Meet the Judges: Rosalind Rathouse

>> Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Leading up to Nom Nom Nom 2012, we've been getting to know our judges. Today we meet Cookery School’s principal, Rosalind Rathouse, who's worked as a professional cook, run her own cookery business and taught cookery to both adults and children for many years.

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

I think that they are certainly popularising cooking and the various platforms are a fantastic way for keen cooks to connect. There is a fair amount of sensible stuff [as well as some not such good stuff] written.

What will you be looking for in the contestants during Nom Nom Nom?

Food that tastes delicious and that retains the integrity of the ingredients. Ingredients have to be seasonal and as local as possible although this is not always possible, particularly if one is cooking food from another region of the world. With Nom Nom Nom being an Olympian one this time round, we will of course be flexible on the latter.

What advice would you give to the entrants of Nom Nom Nom?

Keep you food as simple and straightforward as possible. Do not overgarnish. Make sure that you taste the finished product and trust yourselves to produce a good meal.

How important are fair-trade, local sourced and organic products to you and your work?

At Cookery School they are central to our ideology. We start with beautiful ingredients - as much of it being organic as possible - that are sourced as locally as they can be and delicious food seems to follow!

What exciting project are you working on right now?

We are planning our first cook's certificate course which will run for six week from February 2013. It will incorporate all the courses that we presently run along with WSET (wine), Food Hygiene and other qualifications and qualify those taking it to work as chalet or boat cooks as well as doing catering jobs. We do a number of notable events where cooking is used as a training tool and we are currently looking forward to our sixth session for the African Leadership Institute. It is an incredible organisation and we are proud to have been involved since its inception.

Can you tell us about a memorable disaster in the kitchen?

Reheating frozen 'Spanish Rice' using a pressure cooker in the 60s. The result was a mushy soup of rice, peppers, tomatoes and fried onions. I learnt early not to admit to kitchen disasters and served it up as a 'rice stew!' The ingredients were good so the taste was fine but the texture ghastly. My husband recognised it and did not have any but our visiting friend loved it so much that he ended up eating the lot from the serving bowl with a spoon after requesting seconds and thirds!

If you could host the ultimate dinner party who would you invite?

It would be an odd one and features deceased and living cooks and chefs : Robert Carrier whose coffee table books introduced me in far flung South Africa to world cuisine and influenced me as a young girl learning to cook; Elizabeth David; Jane Grigson, Claudia Roden and Alice Waters along with the likes of Mark Hix, Fergus Henderson, Sam and Sam Clarke, Tom Pemberton and Jacob Kennedy as they have the courage to produce food in London that is not messed about and tastes wonderful whilst reflecting the values that I hold dear.

Which ingredient can you not live without (pantry goods excluded)?

Tomatoes - best of all fresh but happy to have them dried, tinned or pureed.

What is your best cooking tip?

A light touch when making scones, muffins and pancakes. I cringe as I watch chefs mixing and overmixing because I know that the toughest goodies will emerge. Barely mixing is the key to melt in the mouth baked 'goods'. Also they have to be eaten freshly made with beautiful butter, cream and homemade jam.

For more details about Rosalind and Cookery School, visit


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About Nom Nom Nom

Now in its fifth year, Nom Nom Nom is a MasterChef style competition giving the internet's finest bloggers, food photographers and food writers the chance to compete against each other in a professional kitchen. To find out more click here

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