Jonny Ross, founder of Jonny Ross Consultancy in Leeds, talks about his passion for food.
My passion is food. I love it, not just the eating of it, but everything that goes into making a good meal. From planning the menu to the preparation to the cooking, the more creative I can be, the better.
It all stems from my childhood as part of a close-knit Jewish family in Liverpool.
Every week, my mum, dad, two sisters and myself would descend upon my grandma’s house along with aunts, uncles and cousins for a traditional Friday night meal.
There would be 13 of us in total and we would be served course after course – to start it would always be chicken soup followed by chopped liver then egg and onion and the piece de resistance, grandma’s roast chicken served with potato kugel and numerous vegetables.
For dessert, we would have grandma’s home-made lockshen pudding, apple pie and ice-cream – I can still taste it now.
Sometimes I would be in pain because of the amount I ate – there were no boundaries and to be honest, that is the reason why I am like I am today.
Those evenings form some of my fondest memories and have definitely shaped me as a person.
I enjoy eating food but it’s not just the eating, it is the whole sense that it brings family and friends together.
Today, Sunday lunchtimes remind me of those times as this is when I sit down with my partner Charley and our children to enjoy bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and egg and onion – traditional Jewish staples.
I really enjoy replicating this sense of togetherness for my family as it takes me back to when I was a young boy.
From a young age, I used to bake very regularly with my mum and sisters. I remember one time we went strawberry picking and made so much jam it was like being in a factory!
As I get older, I find myself more and more in the kitchen dabbling with ingredients.
I will have a go at anything but particularly enjoy challenging myself and making things that require a lot of thought.
When I cook, I literally use every piece of equipment available. I am very pedantic and I have been known to take the whole day off work so I can make the perfect three-course meal.
Each course has to be special and I love combining different flavours. And, of course, I always make more than I actually need.
My specialities include pea soup, followed by moussaka and then finished off by chocolate cake and ice-cream. In terms of cooking traditional Jewish food, I love making matzi brei – a combination of matzo crackers and egg mixed together and fried.
For me, cooking allows me to connect with my childhood. It brings a smile to my face trying to replicate the good times I had as a young boy at family meals.
It is also symbolic of my heritage which is something I like to share with others.