Ahead of her new restaurant launch, Poke The Bear, we sat down with Georgia Salamat, model, Le Cordon Bleu chef and finalist on BBC1’s Best Home Cook to talk dinner party show-stoppers, her healthy day on a plate and her best tip for budding cooks!
What’s does a typical day-on-a-plate look like for you?
At the minute my days have been 24:7 kitchen based so my routine is slightly out. But normally my day routine is, get up and work our straight away.
Breakfast will either be porridge or granola – I’m obsessed with granola and get a bit carried away end up having about 3 bowls so I try and stick to porridge. Always with berries and nut butter.
Lunch is usually a salad of some form – if I’m out and about I will grab something or order a salad. If I’m in the area I now actually order from my own brand Açai girls – as I have to say our salads are so amazing.
Dinner is a real mix of things from if I’m feeling super adventurous, I might whip up some really exciting recipes, but then other times I’m really tried and just want something super simple. Before I launched the brands, I was super into making fresh pasta and experimenting with different sauces – vongelle or my duck ragu were the winners.
Snack wise – fruit, nuts, smoothies, (more granola)
Are there any recipes that are your fail-safe for busy weeknights?
I love just fresh healthy salads, but being a bit adventurous with them using different roasted veg, grains, and making up different dressings which will really elevate any simple salad and also maintain variety.
When you are looking to impress a guest with a healthy dish, what do you whip up?
I love a shakshuka and it’s super easy and healthy. it also looks super pretty in the middle of the table, and making up a quick flatbread using just yoghurt and flour. It’s a really great mid-week dinner, even for having friends over as it’s an impressively beautiful and tasty dish – but literally super quick and requires very little prep to whip up.
What is your go-to for satisfying your sweet tooth cravings?
I’m addictive to all things nut butter – the mani life deep roasted peanut butter (crunchy of course, only psychos have it smooth) literally should come with a warning label.
But I’m also a huge sweet lover. pic-n-mix is my weakness. Put them in the freezer and thank me later – sweets from the freezer are a GAME CHANGER!
Are there any particular healthy eating habits you try to follow?
I do eat super healthy and clean, but that’s the food I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong a love a pizza and a burger. Generally, Monday-Friday I try and be super healthy and then on the weekends I just eat whatever I want.
What is your one top tip of advice for cooking newbies?
My top tip for anyone is EXPERIMENT and don’t be scared. One of the most important things a chef wears is their confidence. You absolutely WILL mess up and burn things, but that enables you to learn and move forward. Don’t be scared to just get in the kitchen and create. If you are really new, start small and simple and allow your confidence to build from there.
Where did the inspiration for Poke The Bear come from?
I launched my first dark kitchen, the açai girls, during lockdown and it was such a success it spurred me on to look into this more. I wanted to create more recipes using influencers from around the world and this led to the idea of launching a poke brand. Fraser, Calum and I got together, had a few conversations and Poke The Bear was born! I have brought quite a few Asian influences to the recipes but tried to maintain some Hawaiian roots with the charred pineapple and chilli salad and Burnt corn.
What ingredients make up your perfect poke bowl?
For me, my go-to is brown rice and sesame green base, tuna, peanut butter soy sweet potatoes (these things are my favourite thing on the menu), pickled cucumber, spicy avocado and pineapple salsa…. of course, topped with crispy onions, all dressed in the truffle ponzu!