Born in Brighton, MasterChef finalist, Emma Spitzer, recently published her contemporary Jewish cookbook entitled Fress (which, in Yiddish, means “to eat copiously and without restraint”). The book features Middle-Eastern and Eastern European recipes that are big on flavour and spice.
We caught up with Emma to see which dish in ‘Fress’ she enjoys making the most, what life has held for her since her time on MasterChef and what she has planned next.
How has your life changes since becoming a finalist on MasterChef?
I have been thrown into a world of food which would never have happened before. I’ve published a book, demonstrated at food festivals around the country, done some teaching and regularly get catering requests. I’ve also done some brand work too so it’s been very diverse.
Your recipe book, Fress, features a range of recipes from a range of influences. What is your personal favourite recipe in the book both to eat and to cook?
It’s hard to choose as the recipes are like my children, I love them all! If I had to pick one, I guess it would be the Mahkuda which I could eat all day long. I love it hot, cold….I usually always make it for friends and my kids love it so its made often. It works for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
When you dine out what cuisine do you opt for and what are your favourite dishes?
I love Indian and Vietnamese food but I also love tapas and Middle Eastern restaurants. I need food with lots of flavour! Favourite dishes are steamed dumplings, a tandoori mixed grill and I love Spanish croquettas.
What ingredients do you like cooking with the most?
Love working with nuts and spices for flavour and texture. I am experimenting a lot with aubergine at the moment; its such a versatile ingredient.
What restaurant trends have you noted in the food scene of your home town, Brighton?
There are some really great vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Brighton, I seem to notice more and more.
Which food trend do you find the most ridiculous?
Savoury ice creams. I don’t get it and will never eat or make one (intentionally!)
You hold a lot of supper clubs, what influences your dish choices for them?
Its always about the food I love. I am always experimenting. I hate having to whittle my choices down to starter, main and dessert so I now just do small plates so I get a chance to offer lots of different dishes tapas style and give people more in the way of an eating experience.
Finally, what do the next few years hold for you?
I would love to move into food writing and recipe development more but I am honestly really enjoying the diversity of the work I am doing. Opening a deli is definitely something I am thinking about more and more (and of course another book would be great!)
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