Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

The Celebrity Shopping Trolley - Simon Rimmer

The Meat Eating Vegetarian Chef

Simon is the resident chef on ’Something for the Weekend’ on BBC 2 and when I knew that we were going to look into his shopping trolley, I was a bit worried. Firstly, most chefs seem to live on junk food and booze and he not only has a veggie restaurant, but it is also VEGAN! So I was concerned for his two children as well as his own health.

There is no doubt that a good vegetarian diet has some health benefits – lower cholesterol and blood pressure; less heart disease and bowel cancer; fewer problems with other conditions like constipation, IBS and colitis; smaller risk of Type 2 diabetes and obesity. My ideal, however, would be to include some oily fish as the essential omega 3 fats are very hard to get from a totally veggie diet.

But for a vegan it is nearly impossible and I think that parents who bring up children on a vegan diet come pretty close to child abuse!

But, when I got to see Simon’s shopping and eating habits, it was a joy. Finally a chef who really did have the excellent diet so necessary for the long hours and extremely hard work in a professional kitchen.

We seem to have followed much the same path, though I am no chef, just a nutritional consultant who cooks a bit. Granada TV, This Morning, Gloria’s Open House, Channel 5 and UKTV’s Great Food, and our paths have crossed in various Green Rooms and kitchens.

What better for breakfast then Shreddies – with no added salt or sugar and nothing taken away from the whole wheat – or scrambled eggs with whole meal toast and real butter. Protein, fibre, calcium, iron, vitamins A & D and lots of slow release energy.

A good tuna sandwich or bowl of his own veggie soup are both great during a busy time in one of his kitchens – Simon has now opened a second restaurant but this is a meat eaters paradise.

In the evening his healthy choices are chicken curry with brown rice or steak and chips and both supply plenty of essential nutrients and energy. Simon hasn’t said what he cooks his chips in, but I use the new Actifry machine from Tefal and that makes one kilo of fab chips with just a teaspoon of olive or rape seed oil.

The news gets even better with the snacks. Masses of apples, bananas, oranges, pears and any other fruit, plus the occasional chocolate biscuit and Muesli bars. We all know about chocolate biscuits, but watch out for the Muesli bars and read the labels. They are not often as healthy as they sound.

Lots of water, vital in a hot kitchen, plus a few more pints of bitter than he should, are what he enjoys drinking, but at least it is real beer and not cans of chemical enriched froth. Happily Simon has no allergies or intolerances to make life difficult.

His trolley is a bit suspect with three good choices then the beer and cooked meat. Most meat products in supermarkets are preserved with chemicals that are known to be a possible cause of stomach cancer if eaten to excess, any way he’s a chef isn’t he?

I certainly do not consider scones with clotted cream and jam every six months, to be much of a vice, nor steak and chips every two weeks.

But kebabs whenever he’s had a few over the eight could be a serious problem judging by most of the chefs I know. It could be a bit less serious if they were real kebabs of lean meat on a skewer, but you can bet your chefs hat that they are the awful, fat and bug laden Donner kebabs, turning if front of a heater on every high street.


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