Matt O’Callaghan, Grower, Cook & Writer

Welcome Matt O'Callaghan, a long standing pal of Bird: food writer, expert on Sicilian cookery and grower of an Italian allotment in Birmingham. We love Matt's description of the Starling apron from our new collection as 'zusshy,' his memories of sugar mice and passion for Angel Delight.

Matt, what’s your favourite Bird item and what do you love about it? 

It has to be the Starling apron from the new collection - sturdy and a little bit zusshy 

Tell us about your first food memory?

A sugar mouse, eaten with my brother and sister, very early on Christmas Day, sitting in the dark, waiting for my parents to get up

When did you start your journey in the industry? 

I guess, when I became the first boy at my 1980s Catholic Comp, to want to study O-level Home Economics, and the Head and the Church had to be consulted, to see if it was ‘allowed’

What is your go-to staple meal? 

Pasta, peas and bacon, an Anna Del Conte staple, or, as my Italian ex describes it ‘student food’

What made you choose food as a way to make a living?

Being made redundant 

Which 5 ingredients can always be found in your kitchen?

Butter, olive oil, garlic, onions and celery

What is your most favourite project that you’ve worked on in the past five years? 

The current one - with Kaye Winwood Projects - developing a regular supper club of italian food in Birmingham 

Where can people connect with you? (socials/ your kitchen)? 

mangiamangiauk 

What are you working on at the moment? 

An essay about eating snails in Palermo

You’re gifting a cookbook to a good friend, what’s an absolute must-have? 

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child - forensic and brilliant.  Move over Elizabeth David

How do you practice sustainability in the kitchen?

I grow almost all my own fruit and vegetables on a rented allotment.  

What do you listen to when you’re cooking?

Opera and The Kitchen Cabinet

Please share your favourite recipe and why you love it

Butterscotch Angel Delight - add milk and whisk.  Takes me to a happy 1970s place and gives me a sugar and E numbers rush

 

 

Matt O’Callaghan, Grower, Cook & Writer