First published online by Heston Blumenthal, Nigella Lawson, Tom Parker Bowles, Marina O’Loughlin, Angela Hartnett and Allegra McEvedy.
It can be quite difficult to control what you eat when your schedule is all over the place. I tend to make small allowances when I can – for instance, cutting down on carbs by taking one layer of bread off a sandwich. I also exercise every day, even if it’s just a short run. I’m tasting and developing dishes all the time – we can have around 500 dishes in development at any one time between the Fat Duck, Dinner, Waitrose and the two pubs, and that’s not including the food for the TV work, so when I’m not filming, I’m kind of constantly eating/tasting. This has been an interesting exercise, though – I’ve never really analysed what I eat or drink. I guess I need to organise breakfast better, and I’m quite famous for drinking my body weight in Earl Grey tea, but the rest is just madness.
Breakfast Filming this morning, so just had a quick Earl Grey tea.
Lunch Tuna sandwich… from a shop somewhere.
Dinner Sunday lunch – well, kind of lunch/dinner by the time I got home. I think it was about 8.30pm, so that makes it officially Sunday dinner. A roast, of course! Dorset lamb this week. I always try to have a Sunday joint with all the trimmings – it’s one of my favourite meals of the week.
Breakfast Early morning phone interview with Australia and a cup of tea (Earl Grey with skimmed milk).
Lunch Lunch? Not today… : (
Dinner Filming at the BBC studios for Jimmy Carr’s Channel 4 show 8 Out Of 10 Cats – great night, hilarious, but was up early, then straight off to filming and hadn’t eaten all day. Arrived at the BBC starving – big mistake (dried-out meatballs) washed down with a few glasses (slightly warm pinot grigio). Delicious!?
Breakfast My new TV series is out mid-November and we’re still filming – cutting it neat! Had bacon butties to start the day off, cooked in the engine of a steam train – why not?
Lunch Lunch was a bigger affair, but at least had packed my lunchbox. Grabbed some veg from the catering van, too.
Dinner Popped into the amazing Zuma with my youngest, Joy, for her birthday. We were too full for dessert, so they just sent a little something.
Breakfast Waitrose tasting for new hot cross buns for next Easter – Earl Grey jasmine tea and orange-flower water versus ginger and acacia honey. May sound nice, but had to taste brussels sprout leaves cooked in different ways at the same time.
Lunch Lunch at the lab: yoghurt and tampons. We were testing the effect of certain foods and how they coat the palate for an interactive presentation. The tampon dries the saliva out between spoonfuls, so you can identify how the tongue perceives flavour. It did work, but I wonder how it will go down.
Snack Everything is getting bigger for the new programme. We supersize everything, and cook and eat it with different communities throughout the UK. Things like afternoon tea and old sweets. Not sure where the huge whisky gum came from, but I think I know someone at the lab who knows.
Tea We have a lab grade centrifuge, a distillator, a rotary evaporator, vacuum centrifuge, vac packs, water baths… But no bloody kettle. A very complex cup of tea.
Dinner After a full day in Bray and a brainstorm meeting that overran, ended up in the garden of the Crown for fish and chips – took the opportunity as a rare warm evening.
Breakfast Book signing back in office – finally a decent cup of tea, ahhh, found teapot.
Lunch Spent most of the day at Dinner. Meeting with Ash to discuss a new project – a historic British food book – and trying to get a modern “meat fruit” shot to contrast with the historic image. Lunch was a tasting of new dishes: new terrine, autumn tart and sambonade – a goat’s cheese cheesecake with elderflower and a secret centre.
Dinner Stayed and had dinner with a couple of friends – obviously had a meat fruit. We’re serving around 1,000 of them a week now!
Breakfast None at home because I was running late, but I had tea and breakfast canapés at the launch of a new Vision Express shop on Oxford Street – loads of bites, so breakfast in stages.
Lunch Vision Express sushi before cutting the ribbon for the official store opening. I met another great spectacle-wearing geek, Jason Bradbury, there from The Gadget Show, so had a lot to talk about.
Dinner Roast chicken at a friend’s – it’s the biggest joy when someone asks you to their home and cooks for you, but my mates always joke that it’s such a stress. I think it’s the other way round when they come to mine – it’s not as if I can just cook up a steak. People are expecting to eat the cutlery at the very least.
Breakfast A quick tea and pastry on the way to the lab – more Earl Grey.
