About

‘Come over here,Uncle Matt,’ said my nephew Richard. ‘You cook dinner and I’ll introduce you to the blogosphere and twitter and other 21st century forms of communication.’

I did and he did, and this is the proof.

Call me greedy, but my blog will be entirely about food,  the food I come across every day, and how I come across it; the food I eat and the places in which I eat it; the food I cook, and why I cook it;  ingredients, the people who produce the ingredients and the world they produce it in and any other matters that spring to mind. There’ll be reviews of restaurants and conversations with chefs. There’ll be recipes and profiles of the people who produce the ingredients for the recipes. And there’ll be blogs about the world they produce it in and any other matters that spring to mind.

To adapt the sayings of the great Bill Shankly, food isn’t a matter of life or death. It’s more important than that. We all have to eat, once, twice, three or even more times a day, so we might as well get as much pleasure out of it it as we can. It’s not about health. It’s not about what you ought to do. It’s not about some up-your-bum, navel-gazing exclusivity. It’s mostly about pleasure and fun. Or should be. Generally speaking, food is far too important to be taken seriously, but just occasionally you do. So I’ll take it any way it comes, and that’s how I’ll write about it.

Why should you want to read it?

Hmm. Well, think  of this blog as a box of chocolates. Some people like soft centers and some hard. Some like marzipan beneath the glossy coating and others nuts. There are truffles and violet creams, mint and toffee. I hope that anyone who is interested in food, cooking, shopping, eating in and out, and anyone who thinks about the wider context of food production, even growing their own, I hope will find something of interest. A lifetime of eating, thinking about eating, dreaming about eating and talking about eating goes into each entry.

[Incidentally, my sister Elizabeth, takes the credit for the photo above]

Pedigree

Posted on January 31, 2011 by Matt

I’ve  been a keen cook ever since I made fudge under the watchful eye of my granny on wet Saturday afternoons. For twenty years I worked as a copywriter and creative director for a variety of advertising agencies. It was a perfect business for someone as naturally idle as myself and a great way to educate your palate at someone else’s expense.

In 1986 by sheer good fortune I was asked to write a column about food in the Financial Times Saturday Review. In 1989 I shook the dust of advertising off my feet when Alan Rusbridger suggested I become Food & Drink Editor of The Guardian, a position I happily occupied for seventeen years.

I also wrote a cookery column for the Illustrated London News for one year, and another for  Esquire for five years. Over the years I’ve also done a fair bit of scribbling for Vanity Fair, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph, Business, Country Living, Country Homes & Interiors, Decanter, The Field, ES Magazine, Cuisine et Vins de France, Bon Appetit, Eat, Waitrose Food Illustrated, Lonely Planet and Jamie’s Magazine and other publications.

I was Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year  and Restaurateurs’ Writer of the Year in 1991, and Glenfiddich Restaurant Writer of the Year in 1992, and Glendfiddich Cookery Writer of the Year in 2005 and was awarded the Premio Antica Corte Pallavicina in 2008 for services supporting English and Italian food producers.

I edited the Guardian Sausage Directory in 1992.  In 1998 I published Rhubarb & Black Pudding (Fourth Estate), a book about the Lancastrian chef, Paul Heathcote and the Ribble Valley.  Eating Up Italy (Fourth Estate), a book about Italians and their food, based on a prolonged trip on a Vespa from the tip of Southern Italy to Turin,  was the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year in 2005. My most recent book, an account of my gastronomic adventures in Sicily, Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons (Ebury Press) won the Premio Sicilia Madre Mediterranea in 2009. I took the photograph at the head of Fort on Food  on that trip. It’s of Da Michele, a fish barbecue stall, in a night market in Palermo.

Rather to my surprise, and the utter astonishment of my family, I graduated to television first with a series called Greatest Dishes in the World (Sky; 2005). Then came  The Forager’s Field Guide (ITV; 2005). For a brief, golden two and a half years I was one of the presenters of the high cult Market Kitchen (Good Food Channel).  Currently I’m one of the judges The Great British Menu (BBC2; 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) .

And that’s where I am today.

