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Desert Island Dishes

Author: Margie Nomura

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What would you choose as your last meal? Chef Margie Nomura talks to a special guest about the seven dishes that have shaped their lives.

In this podcast you will find conversations with interesting people from the world of food and beyond uncovering the seminal dishes and experiences that have shaped who they are today. We will find out about their favourite childhood dishes, the dishes they eat the most often, and the dishes that mean the most to them. And of course we will also discover what their last dish would be before being cast off to the desert island.

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181 Episodes
My guest today is the founder of Hoppers - Karan Gokani. Combining his passion for cooking with his love of the country of Sri Lanka he has built a restaurant empire celebrating the food of Sri Lanka and Southern India. I went to Sri Lanka last year for the first time and completely fell in love with the food. I’ve been to Hoppers many times so I kind of knew what to expect but honestly it’s just the most amazing country and the most delicious food so it was brilliant to hear from Karan about his love for it it too.I know I told you that this was going to just be a little short season for the month of February but already we have come to the last episode of this mini season – it’s gone very quickly but fear not as we are already recording the next – so hopefully wont be too long to wait. Another reminder to any one listening – if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter Dinner Tonight, please do think about it. It’s one easy weeknight recipe, often one pan, mostly 30 minutes or less and I look forwards to writing it every week and it’s honestly amazing that there are so many people reading it. Over 22,000 of you now which is amazing but there’s always room for more. do hope you enjoy todays episode and thank you for listening. If you don’t already, come and follow me on Instagram @desertislandishes and you can sign up for the newsletter and find a whole host of different recipes at Thank you again to HG Walter our sponsor for this month of Desert Island Dishes, and thank you for listening! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Bee Wilson. In all honesty, Bee is one of the most interesting and thought provoking food writers and historians we’ve ever known.She is the author of 8 books about food and eating. Her books have won multiple awards, and she’s won 5 Guild of food writers awards for her journalism. After over 20 years of food writing, this year she released her first cookbook, The Secret of Cooking, something she says she’s dreamt of doing since the age of 8.She has been described by Yotam Ottolenghi as "the ultimate food scholar" and writes brilliantly about all aspects of our current food culture.She counts Nigella and Diana Henry as friends (and fans) and I so enjoyed getting to chat to her and hear her Desert Island Dishes. I hope you enjoy this one and thank you so much for listening. A huge thank you to our sponsor HG Walter for bringing the podcast to you this month - visit them at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest this week is the world famous photographer David Loftus. David is one of the most influential photographers of all time often fondly referred to as Lord Loftus. Award-winning and internationally acclaimed, David has done the photography for the books of Jamie Oliver, Rachel Khoo, Gennaro Contaldo, Elizabeth David and April Bloomfield. For over 20 years, David has photographed over 150 books including all but one of Jamie Oliver’s international best-sellers. His work with Jamie Oliver alone has resulted in book sales of over 30 million copies. You will have looked a David’s photographs even if you were unaware of it at the time. Thank you so much to HG Walter for sponsoring this month of Desert Island Dishes. Head to for nationwide delivery. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We are back! For a short mini series but back nonetheless! I missed you! And I'm very excited that today my guest today is Claudia Roden.Described as the food writer who never goes out of fashion. She began collecting recipes in 1956, while a student in London. The Suez crisis of that year turned many people from Egypt into refugees: preserving the food culture of the Jewish community was as much practical as it was emotional. These recipes led to her debut masterpiece A Book of Middle Eastern Food which really cemented Claudia’s future as one of the greatest food writers we’ve ever known. Her book revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East. Her books have been loved by not only home cooks but also have laid the foundation for many of the most ambitious professional kitchens, and heavily influenced some of the most well known chefs working today, from the River Café, to Ottolenghi, Alistair Little and Moro to name just a few. Claudia’s talent for mixing up the scholarly with the practical is what really has set her apart. Often described as an anthropologist as well as a historian, essayist and poet - her books are as much about culture an anthropology as they are about recipes. But she says she doesn’t follow scholarly rules, and didn’t go to university, she is a food writer