To celebrate Neil Rankin’s debut cookbook, Low and Slow – a definitive guide to modern meat cookery – we caught up with him to find out more about the book, explore his foodie passions and find out what his predictions are for the food world in 2016.
What advice would you give to someone who’s feeling anxious about tackling their first roast? A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to cooking meat.
For any roast you need to do two things colour the outside and cook the inside. The hardest thing is to do these at the same time, so separate them. Colour it quickly in a pan or a hot oven and then cook at much lower heat where you will have more time to get it right.
Is there a single piece of kitchen kit you just can’t cook without?
Not really, but a good thermometer is a massive help.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Low and Slow cookbook?
It’s really just a book about cooking meat in the most failsafe way and getting the most out of each piece of meat. Some of it is everyday cooking and some of it is for when you want to really impress your friends and yourself. All of it is easy though, and achievable in the home kitchen with very little equipment.
What techniques will Low and Slow get us using in the kitchen?
It will hopefully get people to stop brining, resting, overcooking and trussing or at least do these things less.
What has surprised you most about the process of writing a cookbook?
Probably how much meat you have in your fridge during the recipe testing and how fat you get. I think my next book will be about salad.
Is there an ingredient you’re really enjoying cooking with at the moment and how are you using it?
Like many chefs I’m obsessed with Sriracha. I use it on practically everything I make at home for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What excites you about the British food scene at the moment?
It’s diversity. People are reinventing cuisine and splicing them together in exiting new ways. I really love living in a multicultural society that embraces new tastes, ingredients and techniques.
What do you think 2016 has in store for the food world? Any big trends you can see on the horizon?
Offal will start to play a bigger part in menus. Also, because of the price of meat, the balance between meat and vegetables will begin to adjust. I don’t buy into the idea of a meat-free world but we do have to find sensible moderation and stop intensively farming meat.
Do you have a cookbook collection? What are your favourites?
I have about 150 cookbooks. My favourites are the Sat Bains cookbook because it’s a thing of beauty and inspirational to read and the Joe Beef cookbook, but one of my chefs took it and didn’t give it back it so I don’t have that right now.
Where is your favourite place to eat out?
The Quality chop house in Farringdon. It’s almost unbeatable these days.
And finally, a game of foodie Cluedo. You can cook one dish, for one person, in one place. What, where and who?
This year I should have gone to Brazil to see my friend Andre Lima De Luca but work got in the way. So I’d say it would be with him at his house cooking a a steak for two with bucket of cold beers.