British food gets a bad rep (dishes like spotted dick and jellied eels don’t help). But thanks to some well-known celebrity chefs and a certain hit TV show (if you haven’t seen The Great British Baking Show, then please do so immediately), we’re gaining a whole new appreciation for British cuisine. Here, seven top-notch chefs who are worth knowing.
7 British Chefs (Who Aren’t Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver) Who Should Totally Be on Your Radar
He may be soft spoken and mild mannered, but Nigel Slater's recipes pack a flavorful punch. Veggies dressed up with fresh herbs and presented simply are usually the stars of his show. (Think: Baked onions with Parmesan and cream and eggplant ragu.) Find out more about the well-known food writer and TV personality’s love of cooking by watching Toast, a 2010 feature film about his childhood and starring Helena Bonham Carter as his evil stepmom.
Sultry and self-taught (she calls herself a home cook, not a chef), Lawson is a familiar face to Food Network fans, but she’s been cooking up a storm in her native U.K. since the '90s. She’s known for her easy, everyday recipes that can be whipped up in less time than it takes to order takeout. Lawson proves that food is so much more than just fuel as she takes her viewers on an exploratory journey through the senses (and often around Italy, where she gets a great deal of her inspiration).
With over 60 years of experience, Mary Berry (aka "Bezza") is well-deserving of her title, Queen of Cakes. She’s as famous for her soggy-bottom-free bakes as she is for her hilarious (and accidental) innuendos on The Great British Baking Show. We love her for her upbeat attitude, floral bomber jackets, mischievous twinkle in her eye and flawless Victoria sponge. For those who have yet to experience her delight, she’s basically the grandma you always wish you had.
Part chef, part mad scientist, Blumenthal is one of the biggest stars of the molecular gastronomy universe. Famous for recreating traditional dishes and experimenting with ingredients (snail porridge, anyone?), the quirky chef boasts three Michelin-star restaurants to his name (including the former best restaurant in the world, The Fat Duck). Sure, his dishes aren’t exactly easy to recreate at home (unless you happen to have some liquid nitrogen lying around), but his unusual London restaurant is definitely worth a visit if you travel abroad.
With her show, Little Paris Kitchen, Khoo proves it’s possible to whip up mouthwatering French recipes, with a British twist, in even the tiniest of kitchens (all while sporting vintage clothes and crimson lipstick, natch). Tasty dishes, like ratatouille with herb and Gruyére cobbler and mini onion tartes tatin, combined with beautiful shots of local farmers' markets will make you want to pack your bags and move to France tout de suite. Think Amélie but with more baguettes. Bon appétit.
If homestyle family favorites are your thing, then check out the ultimate nice guy and TV personality James Martin. Best known for hosting a weekly live cooking show (which aired for an impressive ten years), Martin is all about using local ingredients to create hearty British classics like sticky toffee pudding and Yorkshire pudding (aka savory popovers). He's equally passionate about cooking as he is about fast cars and his dogs—Ralph, Cooper and Pablo—who are cute enough to eat!
Say what you want about British cooking and the country's penchant for meat pies and savory puddings, but hands down, there’s no better way to prepare and subsequently indulge in proper pub food. And nobody knows the classics (fish and chips, burgers and pies) better than the ridiculously cheerful Tom Kerridge, who happens to be the only chef in the U.K. to run a pub with two Michelin stars. Try making some of his favorite recipes at home by checking out one of his best-selling cookbooks or spot him spreading his love of #properlush (that means super tasty) food on Twitter.