OK, so I do a mean cheese on toast (with Worcester Sauce, obviously), but I’m hardly a loss to the culinary world. Or so I thought until, promised he could make a chef of me yet, Nick Nairn invited me to his Aberdeen cook school and a miracle happened – I could suddenly poach eggs (see below); I pan fried The Perfect Steak TM; and I made a raspberry creme brûlée smoother than a baby’s bottom. I kid you not!
So thank you Nick, and thanks also to the Falcon Deluxe 900 range cooker that I was using. Its snazzy induction hob and roll-out grill proved to be Girl About Tech-proof. No wonder Nick is such a fan, as he reveals here…
Girl About Tech: How did you get into cooking?
Nick Nairn: I was inspired by food travelling the world as a 17-year-old navigator in the merchant navy. I remember my first experience of chicken satay in Thailand. I spotted these young kids with what looked like a bucket of puke, with peanuts and oil floating on top. They’d dip chicken into it and then cook it over a chargrill. I was feeling brave and tried it and it blew my mind. So I went back to Scotland and taught myself to cook.
In 1986 I opened my first restaurant, which I kitted out with an old Falcon cooker I’d picked up for £50. Five years later I got a Michelin star, and to celebrate I bought myself a brand-new Falcon cooker. Since then, every restaurant or hotel or cookery school I’ve opened has had a Falcon cooker in it. I’d never move away from the brand – they do what they say on the tin, and have never let me down.
GAT: I hardly need to ask, but what’s your favourite appliance?
NN: A Falcon Deluxe cooker with induction hob, which I cook on both at work and at home – the model in our kitchen at home, the 1902, is in white at the request of my wife, but we’ve got 14 Deluxe 900 models in China Blue in the cook school. I was a bit nervous about the colour, but that combination of the blue and stainless steel looks fantastic – it’s just so sleek and modern but still works in a traditional setting.
GAT: Why did you go for an induction model and not gas?
NN: I’d been using gas for most of my career but four years ago I put in an induction cooker at home. I love induction for lots of different reasons – it’s efficient; it heats the pan and not the cooker so I can can wipe it clean as soon as I’ve finished cooking and stuff doesn’t get baked on top, and I love these rotary knobs. With lots of induction cookers it’s all ‘beep, beep, beep… press press press’, but with rotary knobs I know instinctively what temperature I’m going to hit. I don’t have to muck about. They’re very intuitive. Also, why don’t all ovens have a roll-out grill? I just roll it out, put the stuff on, and roll it back in again. It’s easy.
GAT: How do you listen to music?
NN: I try to use Sonos wireless speakers but I sometimes struggle to make it work! For me the perfect way to listen to music is to use Spotify and Sonos together, but I can’t make them talk to each other! If anyone can tell me how to make it work that would be amazing!
GAT: And what do you like listening to?
NN: I have very eclectic music tastes, but my top genre is American college rock; The Clash is a favourite. When I’m cooking, the type of music I’ll put on will vary depending on the occasion. For a full-on dinner party some raucous music is usually appropriate but if I’m cooking at home for wife I’ll pop on something more romantic!
GAT: Are you a keen photographer?
NN: Not really – I leave that to my wife. She loves the garden and takes a lot of photos of that. I do use my iPhone camera a lot though, to take pictures to Tweet, and also of anything that will help the business, from ingredients to locations.
GAT: What’s the one piece of tech that you wouldn’t be without?
NN: I’m not very techy at all, but I’d have to say my iPhone, without a doubt.
And now for the quick-fire round…
Induction or gas? NN: Induction – I’d never go back to gas now
Microwave or steam oven? NN: Microwave
LPs or MP3s? NN: MP3s
Mac or PC? NN: Mac
Cloud or Zip Drive or none!?! NN: Zip Drive but I’m looking into the Cloud
Twitter or Facebook? NN: Twitter (you can follow Nick here)
Skype or phone call? NN: I did my first live TV interview via Skype last week, with Sky News from the Aberdeen Cook School via my laptop – it was an epiphany as to how instant communications are now.