A Model Chef

Chef Isaac Carew is hand­some, easy-go­ing and con­fi­dent. Per­haps that’s why au­di­ences are de­vour­ing ev­ery­thing he’s serv­ing up.

Bespoke - - ISAAC CAREW -

“Hap­pi­ness is wak­ing up and know­ing,” Isaac Carew says, a lit­tle cryp­ti­cally. Tall, chis­elled, blessed with clas­si­cal good looks, and at 29 years of age on the cusp of a suc­cess­ful tele­vi­sion/youtube ca­reer, lit­tle won­der the green-eyed chef­turned-model-turned-chef again is so con­fi­dent. “Yeah, you know I am a chef who also hap­pens to earn a liv­ing from mod­el­ling and vice versa! So I pose in front of cam­eras, travel the world and last but not least cook and come up with as many (of my own) recipes as pos­si­ble.” And though the mod­el­ling came easy – “If I’m hon­est it fell in my lap while I was in be­tween chef jobs. I was scouted in Lon­don back in 2008 and since then have en­joyed the ride” – he’s had to work hard at his pas­sion. A dis­cern­ing public can spot (and taste) a poor chef a mile away, and check­ing out Carew’s foray into demon­strat­ing his recipes on­line at his web­site and Youtube chan­nel ‘The Dirty Dishes’, it’s clear he not only knows what he’s do­ing but is in­cred­i­bly en­dear­ing while do­ing it. So who, re­ally, is Isaac Carew? “I was just a kid who loved cook­ing. I used to mix things up for my mum when I was small, then hung out with my dad and god­fa­ther whom are both chefs, watch­ing them in the kitchens, do­ing chores like pick­ing spinach and clean­ing mus­sels,” he says. Af­ter school he went on to train at culi­nary school for two years and got his break in 2007 land­ing a job with the Gor­don Ram­say Group, cook­ing along­side An­gela Hart­nett at The Con­naught in Lon­don and Cielo in Mi­ami, where he de­vel­oped a pas­sion for home­made pasta. Then, by chance, came the mod­el­ling. Hang­ing about out­side Sel­fridges, Carew was picked up by a scout and his world changed. From low-pay and long hours work­ing in kitchens he found him­self fronting cam­paigns for Her­mès, Moschino, Valentino and shoot­ing with Zara, Lee, Reiss, Etro and Top­man, to name a few. Fash­ion’s most fa­mous snap­pers wanted to shoot him – Rankin for the cover of Hunger mag­a­zine, as well as Nick Knight, with spreads in Harper’s Bazaar, Dazed, Vogue Hommes, L’of­fi­ciel, Hommes, GQ, The Rake and Elle Men. In the world of male mod­el­ling, he’s no small fry. “It has been such an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, I’ve been able to travel the world and meet some re­ally in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. By be­ing both a model and a chef I have been ex­posed to some in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences. There’ve been many amaz­ing mod­el­ling mo­ments but they haven’t all been per­fect, I’ve had some bad ones too.” In­deed mod­el­ling alone was never go­ing to be enough to keep him happy, and so his bur­geon­ing brand – the afore­men­tioned ‘The Dirty Dishes’ ded­i­cated to easy, de­li­cious meals – was born. “What is life with­out food,” Carew says. “It just makes ev­ery­one happy. I also think there’s al­ways a new food or new in­ter­est­ing recipe to dis­cover. Cook­ing is im­por­tant be­cause it’s a cre­ative out­let for me in a way mod­el­ling is not and it’s some­thing I just love to do. And ‘The Dirty Dishes’ is a place to find healthy, tasty dishes that can be cooked by any­one with a lit­tle knowl­edge around a kitchen.”

