Friends & Family

These are synopses of my past postings on me, my home, friends and family. Click on the links for the posts.

March 05, 2010So Proud Of Our Global CommunityJust over two weeks since we launched our appeal for funds to help replace the knives lost by the stagières at Mugaritz and we've bust the target. Thanks to so many members of the food community out there who contributed. Some donors world-famous. Others of us much smaller cogs in the machine. But all part of one fantastic community of which I'm so proud!
February 22, 2010Mugaritz Fire - Stagières' Knives AppealIn the early hours of last Monday, fire destroyed the kitchens at Mugaritz and badly damaged the farmhouse building. It was tragedy enough, but at least covered by insurance. Unlike the knife rolls of three stagières which had been stored in a kitchen cupboard. With help from John Sconzo in New York I've set up an appeal fund to raise $2,500 to replace these precious possessions. As a former stagière myself, I know how much these lads need our help.
December 31, 2009And So That Was Christmas...I've managed to survive the snowdrifts and freezing cold winds of North Yorkshire, with the aid of a lot of home-cooked food of the pescatarian persuasion and an equally large quantity of wine and cognac. Despite the weather, we also managed to get out and eat at two very different Michelin-starred restaurants - Andrew Pern's warm and homely public house The Star at Harome in Yorkshire and Simon Rogan's brilliant fine dining restaurant L'Enclume at Cartmel in Cumbria.
December 23, 2009Happy Christmas EveryoneIt's that time again. Mum and I have just arrived up in North Yorkshire, after a fairly uneventful drive from London during a break in the weather. When we arrived, the snow was almost a foot deep in dad's garden and more is forecast for tonight. But we're tucked in, with plenty of great local food and drink and surrounded by friends and neighbours. What more could you want?
November 02, 2009It's A Tough Life As A Professional Chef...It's been a long, hard year. I had a short rest between leaving Lasarte in Barcelona and moving to Ferrero in Bocairent, but since then I've not had a break. We've been so busy sometimes that I've not even been able to take my full weekend break. So, given the chance to take some R&R in Portugal, I leapt at the chance. I guess you can see why. Well, man can't live by pastries alone.
August 20, 2009Hop, Step, Jump, 17.73... Simples!I never met Phillips at school - he left a few years before I transferred to Raine's Foundation. But he's always been an inspiration to me and many other young people growing up in Hackney, where aspirations can be so low. Raine's is a school where teachers make the best of limited resources and take risks in encouraging the ambitions of their students. Letting me start Spanish a year after everyone else was an example of this - and look where I am now! The title, btw, is Phillips' impersonation of Aleksandr Orlov in the video interview.
May 03, 2009Barcelona - Oh, How I'll Miss You583 days ago I flew into Girona airport and made my way by coach into Barcelona. I knew that moving here would have a profound impact on my professional development, but what I didn't realise back then was the profound impact this city would have on my personal development. I leave here excited about the opportunity I'm about to take up in València, but with great sadness to be leaving the place I've come to know as home and so many people who have become my friends. In those 583 days I've become part of the Catalan family and nothing will ever take that away from me. Except, of course, when Chelsea plays Barcelona. Then, for 90 minutes, I'm a Londoner.
March 20, 2009Sea Food (Part 2)I may have spent a great few days holidaying on the Costa Brava, but my brother Joel had a rather more adventurous holiday recently. His destination was also somewhere with great beaches, but a bit further away. Joel and his partner Aliyyah travelled to her country of birth - "The Jewel of the Caribbean", Trinidad And Tobago. Joel spent some time enjoying Carnival, but more time enjoying Trini food!
March 15, 2009Sea Food (Part 1)The trouble with working long hours is that you don't get to spend a huge amount of time with friends and family. So when the opportunity arises - as with a period in-between jobs - you grab it with both hands. This was a chance to spend a few days cruising the Costa Brava with my friends Michael and Karlien, looking at the stunning beaches and the spectacular Catalan mountains... and eating and drinking. With the highlight of a visit to somewhere very special.
