Celebrated Kiwi food writer and author of 26 cookbooks Jan Bilton’s favourite meal is anything cooked by her husband Michael. Jan's recipes are published each week in newspapers including The Northern Advocate, Hawkes Bay Today and the Oamaru Mail and here on bite.co.nz, of course.
What’s your earliest food memory?
My father's spaghetti Bolognese. He used sherry instead of wine … um?
Where do you draw your culinary inspiration from?
Eating out, travel, visiting ethnic food markets.
Who is your cooking idol?
Jamie Oliver. He's done so much to encourage young people into the kitchen with his creative cooking and flavours. He's also increased awareness of food standards and where food comes from.
What is your greatest cooking achievement to date?
Winning Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award in 2010 for Best Wine/Food Guide for Marlborough on the Menu — a book my husband and I wrote and published. I also developed, styled and photographed the recipes.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Eclectic. Reasonably simple. Tasty.
How did you start cooking?
After leaving school, I undertook a three-year, full-time food and textile science course at Otago University.
What’s your favourite meal?
Anything my husband cooks.
What’s your biggest kitchen disaster?
Not turning on the oven when my husband's boss came to dinner.
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Paris — for the variety, tradition and romance.
What are your kitchen must have staples?
Local olive oil, garlic, chilies, limes/lemons, fresh herbs, good coffee.
Why do you love cooking?
It's creative. I love experimenting with new flavours and ingredients.
Who is your dream dinner guest?