Doing Daily Brunch with Ocado is basically an elaborate ruse so we can hang out with our favourite chef, Simon Rimmer (and hopefully get him to cook for us). Yep, we’re shameless. But we got you all the inside gossip to make up for it.
You’re welcome, dear reader!
Q How did you get into cooking?
S I’ve always been surrounded by food. My Mum and Dad are both good cooks and my Dad’s family are Italian, so we were surrounded by food all of our lives. Professionally, when I was at college and studied Fashion Textile Design, I worked in bars and restaurants like lots of students do and just fell in love with the industry.
I worked as a freelance designer for five years and then, in 1990, I decided I wanted a complete change of career so I gave it all up, bought a restaurant and taught myself to cook.
Q Where does your inspiration come from now?
S I think you never stop being inspired. There are certain things that are easy pinpoints, like the seasons. In wintertime there is great squash about and all the lovely root veg, and in the springtime you have spring lamb, which helps. Outside of that I consume cookery books and magazines. I’ll get excited by an ingredient or I’ll taste something that would be really nice thing to make. It’s non-stop and something that just keeps going and going…
Q How did your cooking style develop?
S Your cooking style never stops developing, really. The more you practice something, the more excited you get by certain elements of it, and it just keeps moving on. Then you’ll go down a little route where you’re all “oh, I’m really interested in Chinese food at the moment” so you just try and learn as many skills as possible.
Q Spill the beans. Who has been the best guest on Daily Brunch?
S David Emanuel is definitely my favourite guest so far. I’d never met David before and was pretty certain he was going to be a big load of fun, and he absolutely was. He joined in with everything and was just lovely and brought joy into the whole building.
Q What recipe from the show do you most enjoy making?
S Shepherd’s pie with a cauliflower cheese topping. This is a recipe we’ve done before on Sunday Brunch, and every time I do it, it always gets an amazing response.
Q Have there been any backstage bloopers on the show?
S Every day! Every day we will drop things, burn things, or I’ll realise a recipe isn’t quite what I wanted it to be. Most of the bloopers happen because we mess around in rehearsals.
Q So what’s been the most embarrassing moment?
S Throw Back Thursday photos!
Q Are you impressed by Tim’s recipes? (We promise not to tell him.)
S Tim’s recipe! It is singular! And it is a really great recipe; it would be because it is actually based on one of mine…
Q You must love the banter on Twitter. Are there any regular tweeters?
S Yes, we’re very lucky that the vast majority on Twitter are complimentary. They’re almost like the third side to a conversation, so if Tim and I mess around with something I like it when viewers join in.
Q What about after the show. Do you do all the cooking at home?
S Nope – my wife is a fantastic cook and she used to be a chef. Bearing in mind that I work at least five nights a week, she undoubtedly does the majority of the cooking.
Q When you’re not cooking, what do you get up to?
S I go to the gym, read, go to gigs, eat out and watch my son play football.
Q What’s the hero gadget in your kitchen? Something complex and cheffy?
S A simple blender. There’s something nice about being able to make a really smooth sauce, soup or purée.
Q Back to basics. What are the ingredients you always enjoy cooking with?
S Vanilla, chilli and peanut butter.
Q What’s your store cupboard staple recipe?
S Beany casserole. You always have tins of tomatoes in the cupboards, tins of beans – be it baked beans, kidney beans etc – and always things like smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. You can make a really good, simple casserole with all of those.
Q What seasonal ingredients are you most excited by at the moment?
S I love sprouts and, although they grow all year round, we only see them this time of year. There’s also lots of great game around, like wild duck.
Naomi, PR and Social Media Executive