Lunch Tasting two new dishes for the Duck. Nowhere near finished, but one will end up on the menu for Christmas as a kind of “partridge in a pear tree” – partridge cooked in butter at a low temperature to relax the meat, served on the breastbone with brandy butter, and chestnut and pine and mandarin (basically all the aromas and flavours we associate with Christmas). We’re also looking at the leathering process from the 1800s for a turbot dish – tanning agents in early 1800s Britain were sumac, oak and mimosa bark, so we use all three. The drainage from the tanneries heated up the land, and we grew pineapples and melons on it, so we serve the fish with savoury melon and purple carrot. Oh, and frankincense and crystalised sea veg – we make our own leather from the fish skin, which you don’t eat, but which will be part of the cutlery for the texture and smell. Easy, really, to balance all that?!
Dinner Working late in Bray after tasting, so had a beer and some of head chef Jonny Lake’s nachos with the boys after service.
• Heston’s Fantastical Food starts on 6 November at 9pm on Channel 4.
Breakfast Egg on toast, wolfed down too fast for a picture, but this is the deal (and it’s often repeated): wholegrain rye toast, with a soft boiled egg schmooshed on top, with lots of Maldon salt and coarsely ground white pepper. Straight after breakfast, made batch of coffee ice-cream and chocolate nougat cookies to take to curry favour with various radio and TV interviews that I have lined up for day.
Lunch I am not good when I miss meals; being hungry makes me both murderous and suicidal. So didn’t feel good that I didn’t manage to get back for lunch until about 4.30pm and had to leave house for the next thingy at 5pm, so all I had time for was some rye toast with hummus and coriander on top, and a far too small portion at that.
Supper Roast chicken – I have all the bits with cartilage and skin, by choice, while pretending to make great sacrifices so that the children can eat the white meat – on escarole (my favourite lettuce) dressed just with Maldon, Mellow Yellow cold-pressed rapeseed oil, lemon and lots of English mustard.
Breakfast Made an egg and bacon sandwich for one of the children, but then ran too late to have breakfast myself. Not a good start to the day, made worse by the fact that I was going to a photographic shoot, which always makes me nervy.
Lunch Made up for lack of breakfast by eating huge amounts of rotisserie chicken, char-grilled corn and crinkly chips from Chicken Shop in Kentish Town. Don’t blame them for the poor display: I had a takeaway and didn’t present the food (such was my quaking hunger) to its best advantage. From this point onwards, my life started looking up.
Supper By special request, made risi e bisi, a Venetian recipe (think a soupy pea risotto) that’s a favourite in my home. I am always grateful when this is what I’m asked to cook, because it’s quick and easy, and as comforting for the cook as the eater.
Breakfast Rye toast with Mellow Yellow cold-pressed rapeseed oil and Vegemite. I feel a real traitor to my country choosing Vegemite over Marmite, but there it is.
Lunch Since this is a day of interviews, and the meagre toast with Vegemite is wearing off to the point of panic, I order a steak and chips. True, there are only four chips on the plate (though I must tell you they were much bigger and hunkier than they look), but they’ve been generous with the béarnaise sauce, and I also have a tube of Colman’s in my bag, so I manage to get through the afternoon.
Supper By request, again, I make another of my children’s favourites – penne with ham, peas and cream.
Breakfast The usual rye toast and egg – and an awful lot of tea. In fact, I can never actually eat breakfast before I’ve had my two mugs of tea.
Lunch Have a meeting at home over lunch, so roast a butterflied leg of lamb, along with a tin of sliced pink fir apple potatoes, yellow courgettes, cherry tomatoes, leeks and black olives. There is no particular design to this vegetable mixture: I was just giving my fridge a bit of a going through, and bunged everything that needed to be used up into a roasting tin.
Supper Although I complied with children’s wishes, making them burgers (not homemade, I must own up, but Heston’s from Waitrose) with plastic cheese, potatoes cut somewhere between wedges and chips, roasted with garlic cloves and pancetta cubes, and a rather 1970s-looking salad, I needed the simple salve of an avocado, eaten with nothing more than a spritz of lemon and a snowy throw of salt.
I did succumb to some Booja-Booja champagne truffles later, but I never feel bad about that.
Breakfast Smoked salmon, coarsely ground white pepper, lemon juice and lots of dill – for me, the best way to eat it. I am very fussy about the smoked salmon, though; it must be London-cure, which is so lusciously mild that it’s more like eating wafer-thin sashimi than anything else. I get mine, as my grandmother did before me, from Panzer’s in St John’s Wood, despite the schlepp.