through and through who simply finds a dish and wants to learn all about it. What is clear is that she is the Master of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours and a hero for the industry and people who love food. Thank you so much to our sponsor HG Walter for helping us to bring the show to you. Find them here: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Rick Stein. A highly requested guest, I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did recording it. Rick is, of course, a chef, restaurateur, cook book author and television presenter. He has written over 25 cookery books, a memoir and made over 30 television programmes. His latest cookbook, Simple Suppers is out now. It has been nearly 50 years since he first opened The Fish Restaurant in Padstow, an area of Cornwall he fell in love with at a young age and has made his home. Despite his successes, Rick describes himself as an accidental restaurateur – who never planned on a career in food. And yet how lucky we are that his dreams of running a nightclub were quashed by the local authorities and led instead to the Stein restaurant empire we know today. He is the man who could pretty much entirely be credited with bringing an appreciation of fish to the UK masses, something he says he didn’t set out to do intentionally, it just made sense at the time. Despite his obvious success, Rick has said, “I’ve definitely got a sense of not being very good at stuff. It’s sort of absurd because, you know, I’ve done really quite well for myself, but I still really doubt myself. It’s just the way I am.”Simple Suppers is out now, available at all good bookstores. And don't forget if you want to enter our Fortnum and Mason giveaway with the chance to win one of their Magic of Christmas Hampers worth £300 sign up for the newsletter via the website and I will be sending out more information. Thank you to Georgie my producer for all her hard work and thank you for listening!xx Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Zena Kamgaing. Zena describes herself as a passionate home-chef, recipe creator and food enthusiast.Before going full time as a freelance recipe creator, She worked for a charity and ran their anti human trafficking initiative, worked for a food media company as head of ops before working at Mob kitchen – the food media platform. Zena burst onto the food creator scene when she appeared on Jamie Oliver’s Cook Book Challenge and since then her career has gone from strength to strength. She has since appeared on Lorraine, has garnered a huge online following and this seems to be just the start.Thank you very much to our sponsor for today's episode, Nestlé Carnation. Head to their website for a whole load of recipe inspiration:'t forget to sign up for the newsletter Dinner Tonight - you can sign up via the website and find me on instagram @desertislanddishes.coAnd thank you to my brilliant producer Georgie for all your help as always. you for listening!Margie x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Ed GambleEd is a comedian, an actor, host of the Off Menu podcast amongst others, and judge on the Great British Menu. He can now also add author to his bio of credentials as his debut book Glutton has just been published. His career in comedy began at Durham university performing with the Durham revue before heading to the Edinburgh fringe for the first time in 2011 His stand-up comedy is largely observational comedy, often aimed at himself, including discussion of his diabetes, which he was diagnosed with as a teenager. He says his humour was honed by a fixation with all things sitcoms and stand up.  Ed has been a regular panellist on the BBC panel show Mock the Week , has acted for shows on the BBC and hosted several radio shows. The Off Menu podcast which he hosts with James Acaster has been a phenomenal success which has seen him become somewhat of a household name. When asked what made him get into comedy, Ed replied, The perfect mix of a terrifying ego and an astonishing lack of self-esteem. I can’t tell day to day whether I’m arrogant or I hate myself, but I think somewhere in-between is absolutely ideal for a comedian.Do hope you enjoy today's episode. Come and find me on Instagram @desertislanddishes and don't forget to sign up to the newsletter Dinner Tonight by going to the website Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Russell Norman Known as The Restaurant Man. He is a writer, broadcaster and award winning founder of celebrated restaurants with first THE POLPO restaurant group and now BRUTTO. Hailed as “London’s coolest restaurateur” and having been described as the man who saved restaurants after the financial crash, Russell is a restaurateur with over 20 years experience in London restaurants – he worked his way up from bartender, to waiter, maître d, general manager and operations director at Caprice Holdings before opening his first restaurant Polpo. Never one to follow trends, in fact he sets them…it was Russell that started our love affair with small plates, sharing platters and a move away from the fussiness of fine dining. It was also Russell that started the strict no reservation policy that spread like wild fire. Russell has said, "A lot of people fantasise about opening their own restaurant, thinking it is going to be a bit like a dinner party but with a till, but it’s a fallacy” The reality