Meet the Finalists: Itinerant Tomato

>> Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Continuing our series of finalist interviews, we introduce Emma Jamieson aka Itinerant Epicure and Ben Norum from Blue Tomato who make up Itinerant Tomato.

Itinerant Epicure
Ben Norum by Tiki Chris

What makes you two the perfect NomNomNom pairing?

Itinerant Epicure:
Our shared love of ham-waving, seafood-constructed hats and food-fighting will ensure our culinary machinations will be entertaining, if not edible. My zen aloofness and calm methodical plotting is the yin to Ben's manic, gin-infused, harebrained yang. Whilst Ben is arguably the better cook, I look good wielding a big knife and juggling spice jars and can pontificate loudly on whatever we end up creating in a manner that would sound convincing even to an anteater. We promise to bring South London to the table and stand up for those who shun the inevitable "East End".

Ben Norum: What she said.

What impact do you think social networks and bloggers have had on the world of cooking and/or restaurant reviewing?

Itinerant Epicure: I don't eat out somewhere until I've checked what the bloggers are saying and often source a list of "places to nosh in" via Twitter from dedicated networks of locals, which has resulted in many surprises - most of them amazing, some of them tragic, none of them boring. The internet revolution has made all kinds of food exciting, opening the snotty haute-cuisine world to the masses and bringing it to an accessible level, without compromising its quality. Viva food the 2.0 way!

Ben Norum: One of the best things is that there’s no more a case of one egotistical reviewer making unquestioned statements about a restaurant – good or bad – the web has made everything more democratic. I won’t ever just read one review now, I’ll read three, four or more.

What's your most memorable kitchen disaster?

Itinerant Epicure: Hopefully not Nom Nom Nom 2011... I have been trying to convince one particular couple in Italy who are my dear friends that I can actually cook, I must have invited them to eat at my house about 15 times, always promising them a "divine example of British cuisine" - usually a recipe I have perfected over months - only to have it char to death/collapse/disappear/explode/fall off the plate/fly out the window each and every time the doorbell rang. Never happened with anyone else but them. I am convinced they are cursed. They remain convinced that Brits can't even boil an egg.

Ben Norum: Setting my work surface alight with meths whilst using my food smoker.

If you were marooned on a desert island, what food couldn't you live without?

Itinerant Epicure: Cheese. Glorious, stinky, runny, oozy, washed-rindy, feety, French cheese. Or pata negra.

Ben Norum: Does gin count? Beefeater 24, preferably.

And finally (aside from bribery), what is the special element that will ensure that your team wins?

Itinerant Epicure: Copious amounts of robust wine. Failing that - the ancient Confucian philosophy of "Grin and Bear It".

Ben Norum: If we can't bribe, can we threaten?

Ooooh, the first mention of a geographical divide.  Will Itinerant Tomato take the title home to South London?   Only time (and gin) will tell.


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