Peterhead chef Kenny Smart's recipes inspire us to try home cooking
Peterhead chef Kenny Smart set himself the challenge of getting families cooking and eating together – and he certainly seems to be achieving his aim.
Around six weeks ago, he launched ‘Kenny’s Home Kitchen’ on Facebook, providing easy to follow recipes for family meals, and he’s already built up quite a following.
Recipes such as Minestrone Soup, Toad in the Hole, Chicken Pasta Primavera, Fish Pie, Potato Wedges and Turkey Chilli have all proved popular, as have treats such as Scones, Biscoff Cheesecake and Cinnamon Rolls.
"It went kind of nuts in the first week, I got 500 followers; and I’m up to nearly 1500 now,” said Kenny.
"It’s been really positive, so many people are cooking the recipes and sending me pictures, commenting about how much their families are really enjoying them and getting excited when new recipes come out.
"I’m really glad, that’s why I wanted to do it, to get families to try new food, eat together and cook together.”
Over the last year during lockdown, many chefs have been doing online cook-alongs, but Kenny realised a lot of the recipes were quite fancy.
"I was trying to come up with an angle of my own. It was more to give me something to do as I’ve been on furlough for the last year, along with the rest of the hospitality industry.
"I’ve friends all round Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen, and they’ll text me asking for a recipe for this, or how to make something, they’re not asking how to do fancy food, just normal things, such as wedges, curries etc.
"I suppose it’s like asking a mechanic how to chnge the oil in a car, I’d have no idea but to a mechanic it’s simple; so I was thinking this could be a gap in the market, for good, honest family fare, whether it’s a curry, toad in the hole, or just a nice cake or scones. Just things that people will enjoy and they’ll try and try again, and it will become one of their family’s favourites.
"It’s really great when people adapt and chenge them to create their own recipes.
"I just wanted to share some of my 25 years as a chef, and pass on some of my skills and get people cooking and get them interested in food.”
Kenny’s career has seen him working in four and five star hotels, as well as running Nick Nairn’s cookery school and his own hospitality consultancy business,
Having initially trained at Aberdeen College, he returned to the North-east when he got a job at the Waterside Hotel back in its heyday when it was a four-star, two-rosette establishment.
He had initially planned to spend three months in the North-east before moving to France, but he met his wife and 22 years later, he’s still happily living in Peterhead.
He’s shortly due to start a new role as a development chef, creating the meals you find in supermarkets.
So he’s certainly no stranger to coming up with creative, fine dining dishes.
However, Kenny’s Home Kitchen is designed to make it easy for families to create his recipes.
It’s about cooking from scratch and enjoying family meals that are healthy and tasty.
Every week, he posts easy to follow recipes, using easily sourced ingredients and without the need for any fancy equipment to make.
He hopes his recipes will become firm family favourites that people will go on to enjoy for years to come.
He said: "I wanted it to be that you could walk into a supermarket, and you could get the ingredients without having to go to a specialist shop, or ingredients you haven’t heard of before, or you have to trawl the internet to find them. I wanted it so people could pick up the ingredients with their weekly shop."
As an example, one of his most popular recipes has been Irn-Bru and Sweet Chilli Glazed Sausages.
"This one was actually down to my daughter,” he explained. “The whole school was asked to come up with a Scottish recipe, and everyone was doing the same thingd like Haggis Bon Bons or Stovies, so we thought let’s try to think of something a bit different.
"So Irn-Bru, that’s proper Scottish, and for years I’ve done a whisky and honey glazed sauce, and my daughter loves sweet chilli sauce, so we thought we’d try this and just reduce it down. Once it was done and we put it on the page, it’s been one of the most popular – everyone goes on about the Irn-Bru and Sweet Chilli Sausages!”
Future ideas for Kenny’s Home Kitchen include a series of pre-recorded videos useful tips and simple master classes on things like how to store and use spices, and how to do perfect poached eggs. He’ll start with basic knife skills – what to look for when you buy a knife, how to store it, how to sharpen it, how to cut an onion, how to cut a carrot, just done as a short video.
You can find Kenny’s Home Kitchen at www.facebook.com/kennyshomekitchen.