Bill Granger’s life is one whirlwind culinary journey. With restaurants in London, Tokyo and Sydney, he is constantly on the move between his eateries and uses his trips as a source of inspiration and to keep abreast of global food trends.
“Food is very exciting at the moment, things are getting more casual and I find the more sophisticated people get with food, the more casual they get,” says Bill.
In our busy lives, the limited time we have and the effort it can take to cook a meal is often resolved by dining out or ordering take away – something Bill believes can be easily fixed by getting into good food habits and being that little bit more organised.
“I think making it a habit and not just getting take-away or going out for food all the time is important. If you’ve got food in the house, that’s a big plus and with online shopping it’s never been easier to get ahead. I think if there’s a basic range of things in the house I’m more likely to cook rather than call for takeaway.”
Keeping foods simple and not creating too many complicated dishes or ones that require multiple pots and pans can be a good way to approach more regular home-cooked meals in a less daunting way.
“For the family there’s the classic one tray roast where you get some chicken with olive oil, green olives and pancetta, or a baked risotto, any basic family food. I grew up on a roast dinner every night, I like to do variations on simple home cooking.”
Involving young children in food is also an important way to introduce good eating habits early and help them appreciate the importance of conversation over a meal and sharing stories.
“With children you’ve got to remember that they’re going to be your dining partners for the rest of your life, so it’s important to eat with them as much as you can. That can be hard when they’re little and people are at home at different times but if you’re going to give them food first before the adults eat, sit down when you do it, don’t just keep on doing things in the kitchen. We sit down and eat a cooked breakfast together every morning. It’s our time to stop.”
While we assumed it was scrambled eggs Bill was whipping up for his family every morning, he said he doesn’t make them at home as much as people might think. “I do a fried egg with a bit of chili, boiled eggs, French toast, even a bit of fresh mozzarella with toast and some avocado.”
With his latest cookbook, Easy, going to the heart of our tendency to cook less and eat out more, Bill has created a solutions-based cookbook that is realistic and acknowledges our time limitations.
“Really, if you can’t get it done within half an hour on a weekday, it’s pretty hard or impossible to do. So I tried to give solutions on those basic things, basing the book around a piece of chicken, a pack of pasta, a bag of rice, a slab of steak, all of those basic building blocks we make a meal around and trying to get new ideas for them. Because I get stuck in a rut, we all get stuck in a rut.”