December 24, 2008Happy ChristmasWishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Peaceful New Year and Al Hijra/Muharram. Whatever is your thing and whoever is your God, if you believe in one, may peace and happiness be with you over the winter holidays. Whoever you are and wherever you will be this Christmas, may you have health, happiness and - like me and my family - really great food!
December 20, 2008Christmas In North Yorkshire Threatened By The RecessionAccording to my dad, things are so bad in North Yorkshire with the economic recession that the sheep have gone on grazing strike, the wild boar have dug themselves into warrens and the local population have been driven to eat wild llama in order to survive. Somehow, I've a sneaky feeling that, although the photos he's sent me are genuine, the story behind them that he's telling me may just be a winter spoof.
November 16, 2008Twenty-One Today!Doesn't time fly when you're enjoying yourself! It's been a fantastic year and one during which I've really come of age. My parents tell me they saw a boy last year and a man this year. Once again they came to Barcelona and this time I was able to really show them around the restaurant scene as well as the more general tourist locations. Amongst my presents I got "A Day At El Bulli", a new Global knife case and a cake from Escribà. And we ate at Àtica, Cerveseria Catalana, Koy Shunka and Cinc Sentits. Now another exciting year begins.
October 10, 2008From Junk Food To Farm Food (Via Sainsbury's)A guest post from my dad, who's just moved up to North Yorkshire and is trying to live the River Cottage life. He said he'd buy meat and dairy produce from local farms and get farm boxes delivered with organic fruit and veg. And he'd cook all of his own meals and give up take-aways for good. Has he kept his promise? Click to find out.
September 28, 2008End Of An EraThis was the London house my parents bought 21 years ago to make room for their second child... me. With a garden large enough for kids to play footy, with trees to climb and both a frog pond and a koi carp pond, the old house was a delight to grow up in. Now dad has done it up, rented it out and retired to God's Own County. Click to read about the revolutionary food promises that he's made as part of the relocation.
September 13, 2008Eating In Southern AfricaMum just got back from a three-week holiday, travelling down from Victoria Falls in Zambia to Cape Town in South Africa. She and I reviewed the photos she brought back and I've set up a Flickr display showing some of mum's more food-related experiences - everything from wild game and its predators to cooking in the ashes to dining out in the city.
June 30, 2008All Wet And SloppyI've just arrived in Donostia-San Sebastián in the Basque Country, with its miles of golden beaches, so I've taken the day off and handed over to my brother to guest post. His piece is also about crashing waves and the smell of ozone. While I'm off to visit the pintxos tonight, Joel has been visiting Portsmouth Fish Market. Well, someone's got to do it!
June 02, 2008Kitchen Confidential - What's In Your Larder?This post was inspired by the Observer Food Monthly, which invited some famous chefs to share the contents of their kitchen cupboards with readers. I'm a long way from being invited to take part in something like that, but what the heck, I thought I'd join in the fun anyway. So - here's mine. Now show me yours. If you dare.
April 13, 2008How I've Missed You!There's no place like home. Back from Barcelona for the first of my two annual fortnight vacations, a pint of beer at cool room temperature was a great start. Then out clubbing with my mates and dining out with the family. More restaurants in two weeks than I normally get a chance to visit in six months. My favourite Tuscan ham... and marmite soldiers. Home!
March 13, 2008If At First You Don't Succeed...At the bottom of this page is a post I published before this first became a food blog. After many setbacks, last Sunday evening Phillips smashed Jonathan Edwards' indoor world record to win triple-jump gold in Valencia. Our school equipped us with something very special - the self-esteem and self-belief to keep on trying until we make it to the very best of our ability.
January 26, 2008Still Swimming Against The TideFor as long as I can remember I've been someone with strong independent opinions and when I was younger this sometimes resulted in the odd difficulty with my elders and betters. Few of my friends understood why I would want to leave home and go abroad to work for no pay, but I've always been focused on what I want to achieve and had a good idea how to attain my goals. Click here to see how one little maverick once turned his back on one of the world's most famous people. It's confession time.
