Give eggs a crack with these ideas

Dean Edwards. Picture: PA Photo/Handout.
Dean Edwards. Picture: PA Photo/Handout.

Celebrity chef Dean Edwards is on a mission to prove eggs are more than just a breakfast staple. The former digger driver shares his secret for perfectly-cooked eggs, and reveals how his grandmother inspired his passion for food.

Most of us have had some sort of disaster when cooking eggs - too runny, too rubbery, or too difficult to extract from the bottom of the pan. But for TV chef Dean Edwards, his egg Armageddon came live on air.

The former MasterChef runner-up got into a very sticky situation while showing the nation how to make a tortilla on ITV’s Lorraine show.

“I was panicking a bit, because the pan that was supplied really wasn’t non-stick,” he recalls.

“We had about 10 or 15 seconds where we went to recap and I had to plate the food up and make it look nice and pretty. When it came out, it looked a bit of a dog’s dinner. It tasted better than it looked.”

The blush-inducing incident hasn’t put Edwards off cooking with eggs. In fact, he’s fronting British Lion eggs’ Main Meals In Minutes campaign to help make them a focal point of mealtimes.

“People tend to think inside the box a bit when it comes to eggs - like scrambled eggs or fried eggs at breakfast - but there are so many possibilities. They’re affordable, versatile, and a great way of using up leftovers,” he says.

The key to success, according to the Bristol-based chef, is to avoid overcooking - and invest in a decent non-stick pan.

“As soon as you think they’re ready, pretty much by the time you’ve got them out of the pan, they’re overcooked. So the secret is to take them off the heat just before they’re finally cooked through. That way, they’ll finish their cooking in the pan.”

Edwards was a digger driver before entering the BBC’s MasterChef competition in 2005. He came second on the show, gave up the day job, and went on to carve out a successful career as a celebrity chef.

Edwards, who admits he still pinches himself about his success, credits his South African grandmother, Judith, with instilling his love of cooking.

“My nan used to make an egg curry, it’s one of my favourites. We couldn’t afford lots of meat and it was a way of bulking it out and adding those nutrients and protein without costing a fortune,” he says.

“Food was always a big part of our lives. Our family parties always involved two or three big pots of South African stews and curries, and we were encouraged to help out at an early age.”

Now Edwards, 36, hopes to instil this passion for food in his four-year-old daughter, Indie.

“She’s got an adventurous palette and loves curry, we’ll often go out for an Indian. It’s great to get kids to try new things.

“I let her help me out in the kitchen. She’s more inclined to eat what we cook than if I plonked it on her plate before her. The kitchen’s like a bomb site when she cooks with me, so it’s a bit of a trade off! But it’s my great pleasure in life.”