Hi Kathryn! You were a semi-finalist on Masterchef, what was your highlight from the show?
Surviving! I think because it was such a challenging experience, you realise that the world is your oyster and there is a lot of possibility out there.
What was it like watching yourself back on the TV?
It’s certainly not something I could ever get used to!. When we were filming, I was so lost in the moment and focused on actually cooking, so it felt like a surreal out-of-body experience to watch it back afterwards.
When did you start cooking?
When I was 2 years old. I was in Spain and my dad was peeling some prawns and I felt that he was going too slowly, so I learnt how to peel prawns at the age of two! From a very young age, I was thinking of different ways I could improve food and my parents were really in favour of letting me play.
Your cooking book is called The Pyromaniac Chef. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
It covers everything; from creating ingredients for your store cupboard which will add depth to your dishes such as smoking garlic in the fire, making breakfast dishes, how to host a party, how to make puddings and what drinks to serve around the fire. Things that people may think couldn’t be possibly cooked in a fire such as baking a cake to creating elegant three-course meals.
So, you have lots of friends coming round for dinner… what do you cook?
Probably paella. I feel it has the greatest impact for all the effort you put in. For that reason, it is something I am keen to teach on my cookery courses, because it is such a wow-factor dish and when it’s cooked on a fire it tastes fantastic.
What do you cook if you are really tired and have had a long day?
I cook pasta puttanescish (not pasta puttanesca, which is obviously a proper dish!) Puttanescish is the approximation of what I have in the house and how long I can be bothered prepping ingredients for! Anchovies have to go in there, fresh tomatoes have to go in there – lots of strong salty flavours. (Click here for Kathryn’s pasta puttanescish recipe)
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start their own business or wants to do something a little unusual?
Never hoard ideas. If you think you have an idea for something clever, brilliant! Tell as many people as possible. Ask advice from as many people as possible. Particularly in Cheltenham, there are so many fantastic breakfast networking groups. I have done none of this on my own and have such a phenomenal team of friends family and colleagues. If you have an idea, see who can help you get there faster. Don’t take 10 years doing everything yourself – do it for 6 months and then crack on with other people’s help.
Follow Kathryn on Twitter at @Pyromaniac_Chef