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Five minutes with Neil Perry

Neil Perry talks to JONES about home cooking and his special affection for the artichoke.

Photograph of Neil Perry in the kitchen by Mark Roper Photography by Mark Roper

How much do you cook at home?

I’m often travelling or working, but I like to cook for my family at least twice a week.

What do you like to cook at home on a night off?

If I had my way, I’d cook mud crab with ginger and shallots every night. Sadly, it’s usually only for special occasions. Popular weeknight meals are grilled chicken, tacos or pasta – simple and easy.

Your most essential piece of kitchen equipment?

A slow juicer or centrifugal juicer. I also use our little Bamix a lot. It’s a handy tool and much easier to wash than a benchtop blender. But my most important piece of equipment is my mortar and pestle. It is the only way to make pesto, grind up spices or make a curry paste.

Most overrated?


Clean up as you go or save it for the end?

I definitely clean up as I go. This lesson is drilled into all chefs from the first day they walk into a kitchen.

Must-have pantry items?

Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, anchovies, chilli flakes.

Your dirty cooking secret?

Tinned food has a place: anchovies, tuna, bonito and sardines and high-quality French peas. I like frozen peas, too. They’re often better than fresh, as peas start to lose their sweetness the moment they’re picked.

Whats your go-to home dish?

Roast chicken cooked in my Big Green Egg (kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue). This barbecue keeps meat succulent and gives a golden colour to the skin.

Tip for the home cook?

Don’t over-complicate things, and shop well. You also need to be organised. Mise en place makes cooking efficient, stress-free and enjoyable.

Interview by Larissa Dubecki

Cook at home in style with these kitchen essentials