Mark Diacono wins Andre Simon Award

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
02 April, 2015

We were thrilled when Cooked author Mark picked up the prize for best cookery book this year at the Andre Simon awards. We caught up with him afterwards to talk about the win.

What does the long and rich history of the Andre Simon award mean to you?

Since I've been reading food books, that little sticker in the corner that says 'Winner of the Andre Simon Award' has been a guarantee of great writing that goes beyond the recipe, that takes the reader somewhere else. It's the award that any food writer wants to be shortlisted for, and it's such an honour to be join the list of winners.



Are any of your favourite cookery titles past winners?

So many past winners are on my book shelves, real favourites, from Alan Davison and Jane Grigson to Niki Segnit, Hugh FW and Simon Hopkinson, and they have helped turn an inquisitive cook into a better (and more inquisitive) one.



What are the stand-out recipes in Otter Farm for you?

I'm not sure that's for me to judge, but perhaps the warm salad of padron peppers, sugar snaps, cherries and halloumi, the borlottis with mussels, the garlic scape mimosa, medlar sticky toffee pudding, cucumber ice cream, Charlie's mojito.



How does this recognition make you feel about the importance of cookbooks?

I have always believed that food books can change our experience not only of what we eat, but the wider world. The Andre Simon award tends to recognise books that go beyond the jigsaw puzzle of the recipe, that get to the heart of what food, ingredients and the pleasure of cooking is all about. In its widest sense, there is little more important than that.



Can you sum up the message of Otter Farm in one sentence for someone who hasn't seen the book before?

Otter Farm is all about flavour, grown well and enjoyed in season with loved ones.



Try these recipes from Mark's award-winning book

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