Launched just over a year and half ago at the be­gin­ning of 2016, ‘The Dirty Dishes’, has be­come a real on­line hit at­tract­ing tens of thou­sands of view­ers. Carew en­gages with his au­di­ence not only by look­ing good – which ob­vi­ously helps – but also by speak­ing clearly and hon­estly with lit­tle of the pre­ten­tious­ness that many celebrity chefs put across. It’s a win­ning for­mula. So much so he’s been picked up to join Miche­lin-starred su­per restau­ra­teur and Masterchef host Michel Roux Jr. as his right hand man on new Chan­nel 4 prime­time show, ‘Tried and Tested: The Ul­ti­mate Shop­ping List’. The pro­gramme, cur­rently film­ing and on air later this year, will fol­low the pair as they at­tempt to col­late a de­fin­i­tive guide to the best food and drink prod­ucts avail­able in the UK to­day. But can you re­ally be su­per into food and be a suc­cess­ful model? Some of the recipes he makes – Ba­nana & Salted Caramel Pan­cakes, Tamarind Trea­cle Tart, Ba­con and Truf­fle Wedges – don’t scream healthy eat­ing. “I eat ev­ery­thing and any­thing. Right? Food is hap­pi­ness. But I still eat pretty well and healthily while not be­ing re­stric­tive. Nat­u­ral sug­ars are ok. Lead­ing an ac­tive life is im­por­tant if you want to stay fit, and just be­ing a bit care­ful about what you eat, but not overly so,” Carew says. His buff physique proves it works. A key to be­ing good on TV is the abil­ity to im­pro­vise and have on the but­ton re­sponses for dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. Time for some quick­fire ques­tions then.

Isaac, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Glug wa­ter and prize my­self out of bed to the kitchen. I’m the worst on an empty stom­ach.

Most un­usual thing about you that we wouldn’t know? I can make it look like I only have four toes on both feet – should I re­ally be telling you that?

What’s your great­est fear? Hav­ing my legs crushed be­tween two cars. I know it’s weird right. It used to be heights but I sky dived to get over that one.

Name one per­son dead or alive you would like to cook for? Sal­vador Dalí.

What ob­ject (or ob­jects) can’t you do with­out? It’s sad but my iphone, def­i­nitely. And also my chef’s knives.

Ti­tle of your au­to­bi­og­ra­phy? Who says there’ll be one?

Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy or not, there’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be a book. “I am cur­rently work­ing on my first ever cook­book called ‘Isaac Carew’s Dirty Dishes.’ It’s go­ing to be pub­lished by Blue­bird/pan Macmil­lan,” he says. “At this stage I’m just do­ing a lot of recipe test­ing and a lot of writ­ing. But I’m re­ally en­joy­ing the process. It should be out in 2018.”And all this while con­tin­u­ing to model, and sup­port a char­ity that is close to his heart – Dyslexia Ac­tion – via his own cloth­ing la­bel. “I’m a big believer in char­ity and giv­ing to peo­ple worse off than you. It re­ally helps other peo­ple and your own con­science, it def­i­nitely makes you hap­pier. I was a lit­tle hor­ror in school, one of those kids that nearly every teacher loved but also hated due to my, er, let’s put it this way, hy­per­ac­tiv­ity.” “But I was also dyslexic, and Dyslexia Ac­tion re­ally helped me as a kid. A lot more peo­ple than you would think have dyslexia in vary­ing forms and it can have a re­ally big im­pact in peo­ple’s lives. So my friend Ty Ak­ing­bola and I cre­ated a graphic t-shirt la­bel, Mercy & Wild, where 25 per cent of each t-shirt sale goes to the char­ity.” As the say­ing goes, what’s not to love? It’s no won­der Carew’s got over 90,000 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram. He’s ‘hot’, he cooks and gives to char­ity. Per­haps that’s what he means by the state­ment, “Hap­pi­ness is wak­ing up and know­ing.” “I sup­pose,” adds Carew. “The key to be­ing happy is to breathe, and sur­round your­self with good, lov­ing, gen­er­ous peo­ple. Oh, and to eat great food of course!”

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