Vick Hope: ‘In Cambridge I succeeded like Nigella just because I could make noodles’ | Radio 1


My mother did Zoom masterclasses for the family during the pandemic. I had never cooked Nigerian food before, ever. She would send us the ingredient list at the start of the week, then wherever we were, we would cook and then eat together. I learned all of these dishes that I probably should have learned growing up. I’m really excited to have dinners again so I can display my Jollof rice.

It was the survival of the fittest in our home. My three brothers are 6ft 7in and they eat so much. We used to organize competitions around the table. Like when you roast a chicken, we would take turns seeing who could suck the spinal cord in one go. And anyone could be rewarded by getting the chicken feet. Which was a delight. If we had a whole fish, we would fight for the head. At I am a celebrity they say, “Oh, you must eat a fish eye,” and they all gag. In our home, we fought for fishy eyes!

My mom and dad make a great team in the kitchen. Growing up, mum made Nigerian food and my dad brought some pretty good dishes of classic British food to the table. They always told us we had to experiment and I really appreciate that they instilled that mentality. Because that’s what makes life exciting. It ended up with some pretty severe diarrhea on vacation as well, but listen, you do what you have to do.

My dad is really an amateur and many of his hobbies are culinary. He began to bake a little bread, he also began to vacuum. He went through a phase where he really started to heal. He biltong in a sort of dehydration chamber.

I had cooked more than most when i got to university. One thing about Cambridge: the smartest people in the world, but very, very limited practical skills. So I was successful like Nigella, just because I could cook breakfast or make noodles.

Most exciting food I have had was when I went to live in Argentina. There was this boom during the Peruvian-Japanese fusion era and I remember thinking, “This is it. I died and I went to heaven. These flavors go so well: tropical fruits with coriander, peppers and zest and citrus. Looks like I’m a snob but it’s really good. When I came back from Argentina, Peruvian-Japanese fusion became my thing. And everyone was like, “Yeah, alright, alright.”

The main advice Nick Grimshaw suggested that I and Jordan North take over the Radio 1 driving time show was to watch out for a hangover.. He had done the breakfast show, and I know from experience that breakfast is a tough change. But he said that rather than ending the hangover in the morning, we simmer in it all day. But Nick is a real celebrity, so maybe he’s talking about going a step further than Jordan or that I’m planning on doing it. We’ll see.

The best meal of my life was Few years ago, when my brother Theo, who lived in Australia, came home and surprised my parents. It was at Rudie’s in Dalston, which is sadly no longer there, but it was that Caribbean restaurant with the best cocktails, the best rum punch, those amazing massive jerk platters and plenty of rice and peas. My whole family was there, and Theo dressed like an old man and hobbled and pretended to trip over my mother’s chair. She went to help him and said, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay? ”Then she realized it was my brother and she just started screaming and bawling. It was so happy and everyone was crying.

My favorite things

Food
Would it be wrong to say garlic? It’s not really a food, but I just think it’s all better with it. Ditto for salt, pepper, chili and cilantro. Put them with anything and it’s amplified, it’s high.

To drink
It’s red wine. And I know it is. But it doesn’t do me good. As I got older, I felt the hangover from red wine more intensely, almost every day. However, that only draws a line under the day, it’s nice to hold. So I have to say a malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.

Restaurant
In Ibiza there is a fish hut that sits on top of a steep rock face, a cliff, just above Talamanca beach. It’s not easy to find and you have to do a bit of climbing to get there. They cook on oil stoves, but the food is amazing and the setting is magical. Sometimes I think, “If I died now, I wouldn’t mind because this is Heaven.”

Dish to do
If I get good fresh tuna or salmon, I like to make ceviche: really tasty, explosive, lots of cilantro, chili, citrus. And then serve it in tiny little baby gemstone cups.

Vick Hope presents BBC Radio 1 Drivetime with Jordan North Monday to Thursday 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

About Dawn Valle

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