If I ruled the world: John Torode

Caroline Hutton

John Torode is well known to us as a chef and TV presenter and is the host and judge of MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef. Here's what he'd change if he ruled the world. 

I’d encourage people to take responsibility for themselves

John Torode masterchef
With Masterchef partner Greg Wallace. Image via BBC

I don’t like the blame culture where, if something goes wrong, people look to shift responsibility onto someone or something else.

Things don’t always go according to plan, but moving on from failure is an important part of life—we need to learn from our mistakes and do better the next time.

 

I’d like to see street vendors cooking all over the world

If you travel in Asia and are hungry, you just go to a street vendor and they cook you up something fresh, delicious, quick and cheap. But we have very few and it’s a shame.

When you have to pay 20 percent VAT on turnover above £80,000, it doesn’t leave much to take home.

So, to encourage young entrepreneurs and chefs to get out there and do something exciting, I’d make street food VAT-free.

 

Basic survival skills would be taught at school

John Torode
Image via Good Cornwall Guide

I’m not talking wilderness skills but how to iron, boil an egg and cook a roast dinner. If you can look after yourself in your own home then you’re on the road to independence.

I’d also give every young person going to university a large Le Creuset pot and a decent cooking knife. Learning how to cook one-pot dishes makes you a popular housemate, and you can eat the leftovers the next day.

 

I’d change motorists’ attitude to cyclists

And cyclists’ attitude to motorists. As an enthusiastic cyclist, I can tell you that there’s a tension out there on the roads that’s causing animosity and it’s really dangerous. W

e should be able to cycle to and from work and use pedal power to get around; it’s the perfect form of transport. But there needs to be more courtesy.

In Denmark, cyclists cruise along calmly on big upright bikes in their work clothes and everyone seems to get on nicely. Here, half the cyclists dress like they’re in the Tour de France and it’s become a kind of war zone on the roads. I’d put cycle paths in all our major cities.

 

There would be shops dedicated to selling avocados 

John Torode
Image via My Kind of Food

How many times have you taken avocados home only to find that they’ve been squeezed so often they’re all bruised and inedible? But they’re such a wonderful food if treated well.

Opening up a perfectly ripe avocado and pouring a bit of vinaigrette into the middle doesn’t require a plate or any packaging and makes a great healthy snack.

 

Coffee would be served in normal-size cups

I’m not a coffee snob, but I believe in respecting the long and complicated process that the beans have gone through before they’re ready for us to enjoy.

Coffee is a treat and should never be served in cups big enough to be hats. If you want a drink that’s got a swimming pool’s worth of water and milk in it, then have some tea.

 

Every family would enjoy a leisurely brunch together at the weekend

John Torode cooking
Cooking on Masterchef. Image via Clara Molden

One of the reasons I’ve dedicated a whole section in my new cookbook to brunch is that, with the busy lives we live, I appreciate that Sunday lunch isn’t always possible. But brunch is the perfect alternative.

Mobile phones should be put away for a couple of hours and everyone can cook together—my nine-year-old daughter makes a delicious blueberry pancake! And wouldn’t it be great if we always made sure someone over the age of 60 was there to enjoy it too?

 

I’d remind people that good-quality food goes a long way 

If you buy a cheap chicken, it shrinks to nothing because it’s full of water. If you can afford to spend a little bit more on decent food, you’re going to get a lot more out of it in the end.