Lunch A frantic day, and much as I like having proper meals and not grabbed snacks, lunch today is a toasted sandwich. Still, it’s a very good toastie, buttery-crisp on the outside, lined with ham as thin and tender and pink as a kitten’s tongue, and gooey with jarlsberg.
Supper Going to see Michael McIntyre at the O2, so supper has to be a picnic on the way there. I have an old picnic box I bought on eBay, and make a few batches of rice noodle and prawn salad, with beansprouts, sugar snaps and a lot of ginger, chilli and soy to go inside it. Friends we’re going with a supply of champagne and, given that I can get drunk on one glass, I am reeling by the time I get home. Fantastic night, though, topped off by a buttered, toasted bagel on my return, followed by crisps and chocolate.
Breakfast Get up too late for breakfast, but manage a good lunch-after-the-night-before (and pre-opening snoop) at Colbert of fried eggs with black pudding and crêpes with lemon and sugar.
Supper I live very near the Chelsea Fishmonger and generally throw myself at Rex, the fishmonger, and get myself comfortingly overstocked for the weekend. Tonight’s supper is part of this catch: halibut, juicily roasted and plonked on top of some treviso leaves, with broccoli cooked with garlic oil, anchovies, chilli and dry white vermouth. This is what I use whenever I want white wine taste, but without having to open a bottle. I know it sounds odd, but unless we’re having friends over, it never occurs to me to open a bottle of wine.
Breakfast Up too late for breakfast, but I do manage a supersized cappuccino in bed with the papers.
Lunch Tuna tartare with capers, lemon zest, spring onions and rocket: this takes about three minutes to make and is a virtuous reward for the lazy and greedy.
Supper Ever since the children have been teenagers, the ritual of Sunday lunch has been shunted on to Sunday supper. Tonight, we’re having pork belly slices – think melting meat and triumphant, bronze crackling – with soy and cumin gravy, mashed potato and broccoli. I’ve been experimenting with some mini versions of my cappuccino pavlova and have some bases left, as well as some coffee ice-cream from Monday, so do a housekeeping job of getting rid of the two together (that’s my excuse), anointed with a sticky, gleaming drizzle of Golden Syrup which, along with Maldon and Colman’s, constitute the holy trinity of Great British Foodstuffs.
• Nigella Lawson’s new book, Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration, is published by Chatto & Windus at £26. To order a copy for £20.80, plus free UK mainland p&p, go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop, or call 0330 333 6846.
A lunatic mishmash of fayn daynin’, boozing and comfort eating with the odd, breakfast-based attempt at healthiness. When not working, I’ll cheerfully eat the same things over and over. I was on holiday for much of the week, so I’m amazed there’s no Indian or a Thai: I usually pine for them after monoculturalist Italy. No apologies for the datterini surfeit – I’d happily live on them. And toast.
Breakfast Tomatoes with chilli: I can’t get enough of the local datterini tomatoes of joy.
Lunch Risotto at Trattoria Carmello – I practically live in this restaurant in Marina di Ragusa whenever I’m in Sicily. Simple but wonderful.
Dinner Satro in Scicli – new and still finding its feet. Toast, anchovy, sliver of lemon – tangy! Maccheroni with swordfish. The inevitable almondy, custardy cakes to finish.
Breakfast More datterini.
Lunch Tuna and green peppers – usually hate green peppers, but these almost melted down into the tuna.
Dinner Lobster paella – bizarre to be eating paella in Sicily, but that’s what our hosts cooked for us.
Breakfast Berocca and banana (and one or two datterini) – healthy!
Lunch A horrid little salad with tinned corn in a Modica cafe – you can get bad food in Italy.
Dinner Anchovy toasts. Bread with red tuna and its roe. Roast pancetta at the local bar: magnificently fatty, piggy porchetta. More almond cakes.
Breakfast Unidentified Sicilian object stuffed with cheese and sausage. Almost Glaswegian in its loveliness.
Lunch More Don Carmello – no apologies for going back. Antipasto di mare included fish-laced caponata.
Dinner Negroni and cicchetti at Grand Café Tabbacco, Catania. Then airline food worse even than it had been on way over. “Beef rendang” looked like Pedigree Chum, so I ate cheese and oatcakes and BA nuts.
Breakfast Bagel and tea – am a sucker for a bagel, one side marmalade, the other Marmite.
Lunch Homemade lemon cake and tea. I meant not to eat because I knew what was coming later…
Dinner Kitchen Table on Charlotte Street, for a review – though you’ll have to wait until 10 November to read it. Fourteen courses. Several highlights, chief among them a giddily brilliant liquoricey pear cake.
