Wish List — 2019

Here’s my ninth annual Wish List. As per normal, I’m never really sure whether I write them as a personal prompt, or as a vague predictor of things that we all might get involved in over the twelve months that follow.

Whichever, in 2019 I hope to enjoy some or all of the following:

1. Eating out[side of London]

Something seems to be stirring in Not London. In fact, most of the places that rank high on my ‘where to eat’ list for 2019 are away from the capital. The Mash Inn and The Fordwich Arms are hardly secrets, but I’m keen to head to both. In a dream situation I’d also like to return to Coombeshead Farm and perhaps visit Crocadon Farm on the way if it’s open. Inver in Scotland is perhaps the place I most want to go. And then there’s oysters in Whitstable and West Mersea, The Gurnard’s Head, a return to Pompette … the list goes on.

2. Reading

When (so many) people say to me that they love and are inspired by the works of MFK Fisher, Jane Grigson, Patience Grey and Elizabeth David, I nod my head, stroke my stubble and murmur knowingly. Truth is, aside from a flick through the occasional Grigson and David, I’ve not studied their words (and can’t believe I’m the only one whose actual food education began with Delia and Ready Steady Cook, rather than something more grandiose or literary). Feeling the urge to write more long form stuff, I suspect first time spent reading would be time well spent. Where should I begin?

3. Cooking from other people’s recipes

After 2-3 years of writing and testing and photographasising recipes for On the Side and The Borough Market Cookbook, I’m considering putting the creative cooking section of my brain to pasture and spending some time under the tutelage of others. By which I mean actually cooking from the stacks of recipe books I already have (let alone others that’ll likely follow through the year). Of relatively recent books, I want to cook multiple things from Georgina Hayden’s Stirring Slowly, Uyen Luu’s My Vietnamese Kitchen, Duck Soup’s The Wisdom of Simple Cooking, Honey & Co At Home, Rachel Roddy’s Two Kitchens, Anna Jones’ The Modern Cook’s Year, Nuno Mendes’ Lisboeta, and Asma Khan’s Indian Kitchen.

4. Eating out (London)

Can’t say that many of the new restaurants slated so far for 2019 look hugely exciting, though no doubt all the JKS-backed openings will be strong, Kol should be, similarly Orasay, Shibui, and whatever Merlin Labron Johnson opens. I haven’t done Bright, Kym’s or Leroy yet, so would like to visit those. And otherwise, familiar’s good, isn’t it? See you at Lyle’s, Brat, BAM, Levan, Smoking Goat, Roti King, QCH, Xi’an Impression, Tanakatsu, 40 Maltby Street etc.

5. Travel

Some food focused tourism to Sicily, Rome, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and / or Seville would be nice. Nothing booked as yet.