is 18 hour days and they would be tired and miserable”. And yet he says for him, the feeling of running a restaurant is as though “someone’s plugged into the mains”. Hope you enjoy today's episode. Don't forget Russell's beautiful book Brutto is out now.Thank you very much to Nestlé Carnation for sponsoring this weeks episode. Head to their website for lots of recipe inspiration and there’s even a free downloadable recipe book waiting for you there too.You can find me @desertislanddishes and the website at www.desertislanddishes.coThank you for listening!Margie x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Sarah WilsonSarah started I Quit Sugar in 2011 as a lifestyle experiment for a column she was writing. This led to an e-book, then three New York Times bestsellers and a business that saw 1.5 million people signing up to an eight-week nutrition programme. But as time went on, Sarah wasn’t enjoying it anymore. She says, ‘The business got to a point where it had gone from being a joy – creating, inventing, connecting with people – to a business concern. It felt soul-destroying. It felt wrong.’ And so in February 2022 she sold off the business and its assets and gave everything to charity. She now donates the money to carefully researched charity projects that target inequality, indigenous issues and the climate crisis.Sarah consumes essentials only, has never owned a handbag and doesn’t own a car. Her career has been extraordinary, she became the editor of Cosmopolitan Australia at 29, hosted the most-watched TV series show in the nation’s history -the first season of Masterchef Australia – and wrote the international bestseller First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, which Mark Manson described as “the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read”. Her most recent book This One Wild and Precious Life, is also a prize winner and Sarah has been ranked in the top 200 most influential authors in the world (two years in a row).Thank you very much to Nestlé Carnation for sponsoring this weeks episode. Head to their website for lots of recipe inspiration and there’s even a free downloadable recipe book waiting for you there too.You can find me @desertislanddishes and the website at www.desertislanddishes.coThank you for listening!Margie x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
You may well know Jon from his friendly, down-to-earth cooking videos online where he has amassed a huge following of avid fans but what you may not know is that Jon is where he is today through a lot of hard work and determination to turn his life around completely.He left school at the age of 16 with no idea what he wanted to do, he found himself hanging out with the wrong crowd and was constantly getting into trouble with the police. In 2008 he was sentenced to 6 ½ years in a young offenders institute. He said he had two choices: spending 23 hours a day in a cell or signing up for everything he could. He signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and in that moment he changed the entire course of his life.Jon became the first person to ever earn a gold Duke of Edinburgh award whilst in prison receiving the award from Prince Philip himself. Jon went on to work for Jamie Oliver, where his passion for food was really ignited and now 16 years on, he runs a successful food business working as a chef and has just released his first cookbook.Thank you to our sponsor Cru Kafé for supporting us this episode and helping us to bring the show to you every week. Visit their website here.Don't forget to come and find us on Instagram and Tiktok @desertislanddishes Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Tara WigleyTara spent a decade working in publishing–before going to cookery school in Ireland. Where she spent 3 months with her twin toddlers and her dog. She has developed, tested, and writen recipes for Ottolenghi’s weekly column in the Guardian magazine and monthly New York Times’s columns, as well as for his cookbooks. She is the co-author of the award-winning Falastin, - in-house writer of Team Ottolenghi, Yotam’s co-author on eight of the biggest food books, including the million-seller, Ottolenghi Simple.. and mother of teen twins and a tween.Her hilarious and often biting ditties on Instagram have won her a new audience which is interested more in her own voice; How to Butter Toast is a recipe book without recipes, a rhyming route through the how-tos of cooking which is both reassuring and entertaining.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Thom Bateman started his career as a chef at the age of 17, after training at Buxton College and gaining a knowledge of the classical techniques. He quickly rose through the ranks and became head chef at the tender age of 18.In 2009 Thom decided to leave the culinary world behind him, in order to protect his mental health and get a change in scene, a chance to travel to learn more about the world but also himself.10 years later, Thom started a food blog page known as Bboxfood reigniting a passion for cooking. Through this, he began working with big brands and before long, he had amassed a large and loyal following. That following now sits at close to 3.5 million followers.Heading back to his roots… Thom decided to open the ‘The Flintlock’. His critically acclaimed restaurant, it’s a family affair and It’s from here he creates all