Five minutes with… Humayun Hussain

If the Guild’s Facebook Forum is anything to go by, you do lots and lots of cooking. Did you find everything you needed during the lockdown?
I love cooking and have cooked professionally as a guest chef before. The lockdown was tricky. Couldn’t find flour like so many of us. Cooking oil was scarce and it seemed as if shops and supermarkets had also hiked up the prices too! Even buying pasta and rice was sometimes a nightmare as there was none on the shelves!

What is your background as a restaurateur and are you involved in one now?
My background is purely in food and hospitality journalism but along the way so many chefs and restaurants owners who had been reading my work started asking for help and advice over the years, specially when it came to PR and marketing. Then I started offering a consultancy and people kept saying I should open my own restaurant. Not done that yet, but am bang in the midst of raising finance for my London-based Delivery Kitchen business.

How did you come to join the Guild and what if any benefits have you found?
I’ve been a member of the Guild for some years now and it was suggested to me by a food magazine publisher whose publication I was contributing to at the time. He said to me that it would a great source of getting to know food writers and journalists who were in the same field as myself and he was right. For myself, I think that’s something I’ve found to be wonderful and of key benefit of the Guild rather than me taking advantage of other benefits like the Press Pass or the various discounts. I love getting to know other food writers and share the joy and passion of what we all do.

Tell us a little about your cooking style?
My style is one which comes naturally to me as I grew up with it. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan before moving to the UK, but that Pakistani cuisine stayed with me and only to be nurtured further as I was so immersed in food professionally as I grew older plus due to my mother’s failing health, as I was her carer too, I cooked for her and my brother. What I do try and do is to refine my cooking having watched so many chefs operate and also to use as many fresh ingredients wherever possible.

As far as your food writing work is concerned, what are you proudest of in your career?
Ah, now that’s a difficult one! Certainly a few I remember are having for instance my first magazine cover feature and also subsequent ones, cover or otherwise, particularly where people in the hospitality sector commended me for writing a very informative piece. Being able to interview industry ‘icons’ such as celebrated chefs and restaurant owners. Getting to work as an editor on various publications and enjoying being an Inspector for the AA Restaurant Guide.