June 14th, 2015
Episode 546 of 640 episodes
Cook and food writer Simon Hopkinson shares his culinary life story with Sheila Dillon. In a food career spanning four decades he's been an influential chef, television cook and author of the "most useful cookbook of all time". In this first of two special editions, Simon covers his early food memories to his time as a chef, at the height of his powers, in the kitchens of Hilaire and Bibendum restaurants. Born in Lancashire, Simon Hopkinson was influenced by his parents home cooking and their regular trips to Bury Market. Early memories include the smell of his mother's jugged hare to the sight of black puddings and cheeses on busy market stalls. In his teens he was committed to a future career in a restaurant kitchen and found work in the nearby Normandie restaurant under the gifted and demanding chef Yves Champea. By 20 he'd opened his own restaurant and would soon receive awards and high praise from respected guides. In the years that followed he'd work as a restaurant inspector for Egon Ronay and then spend time as a private chef. By the late 1980's he was back in the restaurant world and one of London's most influential chefs. Sheila Dillon finds out what motivated him throughout and why he was so confident that his life would be one spent in kitchens.