Joey from Friends may not share food, but the rest of us are getting much better at it – in fact, sharing board, plates and platters have never been more popular. And no one knows this better than Theo A. Michaels, a chef who’s made hundreds of them in recent years.
‘It’s an awe-inspiring moment when I see guests approaching a sharing table for the first time,’ he says. ‘It’s truly interactive: they want to explore, to hunt for their food among all the tempting dishes available, take hold of their edible loot – it’s the same reaction I see in my kids when they spot a pick’n’mix!’
It’s this energy that’s channeled in his new book, Share, which centres on delicious food presented for maximum visual appeal and easy access for all, like this spicy chicken schwarma. After all, even if you’re not a professional catering for a crowd, dishes made with sharing in mind will always bring people together.
‘Ultimately that’s what motivates me and what is at the very heart of all the food I create – a desire to share delicious food with my family and friends, spend quality time together, have a laugh and create experiences and memories that will live on, not end the minute you leave the dining table,’ Theo says.
4 recipes from Theo Michaels’ new book Share
Strips of charred aubergine are wrapped around a host of tastes and textures that will keep you coming back for more. They do tend to bring out a greedy streak in most people so make plenty.
A homemade Scotch egg is a wonderful thing and these are inspired by a Greek delicacy, koupes. I lace the meat with warming cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and a little lemon zest to keep things vibrant, and instead of breadcrumbs they have a crunchy bulgur wheat coating. For me, a rich variation on a Romesco sauce is the go-to condiment – slather it over the eggs or halve them and use it as a dip.
My chicken shawarma is scented with allspice and smoked paprika and marinated in a vibrant yogurt mixture, bringing it all to the table for your gastronomic enjoyment! Using chicken thighs keeps the chicken moist and succulent, and grilling it this way gives you that smoky charring reminiscent of street food. Serve in gyro flatbreads with fresh salad accompaniments and Greek yogurt on the side, for everyone to help themselves as part of your meze board.
This is a great way to use up chocolate, especially after Easter! Essentially, chocolate tablet is melted chocolate poured onto baking parchment and left to set. But the secret is what you add to it. Here, I’ve gone with what I enjoy– pistachios, dried cherries and rose petals, but you can top it with whatever you fancy: peanuts, dried cranberries, marshmallows, cookie crumbs, even chilli/hot red pepper flakes, the list is endless.
Recipes from Share: Delicious Sharing Boards for Social Dining by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small, price £16.99.