Hugo Arnold has written about food for 20 years in numerous newspapers and magazines and is the author of 12 books including two for Wagamama and five for Avoca. He consults with leading restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels as well as advising companies and arts institutions on foodservice solutions. In 2005 he bought a hotel in Scotland with a group of investors. The Colonsay focuses on seasonal, locally sourced food cooked simply. In 2012 he opened Hatch and Sons on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin with a group of like-minded gourmets. Hatch is focused on small, Irish, artisan producers. Ahead of his demo at The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Lit Fest this weekend, we asked Hugo what he has learned from writing cookbooks.
What is the single most important thing you would teach a new cook?
What have you learned from writing cookbooks?
That the world is full of tentative cooks who want a little guidance and a lot of fun.
How do you identify a good recipe?
One that makes me smile. Intrigue is undervalued.
What are the hallmarks of writing a successful recipe?
Think like the reader.
Should all recipes turn out exactly like the photo in the book?
A recipe is a starting place, an idea, where you take it is up to you. Which is half the fun.
Has your palate evolved hugely since you began food writing, and what is the most striking difference between then and now?
Understanding the messages that taste can reveal.
What dish would you like people to cook when they think of you?
Salad. The possibilities are endless, the rewards extreme, the fear of failure real but recoverable (mostly).
What cookbook takes pride of place on your shelf, and why?
Alastair Little’s Keep it Simple. He’s all about the recipe. That, the best ingredients and an approach, a philosophy.
The third Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine runs from 15-17 May 2015. The full schedule of events and speakers is now available on the LitFest website www.litfest.ie
From world-famous chefs to boutique coffee roasters, guerrilla gardeners to polished restaurateurs, cocktail specialists to renowned wine makers, the unique international approach of the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine 2015 brings together yet another awesome lineup of fascinating and intriguing food and drink focused writers and speakers.