Q&A Damien Trench

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Damien Trench, cookery writer

(aka Miles Jupp: writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s In and Out of the Kitchen)

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking?

Something by Elizabeth David, I suspect. But which? It’s tricky. I’m not sure I’d have got very far in life without reading her French Provincial Cooking. But I didn’t actually read that until I was well into my twenties. So I’d probably have to go for South Wind Through The Kitchen. Just dreamy. I’d made everything In it by the time I was 19. I remember having to go to an absolutely terrifying pub in Kilburn to buy saltpetre for her Spiced Beef.

Who would be your top three dinner guests?

My partner Anthony, Olivia Manning and the afore-mentioned Elizabeth David. And if she happened to get a bit tipsy and told a few saucy stories, then that wouldn’t be too disastrous.

What would you cook for a romantic date?

No cooking. Just oysters.

What is your most favourite food scene in cinema/tv/literature/art?

Something from The Mother probably. Actually, do they eat in that? Not sure. There’s something rather bracing about the way that Albert Finney eats chicken in Tom Jones. Not good table manners, but nonetheless it certainly makes you think.

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

I can iron a double bed sheet (non-fitted) with my eyes closed. ( I have to be in my own home though, and using my own iron and ironing board).

What do you most look forward to eating at Christmas?

Devils on horseback. I would happily eat them all day. Although you do have to be careful with prunes. I’m not too bad with them, actually. Tomato juice, on the other hand? Goodness.

How do you Damienize your mince-pies?

Hand rolled pastry, of course. I don’t overfill them. That way, I can take their lids off and pop a bit of brandy butter in. Then I pop the lids back on and give them a quick heat in the oven to melt it a bit. It’s heavenly. Sometimes my guests just salivate. And I let them.

What is your most memorable kitchen disaster?

I can’t even speak about it. But it involved crustaceans.

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on to your children

I’m not actually planning to have children.

What will be the foodie trend of 2017?

I hate to think. Maximalism? Personally, I wouldn’t mind if it was chard.


In and Out of the Kitchen by Miles Jupp: the complete series 1-3 (audio CD) £22.52 amazon.co.uk

The ultimate foodie sit-com created by and starring Miles Jupp, featuring entries and recipes from the diaries of cookery writer Damien Trench