Chefs take to the small screen

You can take the chef out of the kitchen, but you can’t take away his or her desire to cook.

The metaphor is mangled, but restaurants had barely closed before chefs swapped their whites for dressed-down, lockdown style, propped a smartphone up on their home worktop and took to Instagram and YouTube like, well, chefs to a stove. Some have rummaged in their own fridges and cupboards and used everyday ingredients and kit to demo recipes. Others have invited viewers to cook-alongs to create dishes that are as easy to make as they are comforting to eat.* 

Marcus Wareing (
Marcus at The Berkeley hotel) reached for a packet of old mozzarella and some very old sage to finish a tray of meatballs that look crowd-pleasingly delicious. Scroll further into his Instagram feed to watch him beat butter, butter, and more butter into a pan of boiled spuds to create the smoothest mashed potato. Try it: you’ll never again add only a knob! 

Butter is the hero in Galton Blackiston’s Norfolk kitchen too. The Morston Hall chef makes buttery, garlicky chicken kiev with his son, Sam, on the pair’s The Two Idiots YouTube series. The short films there’s also a simple bread recipe, toad in the hole, butternut squash soup are lively and informative, though Blackiston admits he started them at least in part to get his student son out of bed of a lockdown morning. Jason Atherton, meanwhile, is cooking his way around the world by sharing simple recipes on his Instagram feed which he updates daily. Learn how to make risotto or Thai red curry with the Pollen Street Social owner.

Feel like tortilla? Head to the Instagram feed of Baratxuri tapas bar in Ramsbottom to follow chef Rachel Stockley’s take on the Spanish classic – in fact, the Spanish classic as she references the famous tortilla, rich with olive oil, potatoes, eggs, and caramelised onions made at Bar Nestor in San Sebastian. For more eggy inspiration, why not try James Mackenzie’s (The Pipe & Glass, South Dalton) take on a Welsh rarebit? Mackenzie mixes Yorkshire blue and Cheddar (any hard cheese with a bit of tang will work a treat) with egg yolks and adds pickled walnuts to cut through the richness. It would be perfect with Raymond Blanc’s simple salad using the ‘hearts’ of tomatoes scooped out before the Le Manoir chef oven-dries their firm flesh: fill a bowl with whatever leaves you have in the fridge, the juicy pieces of tomato, a finely chopped shallot, seasoning, and a swizzle of olive oil.

One of the first ingredients to become scarce in lockdown was pasta. So if you managed to stock up and now find yourself with a larderful, check out this ‘easy peasy, cupboard-friendly’ dish of pasta with anchovy, garlic, parmesan and rosemary from Dave Wall of The Unruly Pig in Bromeswell. Fancy making your own? Check out Tim Siadatan’s YouTube recipe for simple pici cacio e pepe. You know they’ll work: Siadatan’s London restaurants, Padella and Trullo, are go-to places for pasta-lovers. Regis Crépy of Amélie in Cambridge, takes you through a machine-free technique on his new YouTube video series. 

To finish? Ben Murphy of Launceston Place introduces some sweet classics – a crème caramel, a chocolate fondant, a banana loaf – or try Adam Handling’s bread and butter pudding that he makes using leftover pieces of bread and pastries and a mix of any old jams you have to hand. Utterly delicious. Ditto Steven Smith’s (Freemasons at Wiswell) egg custard tart with raspberry sorbet which is – shhhh, we won’t let on – dead easy to make, but looks smoothly cheffy. 

Lockdown has afforded us a rare glimpse into the home cooking habits of some of our favourite chefs so head over to social media if you want a break from your usual dinner time routine, or simply fancy a nose around someone else’s kitchen. Happy watching!


Find out more
For more recipe inspiration, visit the Waitrose & Partners website and YouTube channel or follow us on Instagram. The At Home, With Us recipe collection covers simple lunchtime solutions, comforting dishes, ideas for baking with children and how to make bread.   


* Waitrose & Partners does not accept responsibility for the chefs’ recipes featured in this article.

Published May 2020