Q&A: Simon Hopkinson

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Simon Hopkinson, English food writer, critic and former chef


The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking

The Constance Spry Cookery Book (1956)


The most memorable food you ate in childhood

Poached salmon with parsley sauce and cucumber


Your favourite food shop

Garcia, the Spanish deli and supermarket in the Portobello Road, London W11


Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

The board meeting lunch in Tampopo [Juzo Itami’s ‘ramen western’ about a cook trying to find the perfect noodle recipe]


Your worst kitchen disaster

Over-cooking foie gras; so much so that it returned to its original size and surrounded by about a kilo of liquid fat.


The first thing you  were taught to cook



What would you like your final meal to be?

The freshest egg, poached, on the finest slice of buttered toast


What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

Making superb stocks, then clarifying them if necessary


What did you eat for breakfast today?



Which seasonal food do you most look forward to?

New potatoes


Most over-rated/ under-rated food/seasoning/gadget

Over-rated: Tongs.  Under-rated: A fine sieve


Simon Hopkinson Cooks by Simon Hopkinson is published by Ebury Press, £25, www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk