Q&A Juliet Harbutt

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Juliet Harbutt, one of the world’s leading experts on cheese

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking

The Edmonds cookbook! It is a published by a New Zealand company that manufactures baking goods from flour to cake sprinkles and has everything from shortbread to shepherds pie. My granny gave it to me

The food of love… What would you cook to impress a potential date

So many choices … grilled wild salmon on a bed of mashed peas… roast lamb with quince … butternut squash and coconut soup or a cheeseboard of my favourite artisan British cheeses

Your top five dinner guests, dead or alive

Barack Obama, Prue Leith, my Mother, George Clooney and William Shakespeare

Fast food –  your top snack tip

Well it has to be cheese on toast – just rub half a tomato over lightly toasted brown bread, pile on your favourite hard cheese grated mixed with finely chopped red onion and grill ….

 Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

Nothing has ever surpassed Babette’s Feast

Your worst kitchen disaster

Ah that would be the carrot cake made with the mustard and brown sugar ham glaze!  In my cafe The Parsons Nose, we used to pre-bag the carrot cake mix – brown sugar, spices and flour- and the ham glaze. One (very early) morning I grabbed the wrong mix, added it to the eggs and grated carrot, mixed it up and just before pouring it into the cake tins discovered my error. They were very spiced cakes that week

What would you like your final meal to be?

Cheese glorious cheese with warm ciabatta and freshly picked figs

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

Not sure it’s a talent and I need more lessons but I love flying aerobatics

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Toasted sourdough with borage honey and crunchy peanut butter

What’s in your fridge?

A lot of Cheese, a few wines, spinach from my garden, pumpkin and coconut soup, freshly picked figs and charcuterie from an artisan producer I just discovered

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

My granny’s Anzac biscuit recipe – Anzac Day is a very poignant day for New Zealanders and the biscuits serve as a constant reminder

Juliet Harbutt started the British Cheese Awards  in 1994, celebrating their 25th birthday this year