Breakfast Tea and a Crunchie – not proud of this: I’m calling it elevenses.
Lunch Garufin in Holborn. Pulled pork, chorizo, beans, squash – earthy and wonderful. Quail cooked in an escabeche – the presentation made me hoot. Presa Ibérico on quinoa flavoured with smoked oil – could almost convert me to quinoa.
Dinner Thai sticky rice with a little lime and fish sauce. Sometimes you just need something, well, soothing.
Breakfast Espresso, pomegranate, banana – almost healthy.
Lunch The last of the (possibly illegally imported) datterini, evoo, smoked Maldon, bread, Berocca.
Snack Percy Pigs – I buy them “for the children”.
Dinner Risotto with tagliata hacked from a mammoth T-bone from the Butcher of Brogdale. Husband made it: bloody gorgeous in every sense.
Breakfast is important in our house – it’s the one meal of the day that I’m guaranteed to have with my daughter. Lunch is a big variable – weekdays, if I’m writing, I’ll just grab a bowl of soup or knock up a salad, but more often than not I’ll be recipe testing or out tasting for the businesses I consult for, so don’t want a proper lunch. Suppers, too, have no real pattern – I’m generally out no more than twice a week, and at home it’s usually based around what’s about to go off in the fridge.
Breakfast Bacon and pineapple butties – must be a Saturday!
Lunch Friends over. Stunning bit of plaice, and probably the last time I do peas and lettuce this year – definitely a sunshine dish. And an emergency pud – vanilla sponge stolen from a friend with a quick plum compote and pistachios.
Dinner My sister and her kids came round for supper, so we had the first big beefy braise of the winter.
Breakfast Some days I have eggs, others muesli. On big days, eggs are the way to go. Homemade River Cottage green tomato chutney put some zoom in today’s oeuf.
Supper A rioja-based meal with friends. Ended up making canapés a bit pissed: hummus and mung beans, potatoes and pesto… Basically any leftovers I had in the fridge.
Breakfast Had the plaice bones from Saturday in the fridge, so put on a fish stock while eating my muesli.
Lunch A cheese straw Parthenon set the tone on the first day of cooking for the new book. Didn’t have a sit-down lunch because of that: shared a PPP – potato pesto pizza – with the girls for lunch, then more baking with raspberry jam tarts. Had a proper madeleine moment when I ate one later – hadn’t had a jam tart for years and I came over a bit emotional. Love that food can do that to you.
Supper Easy supper with my daughter – my favourite Turkish veggie pilaff.
Breakfast Quick and yum hot breakfast on a cold day: lemon and sugar pancakes. Lunch More baking. Limbering up for Bonfire night with spicy sausage rolls. Munched a lot of sponge today, plus peppermint cream hearts. A great day in the McEvedy kitchen.
Dinner One of the girl’s boyfriends had been shooting at the weekend, and she brought round pheasants as a present. Because I don’t have enough food in my life…
Breakfast Marmite crumpet.
Lunch A typing-in-the-recipes day, so had salad with poached egg and homemade chorizo.
Supper Went to a Peruvian place called Ceviche. Had a fantastic dish called pisco – so good.
Lunch Tasting, so didn’t really eat lunch. On the menu were 14 organic Irish seaweeds.
Supper Mussels were on day three, so needed cooking: never-fail marinière.
Breakfast A white peach compote that I made in August – I’d taken it out of the freezer for an end-of-work bellini yesterday, so we had the rest as a smoothie this morning.
Lunch Was left with an empty tart shell after testing a shortcrust recipe, so rummaged around in the fridge for ingredients to fill it with: last of my homemade chorizo, four old ends of various cheeses and peas from the freezer. With a bit of lettuce and the last of the toms, it made pretty much my perfect lunch (just add a glass of sauvignon blanc).
Supper The Queen Adelaide on Uxbridge Road. Scotch eggs make the best pub supper – the kedgeree ones were awesome, closely followed by the pickled egg one.
Tom Parker Bowles
“The primary requisite for writing well about food,” mused the great AJ Liebling, “is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate… enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down. Each day brings only two opportunities for field work, and they are not to be wasted minimising the intake of cholesterol. They are indispensable, like a prizefighter’s hours upon the road.” Far be it from me to contradict AJ, but with training that “field work” can be stretched to at least five instances a day. The first bit of this week was fairly normal, the second more gruelling, as I was in the US to flog my new book – and to miss out on a raft of New York newbies and old favourites would be remiss. Well, that’s my excuse.
Breakfast Nothing at all, but that’s pretty much normal for me.
