Known to most of the internet as Andy Cooks — meet the classically trained chef that had to teach himself how to be a better home cook, taking millions of followers along on the journey.
Before his ascent to internet fame, Andy Hearnden originally put an apron on at age 3 and never took it off. His career led him to cook in kitchens around the world, spanning restaurants in Auckland, London, Singapore and Melbourne where he honed his culinary skills over two decades.
And then his story took a turn that will resonate with many, the Covid-19 pandemic left him out of work. But Andy saw this as an opportunity to rediscover the art of home cooking, documenting his journey authentically and sharing it with his 13-million strong internet following.
To celebrate the launch of Andy's Food For Everyone poster, we sat down with the chef and got to know him better.
Can you take us through an average day on your plate?
I eat the same thing for breakfast every day (so it’s one less recipe decision I have to make) which is basic oats with blueberries. Lunch is usually whatever I’m making for a video on my channels. Dinner is salad and protein because we generally eat heavy at lunch, and a bowl of ice cream to finish.
What is one of your happiest food memories?
It’s the dish in the poster, eating Nanna’s chicken à la king. I remember eating this dish many times at her house. We would sit down for a proper family meal, the table was set, Nanna would be all dressed up, and we’d sit and eat until all the food was gone.
What do you cook for the people you love?
I love to cook big share-style food for friends and family with protein, salads and sides. Everyone sits around and fills their plate with whatever is on the table. It always creates good conversation and it’s just the way I’ve always liked to eat
What sort of food did you eat growing up?
Mainly meat and three veg - it was simple food that was cooked really well. We also had a lot of home baking. My Mum’s family is Dutch, so I had some great Dutch desserts throughout my childhood.
What’s the first thing you remember cooking?
I think it was a steak with mushroom sauce with boiled chat potatoes and an apple crumble that I made in home economics at school. I think that’s what really drove home that I wanted to be a chef. I didn’t stay in school much longer after that and enrolled myself into culinary school.