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10 burning foodie questions for… John Gregory-Smith

by Sarah Maber
10 burning foodie questions for… John Gregory-Smith
John Gregory-Smith

We put chef and food writer John Gregory-Smith through his paces with all the big food questions of the day

1. Takeaway or fakeaway?

Always a fakeaway. Always. I am a very fast cook, so find it easy to whip something up. I have plenty of spices, condiments and sauce on hand, and for emergencies I always have shop-bought frozen dumplings. Best fast food ever. 

2. What’s your signature dish?

Houmous, all the way, in every guise. I have a houmous bowl – a swirl of houmous, with salad and egg – as a working-from-home lunch in my book Fast Feats. You can make a batch of houmous in about three minutes. Heaven.

3. What’s your favourite cookbook?

Mine of course – Fast Feasts. I love it because the new food is new to me. I wasn’t doing this style of everyday, easy cooking before the pandemic, so it’s been amazing to experiment.

4. Starter or dessert?

Starter – I love savoury. Fried squid and mayo is a fav of mine.

5. My last meal on earth would be...

A curry with my family, and it would have to be my butter chicken and coconut dhal dinner (both on my Instagram @johngs) with vino and a kitchen disco. That is what I did for my birthday this year. It was everything.

6. My favourite ingredient to cook with is...

Rose harissa – it’s got so much flavour and makes everything taste better. I have a recipe in the book with gnocchi cooled in a creamy rose harissa sauce. It takes about eight minutes to make and is lip-smackingly good.

7. What’s been your biggest disaster in the kitchen?

I nearly burnt the studio down when I was making falafel on Sunday Brunch. I forgot the oil had been on for a million hours. Ka-boom.

8. What’s your guilty food pleasure?

Frozen dumplings with Lao Gan Ma crispy oil and soy sauce. Swimming in it. Sunday night on the sofa with a bowl of this is an extreme happy place for me.

9. Name a food trend you would like to see the back of...

I’m on TikTok a lot and love the food on there, but the trend of grated eggs must go. Just chop them. It takes minutes. Grating takes ages and is utterly pointless. Goodbye please.

10. ... and finally: Pineapple on pizza – yay or nay? NAY!


John Gregory-Smith’s new book, Fast Feasts: Quick, Easy Recipes with a Middle Eastern Twist, is out now (OH Editions, £20).

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