The current zeitgeist for amazing food is going nowhere! It’s no longer cool to order a measly salad and as far as us foodies at Topshop HQ are concerned going for dinner is the best girls’ night around right now. At the moment, it’s all about dribbling gourmet burgers, zingy Vietnamese pork buns and pizzas Naples would be proud of. Topshop gal Jourdun Dunn has a cookery show on Jay Z’s website, Karlie Kloss is making goodies for New York food mecca Momofuku and we’re seeing Instagram’s from every hip new London restaurant to open from luxe French bistro Balthazar to slurping ramen heaven Bone Daddies.
Cue our latest obsession with foodie personalities and one in particular, the lovely Gizzi Erskine. Gizzi is anything but a stereotypical chef. She dresses like someone working in fashion and her opinion of food is refreshingly non-haughty. Alongside all the precise French baking skills Gizzi has a real love for sticky ribs and hearty roasts that we just adore.
The bee-hived beauty started out as a punk and a piercer in Camden market before finding her real love – for food of course – and headed to Leiths School of Food and Wine to hone her craft. With a strong sense of her own style – she’s all figure hugging dresses and liquid eyeliner – Gizzi was the perfect fit for TV and has since graced our screens on the likes of Channel4’s Cook Yourself Thin before launching her latest book, Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts.
We spoke to the cats-eyed, chicken wing-loving foodie to talk tastebuds, eating out in London and what to cook for those who can’t.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 22, so quite late. I already had a career as a body-piercer but I knew that was coming to the end. I had always cooked and was obsessed with food, so when it came to retraining it was a given that I was going to go into it. I tested the water by doing a stint in a restaurant for 2 months before I fully committed to it, but within a day I was hooked
What’s your favourite dish to cook when you’re having a night in?
I’m very indecisive, and change my mind all the time. I do love a slow roast or braise, so maybe the Korean lamb shoulder from ‘Skinny Weeks And Weekend Feasts’. I like to listen to some rock and roll, with a glass of red wine whilst I marinade and slow roast some lamb.
Where are some of your favourite places to eat out in London?
Pitt Cue, Disco Bistro, Hawksmoor, The Drapers Arms, Meat Liquor or Mission and The Rotary are a few of my favourite spots for something quite low key and fun, but for something a bit special, I love Dinings, Sushi Tetsu or The Clove Club. I’m also a massive supporter of the underground restaurant movement and love a pop up or take over.
Tell us a bit about your new recipe book?
It’s a book of two halves. The first half is about being really good and eating a diet of low calorie but super tasty dishes, that can be made with easily accessible ingredients, and go from fridge to table in 30 minutes. But the second half is about having a day of eating really lovely indulgent food and enjoying the whole cooking and entertaining process a lot more. It’s a cool new diet plan. I lost about a stone following it last year.
What easy recipe would you recommend trying for those who dislike or struggle to cook?
I think the pork and chorizo meatballs are really fun and easy to make. They are so delicious and spiked with chili and fennel.
How would you encourage any youngsters wanting to get into the food world?
Train. Training is essential. You can go to catering school or learn on the job but be really committed and work really hard to be the best. Good restaurants will teach you this anyway.
You have such a strong style – what are you inspired by and how would you describe it?
I love the 60s but I also love punk. My style is an amalgamation of both of these things. As I get older I get more ’60s though. I love people like Anna Karina, the 60s model, who is effortlessly chic, but still had a bit of edge to her look.
What clothes shops do you love visiting in London?
If you had the day off to do whatever you wanted where would you find yourself?
Eating great food with my friends, family or fella. Going to an exhibition, then maybe a rock and roll gig and just having a laugh. Maybe some more sleep would be good too.
Pick up Gizzi’s book at a bookstore near you or snap it up at Amazon, here.