Food Hero: Hugh Fernley Whittingstall

I get a lot of hits on these pages from people looking for Hugh, and presumably his recipes. Guess they are disappointed to find that there’s only a brief mention of the food award he won last year from Radio 4’s Food Programme – oh and a link to his brownie recipe.


Hugh is actually one of my food heroes but I don’t own any of his books. I have been an admirer since back in his “Cook on the wild side” days as I love the idea of food for free.


When the River Cottage programmes started I became a full time groupie, I couldn’t get enough of his programmes – but oddly enough it was actually the ideas that he was promoting rather than what he was cooking which was getting me. In fact aside from the Beetroot Brownies I can’t think of a single recipe of his that I have actually been tempted to cook.


I am however deeply hooked on the idea of growing my own food and sourcing things more locally…I would love to keep a pig, but I think the neighbour might complain (although historically most of the back gardens down this road would have had a pig from time to time). The highlight for me of this year was the guys in Sheffield who collect unwanted fruit from trees planted by companies, the council or just in forgotten orchards.


As a presenter and a journalist I find him fascinating, his words both written and spoken sizzle with passion and enthusiasm but I really don’t know what happens when he puts pen to paper to produce a cook book. Hugh seems to loose all his zing and zip when bound between the hard covers of a cookbook – they really are dull dull dull. But then I am probably in a minority as I do actually read cookbooks from cover to cover rather than use them to cook from…I am reserving judgement though as I’ve only read 3 so far, maybe one of the others  will change my mind, not that it matters as if I need my fix there is always the web site.