Cooking with the odds and ends you find in the fridge, the leftovers from Christmas dinner or the wilted vegetables in the crisper doesn’t feel glamorous at all. It’s a bit ordinary, and not something generally associated with restaurants, posh eateries or big names in fine dining. However, some of the best chefs and cooks aren’t backwards about coming forwards about leftovers. Massimo Bottura, head chef at Osteria Francescana, a three Michelin-starred restaurant in Modena, Italy recently fed Rio’s homeless with the leftovers from the 2016 Olympic Village. Heston Blumenthal makes them into a sandwich and Yotam Ottolenghi gives them a quick, shallow fry. Alice Waters makes them into a salad – for breakfast! They all know that there is only one real ingredient you need when attempting to love your leftovers: Fearlessness.
Jamie Oliver is known not only for his multiple television series and restaurants, but also his evangelical attitude to food education. For him leftovers are where the real joy of cooking is found.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall literally wrote the book on leftovers. He is the force behind River Cottage. Occasionally nicknamed “Hugh Fearlessly-Eats-it-all”, you could be forgiven for thinking that he isn’t shy about downing the leftovers that have been sitting around in the fridge, whatever their state. Quite the opposite – he tinkers with them and finds his best recipes that way.
What Nigella says is true: leftovers – presumably ones that you can tuck into at midnight after the rest of the house is asleep – mean you are at home.
Julia Child knew that the only real way to treat leftovers was without fear. So lose the fear, find the joy and love your leftovers! Check out my superhero formula that can turn any leftovers into a meal you actually want to eat.