Ready, Steady, Cook chef takes to social media to help shoppers struggling to cook from stripped supermarkets

Helena Horton
ellis barrie

A chef from Ready, Steady, Cook has been doling out cookery advice to self isolators running low on supplies and those struggling to cook with produce from bare supermarket shelves.

Ellis Barrie, who runs restaurants The Marram Grass and Lerpwl, said that anyone who sends him a tweet with the ingredients they have in their cupboard will get a recipe from him or one of his colleagues on the BBC show.

Many are having to go outside their comfort zones to feed their family as shops struggle to stock staples including pasta, chicken and eggs.

Mr Barrie told The Telegraph that he wanted to be able to use his skills to help the community.

He said: "I'm on the front line, it's where I'm best actually. I like being in the action in a crisis."

The chef is also delivering meals to families in Anglesey from his restaurant, including sausage casseroles and roasted meat and fish.

Cooking with sparse ingredients could be an opportunity, he said, adding: "If you are needing to self isolate and whatnot you can have a bit of fun while you're doing it, thinking about the food you're going to eat it gives you something to aim for, you can get your family involved

"I've noted lots of small suppliers we should be supporting are putting out deliveries selling fresh veg so we shouldn't be just sticking to tins."

Many have asked him for quick recipes, Mr Barrie added, but said that the one thing self isolators have in bulk is time.

He explained: "People keep asking me for quick recipes but you're stuck in your house! Take your time, enjoy your cooking, learn to use a knife. Look on YouTube!

"Of course there's Ready Steady Cook on at half four every day which is perfect during this time."

Many chefs have been using their skills to help the community as the country goes into quarantine.

Roger Jones, who runs Michelin star restaurant The Harrow at Bedwyn has delayed his retirement to deliver free meals to the vulnerable in his community.

He told The Telegraph: "Basically, people are cancelling the restaurant so we are using the food we would have served in the restaurant, it's Michelin starred food.

"We've realised obviously in the months to come there will be a huge demand for supply so we are batch cooking food to put in our freezers and we will continue as long as we can to produce food."

Mr Jones said the government should pay all pubs and restaurants in the country to become hubs to provide food to those who need it.

He said he has put off his retirement because many elderly people do not qualify for free schemes but will need help throughout the quarantine.

The chef explained: "We're retiring after 21 years at the end of March but we will now continue to provide a service here throughout the summer. We own the property so we will continue to be here to be of service.

"It will become essential because if people can't get out to supermarkets, especially old people, and the meals on wheels is limited and doesn't cover the people who are more wealthy, as they can't get out and they don't qualify for anything. That means their savings are going. They may not be used to ordering food from Waitrose or Tesco, they've always popped down to the local butcher and done their own thing."

Tips from Ellis Barrie: Food to cook during quarantine

  • Learn to roast meat. Mr Barrie says: "It's a good idea to learn how to cook whole roast meats, you can have a roast dinner, then a curry, and a lovely sandwich filing for the week.
  • Be creative with beans. He says: "We have kidney beans, why not do a take on hummus with salt, acidity, garlic, olive oil and you're laughing! It's very tasty and a bit of fun."
  • Eat mood-boosting food: "Depending on what you eat, if you can fill your diet with green veg, chillis and fresh herbs you can kick off your natural dopamines and keep your mood up."
  • Mr Barrie was asked on Twitter by Joe Trigg which vegetables will stay fresh for longest. He said "Make krauts, pickles and preserves. Stock up on veg that likes to be stored. Get big root veg and put it in dark spaces."
  • Another Twitter user said she had eggs, cocoa powder and flour. He replied: "Weigh 4 eggs . Same weight flour and butter sugar . Add cocoa powder . Split between 2 baking tins 170 18 mins ish . Chocolate sponge"

  • Chloe Ashdown has a tin of beans, a pork chop and some tortillas. The chef said: "Spice your pork chop up and pan fry .. get the same spices into your beans and cook down . Whack a load of spinach spring onion and coriander into your curried beans . Sit pa- fried pork chop onto those naughty beans. And have the tortilla tomorrow."

  • Gillian said she had tinned tomatoes, a potato and some kidney beans. He replied: "Bake the back side off the spud .. chop an onion up garlic and ginger cook out with cumin and chilli, add your kidney beans and tomatoes with a beef stock cube. Cook down and down maybe put a small piece of dark dark choc in the sauce and You'll have a naughty chilli jacket!"

  • Christine Loy said: "Broccoli, Jerusalem artichokes and salmon.  I have reasonable stores of basics." He replied: "Roast the artichokes cover with milk in pan blend to a lovely rich soup to start .. hit the brocolli in a hot pan . Loads of fresh herbs . Chilly and lemon . Hot pan fish skin side down .. bake for 8 mins 180 . Should be lovely".