Interview: Alex Hollywood, cookery writer and chef

PUBLISHED: 12:04 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 23 June 2020

Alex Hollywood: cooking for a hungry teenager (photo: Dan Jones)

Alex Hollywood: cooking for a hungry teenager (photo: Dan Jones)

Archant

We spoke with cookery writer and chef Alex Hollywood to see how she has been coping during lockdown

Who did you miss the most?

Obviously my family hugely, we’re very close, but I also missed the routine of seeing my friends. I live in a village and have a wonderful close-knit group of girlfriends who meet up for a dog walk across the fields and have coffee or catch up over supper at our favourite local pub, The Duke William in Ickham. It’s such a beautiful part of the world to live in, not being able to get out and enjoy it hasn’t been easy.

What did you miss doing?

I missed jumping on the train to London whether for work, meetings or pleasure. I used to live in Kensington and love the hustle and bustle of a big city. I also miss the sea. I grew up on the coast so often pop down to eat in Deal, Margate or Folkestone, There’s nothing nicer than having dinner looking out over the waves.

What did you learn?

That no matter what comes our way we seem to adapt and cope and find a new ‘normal’ very quickly. I also recognise more than ever that possessions and ‘stuff’ are not what matters. People do.

Who did you speak to most?

Funnily enough, this enforced isolation has made people contact each other more. I’ve been in contact with people I haven’t spoken to in years. I’ve set up some WhatsApp groups with friends here and abroad and we all grab a glass of wine or cup of tea at an allocated time and catch up. It’s great fun and maybe should be a habit that sticks when this is over.

What did you cook?

Everything! I have a teenager at home, he’s bored and hungry, so I live in my kitchen. Baking bread, cakes, snacks, his favourite meals while at the same time planning ahead so that everything is used up and nothing is wasted. My freezer is currently my new best friend. My mum was a war baby, so she influenced the way I cook, plan and store food and this has been such a help during this pandemic.

Where will be the first place you go to eat or drink?

The first place will be my home as I’m going to have a party for all my family and friends, with tables laden with food and kids running all over the place. I love entertaining but in a very relaxed way. People tend to come for lunch and end up staying for dinner. I’ve also promised my son and nephew that the very first outing will be to our favourite Italian restaurant Luigi’s in Sandwich. Luigi makes the most fabulous authentic Neapolitan pizzas, his pasta is second to none and it’s a buzzing friendly place filled with happy memories.

What positives did you take from this?

I believe there is always a positive in any situation. They say adversity brings out the best and worst in human nature and we’ve seen this in the truly heroic actions from our NHS staff and key workers.

But I also think that the enforced isolation makes us realise how precious our family and friends are, how we should appreciate a family walk on the beach or an evening in a country pub with friends and how we’ll never take hugs for granted again.

Alex’s two books My Busy Kitchen and Cooking tonight (Hodder & Stoughton) are both available on Amazon.

Instagram @alex_hollywood1

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