Isaac Carew got his first big job in 2007, cooking with the Gordon Ramsay group but, after being spotted by a model scout, traded the heat of the kitchen for flying around the word to shoot big campaigns for the likes of Hermès and Valentino. At the request of his social media followers, Carew then started his own successful website and YouTube Channel, The Dirty Dishes, and is now working on his first cookbook. Now he’s conquering our TV screens, cooking alongside Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr, for Channel 4’s Tried and Tasted: The Ultimate Shopping List.
What is it that you will be doing on The Ultimate Shopping List?
I am basically Michel Roux Jr’s sidekick. We buy food from different places, cook them, and rate them. Michel Roux is the presenter and I am the chef. We will have a few other guests trying food at our table, which kind of looks like [the conveyor belt] at Yo! Sushi. There are a couple of other presenters that come and go and they basically all taste the food that I will be cooking. Say we have a fish pie from Waitrose, we will also have a fish pie from LIDL, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, or something, and everyone will blindly taste the fish pie and come back with a rating out of 10. The rating scale is taste and looks.
How was the panel chosen?
The panel changes depending on what we’ve got going around to the table, on the food we are cooking. I can’t give away who will be on it though!
What kind of food will be cooked?
All the basics that everyone normally gets at the shop, from British food and roasts to more basic chickens and meats.
How did you get involved in the show?
Michel Roux Jr was going to present the show and came up with the concept and they wanted a right hand man. They actually found out I was a chef through social media, saw what I did, and got in touch with me. It ended with me working with Michel Roux, which was amazing.
What inspired you to start sharing your recipes through your website and YouTube channel The Dirty Dishes?
It all started out with food that I would make for myself and take pictures of and put on Instagram. Everyone kept asking for the recipes so, at the beginning, I would just put the recipes in the Instagram post, but it was really short. Then I created the website. The reason why that has so much content is because it is food that I am making everyday, for my friends or for myself. People, especially home cooks, want simple things, they don’t want to make a meal that takes five hours, like slow cooking.
The Dirty Dishes features a lot of British food and comfort food. Is that intentional?
The reason I call my brand and my book The Dirty Dishes is because everything at the moment is ‘clean eating this, and healthy that’, and I just kind of wanted to step away from that, although my book is [going to have] healthy dishes. I do have salads. All I am really doing is trying to bring the love back to food and not having all these weird combinations put in. Sometimes it’s like, yes this is healthy, but it doesn’t go together. Food needs to taste good as well as look good.
Do you get help with the site or the photos?
It’s a one man show with the website. I got a camera, a few books to study photography, things for the lighting. I use natural light. I do all the writing, photography and layout myself.
What can we expect from your cookbook?
It’s going to be called Isaac Carew’s Dirty Dishes and will be similar to my website with a lot of new recipes I have been working on. It’s meant to be coming out in May 2018. I am actually dyslexic, so having my own book is exciting.
Tried and Tasted: The Ultimate Shopping List airs on Channel 4 on Tuesday 6th June at 8pm.
Words / Estefania Hageman
This Schön online exclusive was produced by
Photography / Yuval Hen
Fashion / Kay Korsh
Talent / Isaac Carew
Grooming / Ben Talbott using Nars & Fudge Professional
Photography Assistant / John Davison
Fashion Assistant / Stanislava Sihelska
Location / Shoreditch Platform