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10 burning foodie questions for… Olly Smith

by Sarah Maber
10 burning foodie questions for… Olly Smith
Image: Catherine Benson

We put drinks expert Olly Smith through his paces with all the big food questions of the day...

1. Takeaway or Fakeaway?

Full takeaway! I’m a massive fan of an Indian. I do like a Madras.

2. What’s your signature dish?

I’m a massive potato fan. I grow my own potatoes, I look a bit like a potato, and I think my roast potatoes are absolutely astonishing. No big secret – I grow my own potatoes, whip them out of the ground, peel them, get them in the oven. No other taste like it.

3. What’s your favourite cookbook?

I like Meera Sodha’s East an awful lot. And the Hamlyn All Colour Vegetarian Cookbook – I’ve had that since I was a student!

4. Starter or dessert?

Starter every time. I’m a savoury man. I do love oysters… they’re hard to beat.

5. What’s your last supper dish?

Beef wellington, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes from my garden, freshly grown carrots, and green bean, served with a nice bottle of red wine. 

6. My favourite ingredient to cook with is…

Fresh thyme. I love it; it reminds me of Greece, which I love. If I can get it into a dish, I will.

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

I’ve had loads… the mistaking salt for sugar thing used to happen quite a lot as they were kept in similar containers. Last year I got very carried away making rosehip syrup and realised I was the only person who liked it. Overproduction is my biggest vice.

8. What’s your guilty food pleasure?

It’s got to be Heinz tomato ketchup. It’s one of the greatest things that have ever been created. But I go for the 50% less salt and sugar now… I’m a good lad.

9. Which food trend would you like to see the back of?

I was never a foam fan. And tweezers near recipes – forget it. Let’s take the fuss out of cooking and bring it back to sharing and joy and all the things that food stands for.

10. Pineapple on pizza. Yes or no?

A family-dividing issue! One of my best friends is passionately in favour, as is one of my daughters… I’m a bit of a fence sitter! The truth is tinned pineapple is a no, fresh pineapple is just over the line for me. I could probably do it.


Olly Smith’s Home Cocktail Bible (£20, Quadrille) is out now.

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