Alex Mackay, TV chef, author and cookery teacher, chooses his favourite sites.

Alex Mackay is a cook, a teacher, a writer, a cooking with kids enthusiast and a regular on Cookery Television. He is a winner of the Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of the Year and two time nominee. His first book, Cooking in Provence , won a World Cookbook Award. He presents video recipes on Merchant Gourmet and runs the Alex Mackay Cooks cookery classes at Norwich City Football Club

Alex was the Cookery School Director for three years at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons followed by six years at his own cookery school, Le Baou d’Infer in Provence and for a decade, worked alongside Delia Smith at her cookery workshops. Alex’s Cookery School was put in the world top ten by the Sunday Times and Conde Nest Traveler. Alex was a regular on BBC’s Ready Steady Cook and ITV1’s Daily Cooks Challenge. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Jess and sons Jake and James. Alex’s revolutionary new cookbook EVERYBODY EVERYDAY has just been published by Bloomsbury.

Alex says, "This is my selection with my “Cookery Teacher” hat on. The internet’s greatest strength is its ability to stay up to date. I use it to help me find out what fish is sustainable, what to plant and cook when and what I can learn in the ever evolving world of food."

ALEX'S FAVOURITE SITES

The Kids Cookery School - KCS , of which I'm a patron, teaches children about food and how to cook it. Fiona, the principal, and her tiny team, have taught 1500 kids per year for more than a decade and welcome all children without exception. These kids include 8 year olds who have to care for disabled or addicted parents or siblings; 10 year olds with learning problems and 12 year olds with autism, children who are blind or who are from broken homes or attend special needs classes at school. KCS teaches kids to become more independent, to work together and to learn about other cultures through food. The school encourages children to take the skills they learn and share them with their family and friends. There is also a mobile cookery school so that the KCS can get to kids that can’t get to the KCS; this could take the number of kids up to 5000 per year!

Fish Fight - Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's Fish Fight really opened my eyes, if you haven't joined his petition yet, please do. Half of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back dead. I watched Hugh’s programme on TV last year and I still have problems believing what I saw. From one catch, on a relatively small boat, they threw away enough fish to feed 2000 people. Being a cookery teacher and writer, I should know all about what fish to use and to avoid, but I still need help, as it does and will change, there is practical advice for choosing sustainable fish on the site and also on www.msc.org.

Seeds of Italy - I am an enthusiastic gardener but I don’t really know what I am doing. I plant seeds in bursts, mostly at the right time, but not always and I need seeds that are plentiful, germinate well and grow into vegetables that have tons of taste. I had a row of wild rocket planted that I would cover in winter and the bed just kept growing back every year, it also seeded all over the place so that now I have truly wild rocket growing in between my cobble stones and each year, the flavour gets stronger and spicier. Seeds of Italy send you a monthly email to tell you what to plant, this both reminds and motivates me to get out and get planting.

Eat The Seasons - You can check what is in season by month or by ingredient and I often go here when I’m looking for inspiration. The seasons are becoming increasingly muddled and this is a good place to go for guidance. Learning your way around the seasons is both delicious and economical because food is often cheapest when it is most naturally plentiful and in it’s prime.

Local Bookshops and Indie Bound - Two places where the outside world and the web collide harmoniously to help you find the book lovers' shop closest to you. I like these two sites because I love an old fashioned bookshop and a delicious voyage of discovery around its cookery section. I now take my kids to bookshops for their rewards; at three and six, they like to pick up and peruse, put down and pick up another before they choose, just like I did when my dad took me.

Kelly Turkeys - Delia Smith introduced me to Paul Kelly and his delicious turkeys. “His Kellybronze turkeys are the only ones in the world that come from a family business that controls the full life cycle from pure line breeding to delivering at Christmas. The Kelly Family's farming methods are used every step of the way. Paul is the world record holder for both plucking and carving. Continuing the learning theme, Paul has a video showing you the best way to carve a turkey, a technique that also works for chicken or duck.


Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay is published by Bloomsbury. 
£20


8 May 2012