I am ten minutes late to meet Tiffany Goodall due to the near impossible task of parking in Parson’s Green.
Perhaps impossible because of my dislike of confrontation, which renders me motionless, while fearsome, Fulham women with their much larger vehicles and au fait highlights, park ahead of me.
However Tiffany, well brought up girl that she is, has already rang to ask what I am drinking and on arrival I see her sitting outside The White Horse with my cappuccino, as smiling and blonde as can be.
Tiffany is the latest in a long line of celebrity chefs, though she is quick to laugh off that phrase herself. However, although she may not be joining the ranks of Nigella, Jamie and Gordon yet, it seems certain that she will be in the future.
Her first book, From Pasta to Pancakes, the Ultimate Student Cookbook, aimed at the droves of clueless students bound for uni in the autumn is about to arrive in all good bookstores and the 23-year-old Londoner has a bright career ahead of her.
During the interview what I really notice is her enthusiasm for food and life in general; certainly a welcome change from the moody male chefs we are familiar with. As for the women, I hate to compare, but let’s just say Tiffany is a chef that you’d want as a friend; not too perfect that she makes you feel unaccomplished.
What inspired you to write your book and what was your journey to get there?
‘Really, it was the dire situation with food and young people today. I call it “the forgotten generation”. They just don’t know how to cook or have any appreciation for food or how easy and fun it can be.
‘I attended Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland when I was 17 and after that I worked as a chef in various capacities before starting my own catering company from home. Once I went to uni, I became really concerned with students’ attitude to cooking and the quality of the food they were eating and so I began to research into writing a book. It got picked up by Quadrille and since then it’s been pretty much all go.’
Where do you get your ideas from?
‘Working with different chefs, reading restaurant menus, trial and error and of course travelling.’
How does London inspire you creatively in your cooking and recipes?
‘Oh, in so many ways! There is massive foreign food influences due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city; endless really, but for example there’s wonderful Indian markets and Lebanese cuisine. Also there are great farmers markets. I love to go to the East End or anywhere where I can look at different products that I don’t normally use. It’s a wonderful city for new ideas and inspiration.’
What’s your favourite part of London?
‘Probably the West End, it’s so buzzy, there’s always something going on. I love Chinatown, I love the little street markets. There’s always something to do. I love the mood and shops of Covent Garden, too.’
Where would you recommend everyone in London visit at least once?
‘Borough Market: a wonderful food market near London Bridge, it’s just the foody heaven! Go and buy crazy products or sample the food. You could spend a whole day there, well I certainly could! It’s just cool. And again it’s got that wonderful atmosphere.’
What’s your ideal night out in London?
‘A big group of friends; drinks at one of Soho’s cocktail bars, like Garlic and Shots, then dinner at Hix, Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon, maybe the theatre and then out to a West London nightclub, anywhere with fun music. Though to be honest I have a great night out with friends anywhere with some good food and wine.’
Any London restaurant recommendations?
‘Well, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in Grosvenor Square; The Commander in Notting Hill; De Cecco in Fulham is a wonderful local Italian – I go there regularly with my family. The Tiroler Hut in Westbourne Grove is fun for a girly night out, lots of drinks and silliness. Oh and for the best fish and chips in London, Fishers on Fulham High Street!’
Any local suppliers or London secrets that you use that you’d care to share?
‘Regents Park Honey produced by Pure Foods is amazing; you can only buy it from a few places. Get fruit and veg baskets delivered to your door from Abel and Cole; they’re organic, taste wonderful and will last a week. Go to Copes in Fulham for fish.
‘Then there’s Pimlico Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning then you can mosey straight on over to the one in Duke of York Square. Oh and Mao Tai in Fulham for wonderful cocktails.’
‘From Pasta to Pancakes, the Ultimate Student Cookbook’ is available from August 7.