Are you struggling to come up with new ideas in the kitchen?

Marcus – The Shoestring Chef is now back home in Leicestershire having been working as a professional chef in New York. He has now set up this channel to help people enjoy cooking good meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

If, like us, you’re looking through your cupboards, unsure what to make or what ingredients to keep in, we caught up with Marcus to find out more.

Where did the idea for The Shoestring Chef come from? 

It came from an idea that my friend Chris had, he put a post on Facebook asking if anyone needed any help when this whole crisis started. I had been working in New York the week before and I had lots of work lined up and then all of a sudden had nothing on. So I said I’d love to see what he had to say. 

So the idea was really to help people out by showing them how to cook really simple meals with not so many ingredients, and really importantly, ingredients they would have in the cupboard and also to encourage people that stick rigidly to their favourite recipes to adapt them to what they have and swap ingredients out for others. Cooking isn’t so difficult and it should be fun not a chore.  

What sort of recipes can people look forward to on there?

There will be loads of different recipes, the way I’m doing it is I’m basically just filming what we are going to have for dinner that night. 

It all had to be done in one go because we don’t have lots of spare ingredients lying about. So I guess at some points it may seem a little fragmented. So I’m going to write up recipes and post them on the Facebook page too. 

Are they suitable for beginners?

There’s nothing difficult at all. Most of the meals need to be a little bit simple because I need to make sure they are suitable for my kids, they are three and six so I’m trying to make them as nutritious and tasty as possible. 

The kids will be helping me out quite a bit because if I don’t involve them they will just be getting under my feet so if they can do the recipes I’m hoping anyone can. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be aimed at kids specifically but I guess it will have a nice family feel to it. 

That said I am hoping to do a hot cross bun recipe where I start my own yeast, from dried fruit, as that’s one of the things I’ve found hard to get at the moment and although that might sound a little daunting it shouldn’t be, it’s just time consuming, but that’s certainly something I now have loads of. 

What are some of your favourite dishes to cook?

I love cooking food with Pacific rim slant in flavours types. Being an Aussie and because I trained in Australia in the late 80s it’s really how the food scene was back then so I’ve always loved crisp, clean, simple flavours. 

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? (that you didn’t cook yourself)

I’m lucky that with my job I get to eat great food all over the world but my favourite food meal is one I get to have once a year.

It’s got to be Christmas lunch. I know that sounds corny but for me, part of the enjoyment of food is the company that it’s shared with. 

What are your main ingredients that you think every house should always have in?

Salt and pepper, seasoning food is really important. I now use a lot less salt than I used to but a sneak it in a little when I think it’s needed. 

Other ingredients I think a kitchen should have is olive oil, flour, milk, eggs, soy sauce and  fresh vegetables, as many different varieties as you can get. 

When all of this is over what’s the first thing you’ll do?

The very first thing will be to take Chris out for a beer because he has been absolutely amazing helping with this! 

The second thing, what ever it is it will involve lots of family and friends.

You can see all of The Shoestring Chef’s recipes and cook along videos via YouTube and sign up via the website