his recipes and videos. He’s appeared on The Great British Menu where he was invited to compete to represent Staffordshire. With all this success and yet, it seems like he’s only just getting started.Thank you to our sponsor Deliveroo for supporting us this season and helping us to bring the show to you every week.Don't forget to come and find us on Instagram and Tiktok @desertislanddishes Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Jane Dunn. You may know her through her recipes online as Jane’s Patisserie. She has amassed a following of over 1.3 million with her easy to follow but super indulgent recipes for all levels of bakers. From her large Instagram following, regular This Morning stints and record breaking stats, Jane’s hugely engaged following make her this generation’s go-to baker and have her being called the Mary Berry of the Instagram age. Her debut book, Jane’s Patisserie, became the fastest-selling baking book of all time, selling 44,000 copies in its first 3 days after publication. Outselling some of the biggest names out there and she ddid this without the support of a TV show or a huge publicity drive. Pretty impressive stuff from the woman who found her way into baking after ending up in cookery school on a fluke. Her blog attracts 8 million views a month and when asked the secret to her success, Jane has said "I think my selling point is I am a down-to-earth young woman and these recipes are accessible to anyone.” Her second book Jane’s Patisserie Celebrate! became an instant Number 1 bestseller and she’s just written her third which has just been released! Available from all good book stores.   Thank you so much for listening. Find us on instagram @desertislanddishes Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Fred has become known as the nation’s favourite maitre d’ and TV personality.He initially wanted to be a chef, but having decided that the repetitive nature of professional cooking would stifle his creativity, he switched his attention to the front of house and has never looked back. Fred worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in both France and the UK, and rose to fame back in 2013 on Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning matchmaking show First Dates, where his warmth and charm was a tonic to the nerve-wracked daters entering the first dates restaurant.A very successful TV career has come off the back of that and he’s become a well-known and in-demand presenter, as the presenter of Remarkable Places to Eat on the BBC, and and he also travels the world with Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo on ITV’s Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip series.Thank you to our sponsor Deliveroo for supporting us this season and helping us to bring the show to you every week.Don't forget to come and find us on Instagram and Tiktok @desertislanddishes Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
I'm so excited that today Diana Henry is sharing her Desert Island Dishes with me. Diana is one of my favourite recipe writers and it was a total joy to sit down with her. Diana is a multi award-winning food writer, journalist, broadcaster and cook book author. Described as one of the most prolific recipe writers of a generation but also one of the most beloved.She is the Telegraph’s much-loved cookery writer, After a career as a tv producer - working for both the BBC and Channel 4 - Diana started writing about food after she had her first child.Through her work with the Telegraph she shares recipes each week for everything from speedy family dinners to special menus that friends will remember for months. She is also a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4, and her journalism and recipe books, including Simple and How to Eat a Peach, are multi-award-winning. A mother of two sons, Diana can satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.Yotam Ottolenghi, has said of her work: “Everything Diana Henry cooks I want to eat.” Whilst Nigella Lawson has said, “She can write a recipe for cucumbers with radishes, cherries and rose petals,” and “With another writer you wouldn’t trust it, but with Diana you want to give it a go because it feels both safe and inspiring.”Thank you very much to Deliveroo for sponsoring this episode of Desert Island Dishes. You can find out more about the brilliant work Deliveroo and the Trussell Trust are doing together at you for listening. If you've like to sign up for my brand new newsletter, here is the link: Cant wait to see you there! Margie x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
