What is SORTED in one sentence?
We’re a genuine bunch of mates who teamed up to run SORTED Food, an online cooking hub that aims to solve the food problems of our audience, and to prove that you can have a bit of fun in the kitchen; cooking doesn’t have to be so serious!
Why do you believe SORTED will be of interest to Imperial?
The SORTED crew have a lot of fun doing what they do. It never feels like work – it’s just messing around in the kitchen with your mates, cooking up simple, tasty grub to share, and we hope this comes across on screen. For that reason the videos are good fun and our current audience finds them pretty entertaining, returning week after week to see what new recipe inspiration they can enjoy.
But beyond that, SORTED provides a service: a compelling library of over 150 video recipes (with more released every week), making up a wide variety of dishes for every occasion. Recipes from all over the world: sweet and savoury, twists on classic favourites, ideas that are perfect to impress or fast mid-week meals for a budget. No matter what cooking experience you currently have, you’ll find the SORTED recipes are dead easy and can allow even the biggest novice to churn out food to be proud of.
How did you get the initial idea?
The whole story kicked off a few years back sat around a pub table as we shared recipes on beer mats. As a trained chef, I was shocked by what my closest friends were eating, so I would share the perfect student grub that was anything other than takeaways and pot noodles.
As a photographer at the time, Barry saw an opportunity to create and publish a cookbook crammed full of my recipes and his creative work that would be perfect for students. A way in which we could share what we loved with a few more people. And we’ve never looked back. We put together a student cookbook (doing all the work ourselves) and then set out to share these recipes and the idea of social cooking with friends.
That’s where the videos started, a chance to share our ideas and philosophy of social cooking with more than just our mates and friends of friends. YouTube became the perfect platform to share new recipes with a larger audience – the world, in fact! It didn’t change what we did... we were pretty much just playing about with mates in the kitchen. Now, our online channels are our focus and week after week we get the recipe requests and food dilemmas of our audience SORTED. Delivering quick, simple and tasty dishes, heavily seasoned with banter.
We would love to have some cooking advice! What do you think are the secrets of cooking good food?
Good food is very subjective. What is good to one person might not be to the liking of another. Which is why I believe a recipe should only ever be a guideline. So many of the SORTED recipes reflect nothing more than a series of steps, which could be applied to your own favourite ingredients. Make it personal. You’ll see this theme cropping up in so much of what SORTED does; recipe ideas that are so simple they work even when a few bits are changed.
Aside from that, try to start with the best ingredients you can afford. Trust me, I’m not talking about expensive filet steak or high-end lobster, what I mean is go for stuff that is seasonal. That way the quality will be better and it’ll be affordable too.
On top of that, club together with mates and cook up a treat. For example, it’s nearly impossible to cook a meal for £2 when you’re cooking alone. But to cater for you and three friends on a budget of £8 is easy! Scale makes good food possible. And on those evenings when you’re cooking on your own, still make several portions and then save the rest as leftovers, either to be frozen or used up the next day.
Which restaurant or café do you recommend in London?
There are so many to choose from! Some of the franchises do offer a great menu and at very reasonable prices. I’m a big fan of Jamie’s Italian, Giraffe and Wagamama for a quick bite to eat. But everybody knows about these.
Some of the best places though are those that need hunting out! Bea’s of Bloomsbury is awesome, as is John Torrode’s Smiths of Smithfield, which can’t be beaten for breakfast! Aside from that I know that there are thousands of restaurants I’ve not yet had the chance to try. So keep your eyes peeled for vouchers and coupons that offer you introductory offers. Some of the best meals I’ve enjoyed over the past six months have been at half price or less. So you end up with a two or three courses of outstanding food for the same price as one or two at a franchise.
When was your last ‘bad experience’ with food?
There is no such thing as a bad food experience in my eyes – only a learning curve. What’s the worst that can happen? If you’re cooking at home and a meal doesn’t quite go to plan, then you’ve learnt for next time, right? Just experiment and if you’re really unsure then why not give it a go it with friends – make it a joint effort.
The biggest chance of suffering a bad experience is when everything is out of your control, like when eating out. We all love dining out and it’s great for inspiration, special occasions or even just when you’re feeling a bit lazy. However, if you can create great, simple, cheap and tasty food at home with your mates, then that has to win every time in my book!
Having said that we’ve all had some clumsy moments, and working in front of cameras when you’re cooking makes for extra trouble! You only have to take a look at some of our outtakes and bloopers to see what I mean!
To find out more about SORTED (and to see some of those bloopers!) pay a visit to sortedfood.com