Five minutes with…The Good Cook Simon Hopkinson

CellarVie Wines grabbed a few precious moments with food writer, critic and chef extraordinaire Simon Hopkinson...

[Introduction from CellarVie Wines’ roving ambassador Nigel Barden] "Simon Hopkinson was born with the culinary gene coursing through his talented body. Parents, Bruce and Dorothy, were both good cooks and their dishes were pretty exotic compared to those produced in the majority of Lancastrian kitchens in the 60s and 70s. Simon blossomed in the kitchen of Yves Champeau's Normandie restaurant in Birtle, between Bury and Rochdale, giving him the confidence to open his first restaurant, The Shed, at 20, near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. Sir Terence Conran spotted Simon's precocious talent, as he ensconced him as head chef and co-owner in Bibendum, housed in the art deco Michelin building on London's Fulham Road.

He's passed on some of his vast array of kitchen tips via his TV shows, columns and books, including 'Roast Chicken and other stories' co-written with Lindsey Bareham and voted 'the most useful cookery book of all time'. He worked as an Egon Ronay restaurant inspector, a food columnist for the Independent ('Week In, Week Out') and has presented 'The Good Cook', for BBC and more recently 'Simon Hopkinson Cooks' for Channel 4.

It was marvellous to have grown up with Hoppy and his artist, big bro Jerry, as they were always great fun to be around and like their folks, Uncle Bruce and Aunty Dot, they threw some great parties, which we three Barden boys relished!"       

Which ingredients are you enjoying working with at the moment?


Were you always destined for the kitchen?  

Yes, urged on by my parents
From his television series The Good Cook. Photo: BBC 

What else might you like to have done?


Wine is a big feature in your life, what are some of your favourite vinous tipples and which foods/dishes do you like pairing with them?

When I can afford it, White Burgundy and in particular Domaine Coche-Dury with fish

What other food styles/countries excite you at present?

Anywhere, anytime

What was your culinary ethos at Bibendum?

To cook good food

Your last meal (many centuries away); what would it be, who would cook it (might be you, but don't worry about the washing up) and what would you quaff with it?

A new laid egg, poached, on generously buttered toast, cooked by me.

'Roast Chicken and Other Stories' was declared the ‘most useful cookbook of all time’ in 2005 by Waitrose Food Illustrated. How did that make you feel & what was the theme of the book?

Thrilled and humbled

Do you have a couple of tips that would help the life of a domestic cook?

Cook with pleasure and clean up as you go. 

Nigel Barden makes some wine suggestions based on Simon’s tastes…
“Simon is a big fan of white Burgundy so the award-winning Meursault 2009, Le Limozin from Ropiteau might tickle his fine nostrils, with its almond and citrus aroma and his palate with its gently steely taste. This vintage was awarded the Meursault Trophy at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). At £36 you need to find an appropriate occasion to savour it. The launch of a new S Hopkinson TV series; perfect!

As a more regular tipple Hoppy could uncork the slightly older (2008) Bourgogne Chardonnay Chateau de Mercey from Domaine Rodet. The extra time in bottle has softened the alcohol content and the delicate influence of oak allows the rich vibrant apricot fruit to sing out.

'Simon Hopkinson Cooks' is now available at Amazon  
Follow Simon Hopkinson on twitter here.  


Written by: Nigel Barden

Nigel Barden 


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