Chef, food writer, author, food stylist and cookery teacher at River Cottage HQ, Gill Meller has his fingers in a lot of pies.
Living and working near the small fishing town of Lyme Regis in Dorset, Gill has been part of the River Cottage team for 11 years, working closely with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall across the breadth of the award-winning business.
Recently published, his debut cook book 'Gather' is filled with beautiful, mouth-watering photography, unique ingredients and honest, seasonal recipes to be inspired by...
What first attracted you to food?
I’ve always liked the idea of creating something in a relatively short space of time that can not only be delicious to eat, but can also be beautiful to look at. It is one of the few creative pursuits that gives immediate gratification to all senses.
What was the inspiration behind Gather?
I have become increasingly aware that the most important thing about cooking is not so much the finished dish but the ingredients that have gone into it and where they have come from. The food producing landscapes that surround me are broad and varied these are the inspirations for my book.
What’s your favourite recipe in the book?
That is hard to say as I have so many… If I had to narrow it down to my favourite two I’d go with raw squid, apple and nasturtium leaves, and the venison stew with stinging nettle dumplings.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My food is fairly simple and its fresh, I also believe it’s generous and honest. I always want it to feel honest. I don’t like hiding behind the unnecessary.
What’s your go to recipe for entertaining?
It depends on the time of year; I wouldn’t cook the same thing every time. I think it’s really nice to engage with what you’re eating, particularly if there are quite a few of you, so I like to do big simple dishes that can be shared. In the summer that might be big, dressed salads, some grilled fish of the BBQ. In the winter it might be a slow roast shoulder of Pork or Lamb, with a selection of seasonal salads.
What’s your favourite season for food?
Autumn: getting cosy, puddings and pullovers.
What’s your favourite cook book?
'The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency' by John Seymore is fantastic, although not strictly a cookery book. It has recipes on everything from making jam and beer through to bread and bacon, and I love the illustrations.
What food is your guilty pleasure?
Fish and chips and a pint on the beach in the summer.
What did you want to be growing up?
An engine driver or a deep sea diver!
You get to choose six people – dead or alive – to have dinner with. Who? Why? And where do you go?
My wife Alice, and my daughters Isla and Coco, Jesus (he can bring the wine), Nick Drake (with his guitar), and David Attenbourgh. I’d like to be in a big glass box that flew around the world as we ate, David could navigate.