December 27, 2007It's Great Having Other People Cook For YouWhen you spend your life cooking for other people, it's really great to have others cook for you. I flew into a foggy London on Sunday afternoon - cold, wet and hungry. All discomforts left far behind a few hours later after a six-course tasting menu with paired wines at Bacchus, courtesy of Nuno Mendes. Ideal preparation for a great family Christmas dinner. To find out what dad cooked for us all, click and read my post.
December 21, 2007Happy Christmas, Yule and Zartusht-No-DisoIt's time to wish everyone of all faiths and none the very best for a happy Christmas holiday. Amazingly, it's now three months since my plane landed at Girona airport and I set off on the great adventure of a three-month training stage at Comerç 24 in Barcelona. When I started, I assumed that I'd be working over the holiday, but they close the restaurant for three days. So on Sunday I'll be flying back to London to spend Christmas with my family.
November 16, 2007It's That Day AgainIt doesn't seem long since I posted a piece on my 19th birthday. I'd just started work experience at The Boxwood Café and when I got home at night I was researching my Australian Gastronomy project for college. One year later I've graduated with my Professional Chef Diploma, left home and moved to Spain to train at one of the best restaurants in Barcelona. It's been an amazing year.
May 18, 2007An Unedited Peek In My FridgeI've followed up on a meme started by Sam Breach a couple of weeks ago by photographing my fridge and listing the contents. I surprised myself by the extent of Italian ingredients. What might surprise other people is the relative lack of any processed food, food additives and colourings.
April 22, 2007It's A Hard Life...These four beautiful young women just arrived from Laúndos in the Portuguese Minho to spend a sightseeing week in London. I simply had to offer them the comforts of my bedroom. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me share it with them, but they have agree to share the cooking of a classic Portuguese bacalhau dish later this week.
April 07, 2007Happy EasterTo my family, my friends, my readers and fellow bloggers - have a very happy Easter. I'm looking forward to my little indulgence, an Exuberantly Fruity egg from Hotel Chocolat, the purchase of which was inspired by fellow bloggers. A special Easter wish to my mum, who is on the other side of the world right now (so I'll have to eat her portion of the egg).
December 23, 2006Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Winterval, Eid...Whatever your thing at this festive time, have a very joyous one! Here are a couple of electronic Christmas cards from me to everyone. I think you'll enjoy them.
December 20, 2006Olá Chelsea!For the first time in years I won't be visiting Portugal at Christmas. The draw for the Champions League just took place and my team is visiting José Mourinho's former team, Porto. The match will be showing on the massive screen in my friends' restaurant...
November 16, 2006It's My Party...It only seems like yesterday that I was poking my head out and wondering what sort of place this was... and yet it's exactly nineteen years to the day. I've got some great birthday presents.
October 29, 2006Home Sweet HomeI got back from Portugal early Saturday morning. I return refreshed and ready for another six weeks of college. The atmosphere of Laúndos makes for the perfect stress-free life, the only difficulty is getting used to having someone else cook for me.
October 22, 2006Portugal, Aqui Eu VenhoNext week is half-term at college and I'm taking a break in Portugal. I'll be off tomorrow to stay with my friends up in the Minho, returning on Thursday 26th. My little home from home is Laúndos, a few kilometres from the northern coastal city of Póvoa de Varzim.
October 01, 2006Big Brother Looking For Graduate Economics JobMy big brother Joel has just been awarded a good 2.1 honours degree in Business Economics, specialising in the mathematical science of econometrics. So far his job hunt has not been successful, although it's early days yet..
September 26, 2006Video Cooking Made EasyI want to be one of the first food bloggers in the world to show regular movie clips. As a pilot, I filmed my dad impersonating the owner of Norwich City F.C., who reportedly does a bit of cooking in her spare time.
September 09, 2006Better Eating In The FamilyMy dad is clinically obese after years of over-indulgence in fatty foods, excess carbohydrate and too little fresh fruit and vegetables. He has at last decided to adopt a complete change in eating style.
August 12, 2006Good Luck Phillips!Later today Phillips Idowu will jump for European triple-jump gold. Phillips was brought up in Hackney where aspirations are often very low. His determination to succeed has been an inspiration to me. He and I both attended Raines Foundation School.