Lunch Tom yum goong soup at Tawana on Westbourne Grove, followed by larb gai and miang kum – hot as buggery.
Dinner Couscous with pickled chillies and harissa, a bowl of lentils and a Drumstick for pudding.
Breakfast A rare occurrence: fruit and carrots.
Lunch Haddock and potato soup, and then plaice at Hereford Road (a rather more regular occurrence).
Dinner Boiled egg and soldiers.
Breakfast and lunch Typical last-minute rush to get ready to go to Philadelphia for filming, so didn’t get round to eating a thing all day, until I sat down to fish pie on the 5pm BA flight from Heathrow T5 – just about OK.
Dinner Landed in NYC around 8.30pm and went straight to dinner at Smith & Wollensky – a brutally monolithic onion and tomato salad, then a gargantuan New York strip that was not as good as it thought it was.
Mid-morning A day in Philly. Cheese steak sandwich at Jim’s – a touch bland; should have added onions. Then a hot dog. Good bun and topping, but the sausage lacked snap and smoke. Good local fizzy drink.
Dinner Oysters, clams and lobster roll at Sansom Street Oyster House.
Didn’t eat all day because was in and out of QVC’s studio. Ended up in some bar in the evening for a much-needed drink. They did a good burger, too.
Mid-morning snack Still in New York – gobstoppers to keep me going.
Lunch To Tomoe Sushi – one of the best in town for spicy tuna tartare and eel otoro among other things.
Dinner Blue Smoke’s Memphis ribs – not enough smoke, but the pulled pork was pretty damned good.
Breakfast Are you kidding?
Lunch Sunday lunch at Má Pêche: to start, a broth of glorious, beefy, greasy depth – the sort you want to dive into – filled with chunks of wobbling tendon. And then, of course, David Chang’s pork buns – world-famous, still world-class.
Dinner Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria in the East Village. Good food. Noisy, though. Home-cured salumi were damned good. And then spaghetti con bottarga – sweetly saline.
• Tom Parker Bowles’s new book, Let’s Eat: Recipes From My Kitchen Notebook, is published by Pavilion at £25. To order a copy for £20 including free UK mainland p&p, go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846.
Few chefs get three square meals a day – sometimes I’m lucky to get one – but I pick at stuff through service, so don’t go hungry. Looking back, I should eat breakfast more, but that would mean being organised first thing, which is not a strong point.Monday
Breakfast Black coffee, like every day.
Lunch A day off, so went to see my mother. We had a nice minestrone.
Dinner Nuts, beans, salad leaves and beetroot, all bought at Aldeburgh food festival at the weekend.
Breakfast Coffee, then to Murano for service – that keeps you going, as you pick and taste right through.
Dinner Late supper at the Green Man & French Horn on St Martin’s Lane. I joined friends after service, so hoovered up the remains of what they’d been eating – zander, partridge, leeks, eggs – and rounded things off with an ace jam tart.
Breakfast I actually had some time today, so grapefruit with the usual coffee – more treat than habit.
Lunch Staff lunch is always at 10.45am – today it was leftover veg turned into a stew or pasta.
Breakfast Coffee first, as always.
Then testing for a private party – couscous salad with hot smoked salmon. Stayed on for lunch service, and picked my way through to lunch.
Dinner Spent afternoon on admin and errands, so headed to Murano: pasta with bread, high in carbs!
Dinner Pretty much what I ate on Wednesday, except I came home to a slice of spinach tart. It’s a thing of beauty when made well, but I have to admit this was not the best – still, the spinach came from Mum’s garden.
Breakfast Late breakfast coffee and toasted St John bread – it’s so handy to have the bakery round the corner.
Lunch Running late (again) and had to get to work, so just a quick salad.
Dinner Good job I had something light earlier, because tonight I had a huge Action Against Hunger meal: Claude Bosi‘s buckwheat soup, Tom Kerridge‘s slow-cooked hake, carrot purée and lardo, Phil Howard‘s roast guinea fowl with semolina gnocchi and Andrew Fairlie‘s chocolate hedgehog.
Breakfast To Nordic Bakery with my nephew, who loves the place – egg and herrings on rye bread while the kids ate their way through cinnamon buns and rye muffins. Numerous coffees, too, obviously.
Lunch Had family over – made some salads, sardines on tomato and fennel, and linguine with vongole, chilli and garlic. No dessert, because I didn’t get to St John in time to pick up some of their doughnuts – they always sell out so early
• Angela Hartnett is chef/patron at Murano, London W1.