Michelin-trained chef, food influencer and Young Masterchef judge Poppy O’Toole has made it her life’s work to perfect the art of the easy roast potato – and to share her tips for the classic potato with her millions of followers.
The 28-year-old has an impressive 3.5million followers on her TikTok channel, where she shares her favorite food hacks – most recently the ’12 Days of Christmas Potatoes’ series.
With a further 427,000 followers on Instagram, the BBC judge is known for her love of food porn and has also appeared on TV shows such as The Weakest Link.
Poppy O’Toole has 3.5 million followers on Instagram and more than 420,000 on Instagram
But she knows that the roast potato, the star of any roast dinner, is a tough nut to crack — and millions across the country get it wrong. From vegetable oil to marmite, Poppy has unique tips and tricks up her sleeve.
Poppy has now teamed up with MailOnline to share the secrets behind one of the nation’s favorite foods.
The influencer started working in high-end restaurants when she was just 18, ending up an apprenticeship at Purnell’s in Birmingham.
She soon moved to London to pursue her career but lost her job when the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Poppy O’Toole is the self-proclaimed Potato Queen of the cooking world, and she’s putting her Michelin-starred education into action
Poppy said, “It’s safe to say that nailing the perfect roast potato is my life’s mission, and I’m proud to say I’ve cracked it.”
Poppy’s fried potato tips are an eye-catcher for every occasion
That’s when she started making TikTok videos and dedicating time to her Instagram followers and reached 1.5 million TikTok followers within 12 months.
She first went viral with a video explaining how to make McDonald’s-style hash browns.
The self-crowned potato queen told MailOnline: “It’s safe to say that nailing the perfect roast potato has been my life’s work and I’m proud to say I’ve cracked it.”
To put her recipe to the test, Poppy says it’s important to always pre-cook the potatoes before turning them in the oven.
Fill a pan with potatoes and top up with cold water — as the chef explains, “If you immediately drop your potato chunks into boiling water, they’ll start to cook from the outside and give off an uneven cooking — which ends up meaning you don’t get those perfectly fluffy ones.” Potatoes.
Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they fall off the knife stage.
Poppy O’Toole regularly breaks down her fried potato routine for her 3.5million TikTok fans — as well as dozens of other potato hacks that elevate the humble spud
The chef says it’s important to pre-cook the potatoes from cold water, since placing them directly in boiling water will result in uneven cooking
This is an easy hack that anyone can use to check if their potatoes are done in seconds – just stab them with a knife.
Poppy says, “To know your potatoes are done, pierce them with a knife and if they don’t stay on the knife, you’re good to go.”
The third step is “steam drying”. Drain the potatoes with a colander, then set the colander over the pan. Cover with a tea towel and leave on for 10-15 minutes.
After the time is up, Poppy advises tossing the potatoes in the colander: “It means you get all those nice white bits around the potatoes, which match the crispiness everyone loves.”
While you wait for the potatoes to dry, heat the oil in the oven. Poppy usually opts for plain old vegetable oil, but says those looking for something “extra” can use goose fat or beef fat.
If you are looking for an extra hearty kick, you can try to refine your roast with a tablespoon or two of marmite instead of goose lard or beef lard
She also says that one should not hold back on seasoning by liberally salting and peppering the potatoes before cooking them in oil
Poppy says: “Now pour them into pre-heated piping hot oil and cook for 40-50 minutes for the perfect spud.
“I just like it with vegetable oil and salt and pepper galore, but if you’re looking for something extra, try goose fat or beef instead of oil, or even pour a tablespoon or two of marmite over your potatoes before tossing them in add an extra savory kick to the oil.
Marmite might seem a step too far for some, but Poppy’s followers assure us it’s delicious.
In 2021, Poppy released her own recipe book, Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need, in which she includes an entire chapter on how to perfect a Sunday roast.
Poppy has just become a judge on the BBC’s Young Masterchef, which sees young cooking stars compete (pictured: Poppy O’Toole with fellow judge Kerth Gumbs)
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