Celebrity chef Rachel learnt to cook from her mother

She talks about her new show and why she loves hosting it  

Rachel Allen

Irish celebrity chef and author, Rachel Allen, credits her love for cooking to her childhood experiments in the kitchen. 

She says she picked up the basics of cooking from her mother and sister. As the host of ‘Coastal Cooking’, airing on October 16 on Sony BBC Earth, Rachel takes to the road in search of local produce and seafood, foraging for ingredients and, at times, battling wind and rain.

In a chat with Metrolife, the celebrity chef talks about how her travel inspires her culinary explorations and more.  

Has your childhood played a decisive role in developing your interest in cooking?

From a young age, I adored being in the kitchen with my mother and sister. We used to bake cookies and cakes. As my sister and I got older, we would bake on our own. My older sister used to tell me what to do and we would pretend that we were on television. I was, of course, her assistant. I believe I was very lucky to always have good home-cooked food and my mum was always very patient when I wanted to learn to bake and cook.

Did you work towards a career in the culinary industry?

When it came to deciding what to do after I left school, I always knew I wanted to do something creative. It was either to take up shoe design or cooking. I decided to learn how to cook first as I wanted to travel the world. My parents advised me to travel with a skill so that I could always get a job. When I went to Ballymaloe Cookery School and started learning how to cook, I realised that this was definitely what I wanted to do.

Do you like to follow the cookbook instructions or create your own dish? 

A bit of both. I like doing my own thing, but with baking sometimes you have to follow the science! 

Has there been any experiment that has gone wrong?

Lots and lots! For my cookbooks, it’s much harder if I’m working on baking books. If the recipe fails, it must be thrown out. With savoury cooking, I can fix it immediately and make it delicious.

Could you talk about a dish that you created after much effort?

It has got to be one of my cakes. Perhaps the chocolate and coconut cake. That is so delicious.

What is the best thing about hosting this show? What has it taught you?

It reminded me of the beautiful scenery and produce that we have in Ireland. I had so much fun filming the series. I also love interacting with people. 

Cooking has caught on with everybody. What do you think has triggered the change?

I think it’s so great that there are so many good food shows on television. People love watching others cook. It’s inspiring because we all have to eat every day, so why not get lovely ideas! 

 

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