THE LAST WORD... ‘ It’s a lan­guage you don’t need to speak, to­gether ’ but shar­ing food brings you

WITH AINS­LEY HAR­RIOTT, THE CHEF AND STAR OF CROSSWORD

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD... - WithTif­fanyDunk

“MY in­ter­est in cook­ing came from my won­der­ful mum. When I was a kid in the late ’50s, my mum loved to en­ter­tain. And with my dad be­ing in showbiz [Har­riott’s fa­ther, Ch­ester, was a pi­anist], there was a lit­tle bit of money around.

I’d go to my friends’ houses and at din­ner time their par­ents would say, ‘Time to go home, young man. It’s time to eat’. It was a very fam­ily thing then. You come to my house and my mum would say, ‘Sit down, eat, en­joy’. So that’s where it re­ally started [for me]. I’d see her cut up stuff and mar­i­nate meat overnight and make lovely slow-cooked, aro­matic food.

That re­ally gave us all the love of food. I say ‘us’ be­cause my brother is the main cook in his house and my sis­ter is a great cook and taught cook­ing at school. All of us grew up with this great love for food and we were not afraid of the kitchen.

All my chil­dren can cook a meal. My old­est boy, Jimmy, is get­ting to the stage where he doesn’t take his girl­friends out, he cooks for them. If your boy in­vites you around and cooks you a meal, you’re more likely to give him a kiss.

I’ve passed [my love of cook­ing] on to the kids, I’ve passed it on to mates. I’m for­ever get­ting texts from friends of mine say­ing, ‘I’m just about to cook some­thing, what can I do with this?’

[Cook­ing TV shows] mean we’re not so fright­ened of hav­ing a go. Food is a lot more ap­proach­able, we feel more re­laxed about it. It inspires you a bit.

I’ve said it be­fore and I’ll say it again – food is uni­ver­sal. It’s a lan­guage you don’t need to speak, but shar­ing food brings you to­gether. You smile and the thumbs come up. It cre­ates a lovely warm feel­ing.

There’s no bet­ter feel­ing if I’m cook­ing some­thing and some­one says, ‘Oh that’s re­ally nice’. Peo­ple for­get what you said, peo­ple for­get what you did, but they’ll never for­get the way you make them feel – and that’s the real key.

It’s the whole ex­pe­ri­ence of cook­ing, shop­ping, eat­ing, the sat­is­fac­tion – it’s happy, it’s joy­ful and that’s what food should be. Some­times we get a lit­tle bit too anx­ious about food. Just say, ‘Hey, I’ve had a go, en­joy’. It’s not about pretty food on a plate; it’s about shar­ing, bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, hav­ing good con­ver­sa­tions, see­ing peo­ple’s saliva. Don’t get your knick­ers in a twist, it’s a meal.” AINS­LEY HAR­RIOTT’S STREET FOOD THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, SBS

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