends
“I think trends are kind of important because even super food has been a trend. It is quite hard to get people to talk about new food, and so, having a trend is important to move it on, and then hopefully, what normally happens is things settle down and become more accessible. I’m excited about everything to do with spices right now. So, the next big thing I think is spices. Spices have got a big part to play in the next sort of four, five years, as far as trends are concerned,” Jamie believes.
Nutrition taking the front seat
He says that since the time that he debuted on television with The Naked Chef in 1999, there has been a lot that remained similar about his food style.
“I was looking at my first book the other day, and really, my energy and style of flavours, is very, very similar to what it was 20 years ago. I think travel and being more global about the kind of food that I like is definitely coming into the books much more. So, 20 years ago, it was quite hard to get balsamic vinegar, or sun dried tomatoes, and that’s sort of standard stuff now. The concept of nutrition is definitely a big deal, and I think people want to eat tasty food — but they don’t particularly want to die young; they want to have food that’s good for them!” the celebrity chef and proponent of organic foods explains.
On Indian food
So what does this celebrated television host think of Indian food, we ask. “I think India is obviously a fascinating country to look at, observe and study at the moment. Such a lot of growth, such a lot of opportunity, such a huge population, and many of the different areas that make your country — which is many, many countries, really — so diverse. I mean, there are so many super foods in India, and there are so many Indian dishes, that are mainly vegetarian and use many herbs and spices in a very simple preparation, but are very healthy.”
But Jamie admits that cooking on television can be hard — “Sometimes cooking on TV can be a pain in the arse. I generally try and construct my team to be agile and able to follow me with all the coverage and all the cameras and all the close-ups, but sometimes TV can drag you back a little bit, and then you end up overcooking food and, you know, most food is at its best when it just comes from the oven or it’s just been made.”
Oliver’s twist cocktail
- Fresh lemon juice — 1 tbsp
- Dry gin— 30 ml
- Elderflower liqueur — 15 ml
- Lager — 300 ml
for chilli-infused honey:
- Red chili— 1
- Honey— 340 gm
- Prepare the chilli-infused honey at least three hours before you serve. Halve the chilli and place it in the jar of honey.
- Take a long glass, then squeeze the lemon juice, stir in the chilli-infused honey, gin and liqueur.
- Fill up with ice and top with lager and combine.
Super easy beet dip
- Beetroots — 4
- Thyme sprigs— 3
- Caraway seeds — 1 tsp
- Creme Fraiche — 3 tbsp
- Horseradish— 1 tbsp
- Pick the thyme leaves and blitz all the ingredients in a processor.
- Season with salt and black pepper according to taste and serve with bread or crisps of your choice.
(Catch Jamie’s latest series, Jamie Oliver’s Super Foods from Wednesday to Friday at 9 pm on TLC)