If you were on your phone through lockdown, there is no doubt at all in my mind that you will have seen today’s guest across your screens teaching us how to make potatoes all kinds of delicious ways.Poppy O’Toole, also known as Poppy Cooks, is a Michelin-trained professional chef, who turned to tiktok upon losing her job in 2020 to fill some time. 3 years later, Poppy has amassed over 4 million followers on tiktok and her second cookbook is about to be released. She is a judge on Junior Masterchef and as the self-proclaimed Potato Queen, teaches her audience to make all sorts of potato delights as well as a whole host of other lovely recipes that aim to make cooking and food accessible to all audiences.She has said “I realized I’m not very fancy. I like very standard food. I like to pretend I like oysters. I don’t… I like eating potatoes and cream. That’s about it.”Really hope you enjoyed today's episode. Thank you so much to our sponsor Milk and More for making it possible. Don't forget you can get a whopping 30% off your first order by using the code DISH30 at checkout. Head to and get a little bit of doorstep magic today!See you next week!Margie Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Will is the founder of Deliveroo – the food delivery company he launched in 2013 with his childhood friend Greg Orlowski. After coming up with the idea for whilst working 100 hour weeks as an investment banker – the two friends seized on the opportunity to pair newly emerging technology with restaurants in order to enable people to order restaurant food straight to their door. A simple but genius idea that has seen Deliveroo grow to unicorn status and beyond and for Will to be known as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. He describes himself as just a normal guy whilst people who have worked with him and know him personally describe him as being gritty, calm and deliberate and most of all humble. This can be seen through the fact that Will can still regularly be found to be delivering food orders personally on his bike. Not something many CEO's would be found doing at this stage of their business. In 2022 Deliveroo partnered with the Trussell Trust and togteher they have provided 2 million meals and support to hundreds of thousands of people facing hunger in the UK.I really hope you enjoy today's episode, I loved getting the chance to speak to Will. It's not often you meet someone who is so incredibly successful but also so down to Earth and passionate about what they do. Thank you for listening, see you next week!Margie x Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guests todays are Henry Firth and Ian TheasbyBroadcasters, Sunday Times best sellers and vegan chefs extraordinaire, you may know them by their other name BOSH! The vegan food empire they’ve been growing for the last 7 years. From what began as a successful Youtube channel, these boys from Sheffield have now gone on to host their own ITV show, Living on the Veg and now have more than a million followers across their social media.They offer fans a refreshing no fuss approach to veganism and plant based living,Their debut cookbook has become one of the UK’s all time best sellers. Described as a powerful duo famed for their easy to follow recipe videos.Their most popular recipe video was viewed over 50 million times and their videos get over 25 million views a month.They’ve been called everything from the Bosh Boys, the Bosh Brothers, regardless of all that it is clear they are vegan superstars who have tapped into the culinary zeitgeist and conquered the virtual world.Their new cookbook is out now!Thank you so much for listening, see you next week for more Desert Island Dishes. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
My guest today is Millie MackintoshMillie first made her name as part of the original line up of made in chelsea in 2011. After 5 seasons she descided to embark on a career spanning from beauty to fashion, to lifestyle and fitness. She’s been in the public eye for over a decade – she’s a business woman, and health and wellness advocate – having been on the cover of Womens Health a whopping 4 times. Passiionate about good food, mental health and as now the mother of two young children she’s got a whole new perspective on what healthy means to her. Having amassed well over a million followers on social media, she’s had her own fashion and beauty lines, written a book and has her her own podcast.She if often described as a style icon, and was even described in one interview I came across as being a “bit like human berocca” which is quite possibly the best compliment I’ve ever come across. Thank you so much for listening. Do make sure you're subscribed wherever you listen to your podcasts so you dont miss an episode.See you next week! Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Jimi is a writer, broadcaster and food critic. He is the chief restaurant critic for the Evening Standard, a regular guest judge on the BBC One series MasterChef and was also one of the judges on Channel 4’s The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver. In 2021, he won Restaurant Writer of the Year at both the Fortnum & Mason Awards and the Guild of Food Writers Awards and as an interviewer he has profiled Black African Londoners including Idris Elba, John Boyega and Skepta. He says the thing he loves most about writing about food is “Food is wordless communication. A way to be creative, clever or reference culture without speaking. I love being a conduit for that, trying to find the words so people can share the experience, almost taste the food.” And when you read his work, this is nothing but the truth with the way he has with words and transporting you to the setting about which he is writing, despite being on the tube or on your sofa.Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to Lloyds Bank for sponsoring us for this season of Desert Island Dishes. Come and find us on Instagram @desertislanddishes and sign up for the newsletter at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Comments (2)

susowo heusjod

This Desert Island Dishes is very amazing.

Jun 23rd

Julien Laura

i. . . . .

Aug 14th