Five minutes with Rosemary Shrager
Self-taught with decades of experience as a chef, cookery teacher and author of eight cookbooks, Rosemary Shrager’s professional career includes working under Pierre Koffmann at the internationally famous Tante Claire restaurant in London and also working for Jean-Christophe Novelli.
The nation fell in love with Rosemary when she took part in the 2012 series of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, where she proved she could cook just about anything, no matter the circumstances! She regularly appears on popular television series The Real Marigold Hotel and in 2017 was a much- loved judge on The Big Family Cooking Showdown. Rosemary regularly demonstrates and teaches her skills at cookery shows and events across the country and abroad.
We caught up with Rosemary to chat about some of her favourite food memories and the joy she feels when she teaching people to cook.
What’s your first memory of food?
From an early age, I got to grips with exactly where food came from. My mother grew all her own fruit and vegetables as well as keeping chickens and geese at home.
What’s the first recipe you learned to cook?
I was seven years old and learnt to cook scones with my mother. For fun, I would enter them into our local fair and of course I would normally end up winning.
What’s the recipe you can’t live without?
It has to be my chicken and potato pie, which is a hybrid between a French potato pie and a Cornish pasty, what’s not to love?! It’s a recipe that is adored by my entire family and I’ve been making it for over 30 years. I once made 40 pies in one day for a friend’s wedding!
What’s the one ingredient you’d take to a dessert island with you?
I’d have to take my very best virgin olive oil because it’s such a versatile ingredient and can be used in many ways.
What’s the meal you’d miss the most?
I love a roast leg of lamb with fresh mint sauce – so I would certainly miss that the most.
You can have a one-off dinner party on your island…who would you invite?
Without question, I’d have my family and grandchildren there. I would also invite my lovely friend Ken Hom, as he is such a special person and always terrific company.
Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
Definitely Larousse Gastronomique because there is always something new to learn inside the pages of this classic cookbook.
Click here to read more about this year’s shortlist and winners.