Il Cavaliere della Strada

32 Responses to About

  1. Lizzie says:

    Photographer’s credit, please (lol). Good blog, Matt. The world must know of it.

  2. I was really glad to find your post About | Fort on Food.

  3. I was happy to read your post on About | Fort on Food.

  4. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  5. Hello There. I found your blog using Google. This is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  6. Only wanna comment that you have a very nice web site , I enjoy the style and design it really stands out.

  7. some genuinely nice and useful info on this web site , besides I think the layout has wonderful features.

  8. Greetings from Frankfurt!

    What a wonderful blog Matthew! Living in Germany, I stumbled upon Fort on Food purely by chance today… and love it! Can’t wait to get your book Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons, being Sicilian myself!

    In any case, a big thumbs up from an avid hobby cook and newly found fan!

    Would be thrilled to hear what you think of my blog btw!

    best regards

    Francesco Strazzanti

  9. Marc Sheldon says:

    Hi Matt,

    If you are ever around the Sheffield area we would love you to call in and have some food in either The Milestone or our new site The Wig & Pen. Let us know if you’re around.

    Cheers,

    Marc

  10. I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this fantastic read!! My partner and i definitely enjoying every bit of it and that i have you book marked to check out fresh stuff you blog post.

  11. Avery Suss says:

    I like this web site very much, Its a real nice post to read and get information.

  12. Myesha Bills says:

    Some truly nice and useful info on this site, too I think the style has great features.

  13. Some genuinely interesting points you have written. Assisted me a lot, just what I was searching for : D.

  14. As I website owner I think the subject material here is very wonderful, thanks for your efforts.

  15. James Bowles says:

    Matt I just love the picture of the Vespa! and if your hosting a party in London and need a ‘wandering’ oyster shucker let me know. Oystermeister.com

  16. cut the rope says:

    I agree with your About | Fort on Food, fantastic post.

  17. Hi Matt, I have a foodie question! Do you possibly have an email address I could send it to? I’ve put my email in the form so if you can drop me a line that would be fantastic!

    Thanks :)

  18. We wish to thank you once more for the stunning ideas you gave Janet when preparing a post-graduate research and also, most importantly, pertaining to providing the many ideas in a single blog post. Provided we had been aware of your web site a year ago, we would have been rescued from the needless measures we were participating in. Thanks to you.

  19. Issac Maez says:

    Hola! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  20. Bernard Tyson says:

    i have been following you for years in the Guardian and just when i was to send you a query , you move on !!!

    i am trying to find a recipe for ice cream wafers , surprisingly i can find none on the internet .

    any suggestions ?

    bernard

  21. Sarah Drinkwater says:

    Hi Matt,

    Like your piece on leaving the Guardian – hope there are many more honest food posts to come! I work for Google and we have a foodie event coming up I’d like to invite you to – I’ve put my email in the form so do get in touch if you’re interested at all.

    Thanks & happy new year,

    Sarah

  22. billnanson says:

    Get your nephew to add the akismet plugin to remove useless comment spam – I get over 100 per day – you will too!

    Look forward to your writings
    Best!

  23. About | Fort on Food I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about About | Fort on Food Best Regards Lisa Andy

  24. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, wonderful blog!

  25. I am an American just discovering your work – what a pleasure! Great musings and solid info.

  26. Chris Bates says:

    Followed your blog for a few months now and enjoying the experience. Trust you have a good time in the Cape and you have been taken to some good wine estates other than the usual (KWV and Nederburg!) where the fare is awesome.

  27. Good Day Matthew just a quick line to say thanks for taking time out to have a quick chat yesterday at Reading Farmers Market, and hope that you enjoyed your visit.

    John Rawlinson
    Manager Reading Farmers Market

  28. click says:

    Just discovered this site through Yahoo, what a way to brighten up my day!

  29. Laoise says:

    Delicious website, love the kitchen queries section, I too have the same haunting queries about sesame seeds and aubergines! Thank you! I look forward to continuing to learn more, especially restaurant reviews. Thank you!

  30. Vinay says:

    Hi Matt
    I’ve really enjoyed reading both Eating Up Italy, and Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons. Have you any plans to write more travel/food books? If so, when’s the next one due out?
    Many thanks
    Vinay

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