author of Simon Bryant’s Vegies
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Exeter UK , lived in Devon until coming to South Australia as a kid (twice, my mum couldn’t make up her mind), moved to Melbourne for 10 years in my 20’s for university and returned to Adelaide when I was in my early 30’s.
2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?
12 , I wanted to be taller.
18 , I was an apprentice mechanic (loved motorbikes) but wanted to be an economist (went back to school to complete HSC after mechanics apprenticeship so that I could do a B Ec at Uni)
30, was taking a break from cooking as a push bike courier! Knew I wanted to continue cooking but was a little burnt up at the time.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?
That the Jesus and Mary Chain were musical geniuses.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
That’s a hard one because I am not really a writer, just a chef who scribbled down a few recipes that got published so I will say the three cookbooks that have had the most lasting influence on me are:
Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion
Harold McGhee’s On Food and Cooking
(BBGuru: Sorry Simon, some moron gave you the wrong set of questions)
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a cookbook?
I chose to write a cookbook because when I was a younger chef I could never find a book on vegetables that inspired me. I guess I just wrote the type of book that I would have loved to be able to read and use 20 years ago when I was becoming increasingly interested in veggies.
6. Please tell us about your cookbook…
It’s a cookbook that focuses on cooking veggies. I guess it’s just all my favourite methods of preparing and eating them with tips here and there on selection and some tricks from 25 years of cooking in commercial kitchens.
(BBGuru: here’s the blurb – Simon Bryant’s long-awaited début cookbook is a vibrant, inspiring collection of vegie recipes that will appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Let Simon guide you through the changing seasons, as he shares tales from his vegie patch and brilliant tips for selecting the finest produce. Discover new ways to enjoy your favourite vegies and learn simple cooking techniques to make them really shine.
Simon’s recipes sing with flavour. Comforting dishes such as Sweet potato, peanut and mandarin curry and Beetroot ravioli with roast garlic and lemon-zested chevre and walnuts will warm and nourish during the colder months, while the light, fresh flavours of Lavender and orange broccoli with cous cous and Sugar snaps and capsicum with burnt chilli sambal and basil are perfect for spring and summer.
Vegies effortlessly dispels the myth that vegetarian cooking can’t be daring, original and delicious. )
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
It would make me happy if people just cooked the recipes and enjoyed them, simple.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Will Self, he walks the line between being an incredible wordsmith and completely bonkers at the same time.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I really don’t have any major personal goals , I feel lucky that I can eat well, sleep warm and safe …what more do you really need?
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Well I can say if writing is anything like cooking then it’s one part inspiration, one part natural ability and a SHED load of mindless repetition, practice and refinement. I really don’t put much value on natural ability if there is no tenacity along the way.
Knock backs and criticism are part of life, you need to listen to feedback, take it on board, improve from it but never take it personally. The bottom line is that your work, not YOU is what is being critiqued and that’s a big difference.
If you ever get do a book deal then be VERY NICE to your editor, buy them chocolate, flowers …whatever it takes , they are the people that make you look way better than you really are. The unsung heroes of the writing world if you ask me.
Simon, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French, Korean and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for over twenty-five years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au.