Talking food with chef & food writer Sophie Michell
Food writer, TV host and chef Sophie Michell developed a passion for cooking at a young age. Now at the helm of both Pont St restaurant in London’s Belgraves hotel and The Gorgeous Kitchen in Heathrow T2, she’s gained a deserved reputation for light, creative dishes and a Californian spin on seafood.
Sophie’s gastronomic style is centred on eclectic cuisine, using quality ingredients and observing nutritional virtue. Her appreciation of both classic and avant-garde fare have led her to be a private chef for celebrities, including international supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.
Here’s what she had to say, when I had the chance to interview her.
1.) Where are you at in your career at the moment?
I have been Executive Chef at Belgraves for 3 years now, and also at The Gorgeous Kitchen in Heathrow T2, both which are great projects. This year I am setting up my ‘Sophie Michell, Events’ Company as I love planning high end bespoke parties for people and also my new book ‘Chef on a Diet’ is coming out in May. So much going on! And all so exciting.
2.) What inspired you to become a chef?
My biggest inspiration growing up was my mother’s attitude to produce and cooking. She would get large tubs of honey, olive oil and coffee beans delivered and provenance was always huge to her. Also we travelled a lot when I was younger, so seeing lots of different cuisines was really inspiring for me.
3.) You have created pancake recipes for every meal occasion. Why are pancakes the perfect choice of meal for so many occasions?
Learning the basic technique of making pancakes is so simple, yet there are so many different guises, sweet and savoury- Like my little blinis with goats curd and blueberry chutney or my Spelt, vanilla and blueberry pancakes. Also you can really vary them so much, and think about add nutrition and really easy like the pureed blueberries in my Buckwheat crepes.
4.) How do you add flavour to your food?
I look for ingredients that are strong on flavour and nutrients, but not high in calories, Chilean Blueberries being the perfect example. I also use a lot of chili, lemon, garlic and fresh herbs, all really good examples
5.) Why do you like working with blueberries and what do you think they bring to a meal?
• Delicious taste
• Add flavour to food while being low in sugar
• Add colour to food – helping to make it look inviting
• Works well in savoury and sweet dishes
• Most of all they are a superfood, so full of really important antioxidants, Chilean blueberries are particularly good, as they are packed full of flavour.
6.) Many people consume hidden calories by adding sauces and sugars to their meals. What would you suggest as an alternative?
I try and use fruit to sweeten things instead, like pureed Chilean Blueberries or apples. This is also great as Chilean Blueberries are full of vitamin C too!