Orlando Gough is the sort of cook who can, apparently effortlessly, produce a delicious three course meal for twelve people while all those people are in his kitchen, drinking copious wine and talking loudly. And he can do it while joining in the conversation. Cooking has become second nature to him and is inseparable, in his world, from a relaxed conviviality. It’s cooking to nourish both body and soul.
He’s also a cook of distinct character. His recipes might stem from Sussex or from the Levant but, knowing him as I do, I think I could recognise all of them as his. That’s not, of course, that they taste the same as each other but that his cooking has its own handwriting: not fussy, not parading itself but wide ranging, heartwarming – and very tasty. He’s the epitome of a good home cook and a man entirely at ease with himself in the kitchen.
Other than that? He’s a remarkable composer, a great harnesser of the human voice in all its wonderful manifestations. He’s clever – double first in maths from Oxford. He’s the good parent, with his wife Jo, of Daniel and Milo – and here I suppose I must declare an interest: the four of them are among my favourite people in the world. I hope this doesn’t throw into question all I’ve written above. It shouldn’t – I’ve spent very many happy evenings in many different locations enjoying Orlando’s meals. I’m very happy now to be able to provide the opportunity for you to enjoy them too.
James Seaton, Toast. 18.10.12.