Father’s Day Special: Table Talk with Theo Michaels

He’s kept us cooking during lockdown with the kids over the past three months, wowed Greg and John with dishes inspired by his Greek-Cypriot heritage on MasterChef, is an acclaimed best-selling author and his family-focused inspired recipes have taken him from pop-up to presenting cooking slots on ITV’s This Morning. Following his hugely successful cookbook ‘Orexi’, Theo Michaels returns with Share: Delicious Sharing Boards for Social Dining – an innovative take on themed sharing platters fit for family feasting. Be it brunch or barbecue, an ode to the ocean teaming with fish favourites or a bite from patch to plate with lush, garden inspired veggie delights, SHARE is the perfect go-to cookbook for family who enjoy feasting and grazing come mealtimes. 

Being a dad of three and coming from a large Greek Cypriot family, food is paramount and not only a passion but the backbone of family gathering whether it be casual or celebratory. From home dining to taking a trip down mealtime memory lane when we could eat out,  join us for a culinary jaunt alongside Theo in our Father’s Day Table Talk special…

1. I’d like a table for…
Two please, but if I’ve got to bring the kids make it a table for two and a padded cell for three. We’re a noisy bunch, but a table for my darling wife Anna and our three kids (that as much as I joke, they have me wrapped around their little fingers), Eva 10, Lex 8 and Luca 3.

2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
The only early bird coffee before 9am is if I’m flying to one of our venues in France to head up the food function and I sneak in a coffee before the cab arrives. That’s usually when I end up waking up the house up at 5am when my coffee machine kicks into action and resembles the sound of a small jet plane taking off in our kitchen. Needless to say, the earlier the coffee the less pleased everyone is with me.

3. Best brunch with kids?
Silver Palate restaurant in Harpenden, its one of our regular haunts with the kids at the weekend, I know the owners and even though it is at it’s heart a Greek brasserie they do something for everyone; the kids dive into a stack of pancakes (and if they’re good) milkshakes, I get my light breakfast of pancetta, eggs (they do the best scrambled eggs) roasted tomatoes and my wife nails a smashed avocado on sour dough quicker than you can say “middle-class meal”.

4. Children’s menu must-visits…
The Waffle House in St.Albans, it’s a converted old flour mill, with the stream still running through it. They do a huge selection of waffles and it’s always got a great atmosphere.

5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
I try to do the school run most mornings, but then shoot straight to work so miss out on the morning brunches…I’m still sulking.

6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
As much as I’d like to say we hit the organic, vegan only kibbutz in our sandals, the reality is it’s usually Wagamama or a local brunch spot called Okka in Harpenden (but if we’re being really naughty and it’s just me and the kids once a twice a year we hit the all-you-can-eat Chinese – it’s a total guilty pleasure!

7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
When we’re at home the kids eat what we eat and we’re very conscience about ensuring we all have a healthy diet. But, my advice when dining out with the kids – treat it as fun, relax a little on the rules and enjoy the time together, it goes quicker than you think.

8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
We’re rubbish at getting out together, it’s something we need to try harder at. So it ends up being a take away and nice bottle of wine or occasionally I’ll grab a couple of live lobsters from a supplier and cook us dinner (that’s my wife’s favourite).

9. My earliest food memory…
My mums seafood ragu; I always remember the tentacles of the squid poking out and just thinking it looked like an alien had landed in my plate!

10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
Presuming my wife will read this and I can’t just pick five hot women to have dinner with 🙂 I’d go with Margaret Atwood (I remember studying her books at school), Phoebe Waller-Bridge who I’d love to just chat with, Thomasina Miers from Wahaca (really inspirational story) and I did write my wife, but she just read this and said she didn’t want to come.

Theo has been presenting his creative cooking this way at events of all sizes and styles for some time, his aim to create an interactive and relaxed dining experience that brings people together. Now he brings his unique vision to your home. Downsized to feed six to eight people and easily achievable, these exciting sharing menus are perfect for modern, communal eating. The book opens with a sharing board comprised of bought-in deli-style foods to get you started, with expert pointers on how to create a visually stunning presentation. Next, each of the themed boards is dedicated to one concept and features recipes as well as suggestions for aromatic and edible garnishes to help you create a feast for the eyes, senses and taste buds. Menus include a relaxed brunch, a summer picnic, a harvest celebration, an indulgent feast, treats to satisfy a sweet tooth, plus plenty for vegans, pescatarians and meat-lovers.

Theo Michaels is the author of the new book Share: Delicious Sharing Boards for Social Dining out now from Ryland Peters & Small.

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