April Bloomfield's A Girl and Her Pig is out tomorrow, a cookbook as talked about for its fantastic recipes (Bloomfield says "only about ten are complicated") as for its controversial cover ("For anyone who doesn't like it, I really don't know what to say to them"). But a more apropos title for The Spotted Pig, Breslin, and John Dory chef this week might have been A Girl and Her Soup, as Bloomfield has been under the weather with a bad head cold, telling Grub Street, "I don't normally take lots of drugs but I've been living on Dayquil and Nyquil." Read her potentially-medicated musings on shyness, byline-sharing, and bad porridge, straight ahead.
Despite the cold, are you enjoying marketing the book?
There is a lot of PR involved, which is a different part of your brain I think. But I'm looking forward to doing some touring for it, yes.
Does that mean you're getting more comfortable front and center, rather than behind the scenes?
Nah, I'm still shy. Have I grown out of that? Not really. I just try to keep myself grounded. I keep my eye on the ball ... I don't go out after work, I go home. I'm quite a homebody, quite boring ... this was my way of opening up. Writing stuff down is better than talking for some people.
Which recipe in the book is most dear to you?
Probably the porridge. I have a soft spot for porridge, my granddad made fantastic porridge; it's very comforting for me. Bad porridge doesn't make me very happy.
Since they're all your recipes, did part of you resent putting another writer's name, JJ Goode, on the book? Did you consider a ghostwriter?
Oh, no! JJ deserves to be on the book, and we worked really well together. In fact, we'll probably do another project together. JJ said, "Ap, do you mind if I have my name on the cover?" And I said, "JJ, of course!" If you don't ask, you don't get. And what am I going to do? Pretend that I wrote the book? No. We co-wrote it. We did just as much work on it equally. It was teamwork.
And what would you say to those cover-haters?
I love the cover. It's very well suited for me. I didn't think twice about putting a pig on the cover. I work with whole animals every day; I know where they come from, what they've been fed; I know their anatomy really well; I love to use every part of the animal. It's just a part of me.
With all these restaurants, and now the cookbook, is it time to relax?
I don't think I've ever coasted, so, no. I don't think I'll ever do that.