Alison Roman reveals her favourite dishes and cooking tips

Alison Roman with a roast chicken from her upcoming cookbook Nothing Fancy.
Alison Roman with a roast chicken from her upcoming cookbook Nothing Fancy. Photo: Michael Graydon


Good Food Magazine's new recipe columnist, Alison Roman, is known for her achievable yet addictive recipes, signature twists on the classics and killer aesthetic. Roman, who lives in New York, is the best-selling author of Dining In, a columnist for the New York Times and Bon Appetit magazine ... and a hater of avocados.

My new favourite hero ingredient

Gochujang (a red Korean chilli paste available from Asian grocers). It's sweet, salty, fermented and absolutely delicious. I use it like tomato or harissa paste, either to boost stews or sauces or to rub on meats before roasting. A little goes a long way and a tub of the stuff will last an eternity.

I can't live without...

Lemons. I'd choose them over vinegar or any other acid any day. I love their juice and zest, of course, and I also have a habit of throwing whole slices into a pan full of chicken fat or scattered on vegetables as they roast in the oven. Lemon is almost always the answer to the question "what does this dish need?"

Alison Roman.
Alison Roman. Photo: Michael Graydon

Five things in my fridge

Yuzu kosho (a Japanese condiment made from chilli peppers, yuzu peel and salt, which is then allowed to ferment), capers, parmesan, cottage cheese, butter.

I'm embarrassed for you to see but I'll show you ...


All of the things I'm hoarding in my pantry that are past their prime but I can't bring myself to throw away. I love to bring spices, beans, chillies, tinned fish and other ingredients back from my travels, but become sentimentally attached to them so never actually want to use them up.

Easiest meal to impress

Roast chicken. It's the least fussy, most delicious thing you can make if you're trying to win someone's affection. Stuff it with lemons, sprinkle with chilli flakes, maybe a few anchovies or tomatoes... it's perfect.

Roman's pantry staples.
Roman's pantry staples. Photo: Michael Graydon

My secret to cooking a perfect steak

Buying a thick (at least five centimetres) bone-in steak with a good fat cap, seasoning with salt as far in advance as possible, a good cast iron pan and patience. And always finish with a knob of butter and flaky sea salt.

Go-to late-night meal

If I'm eating at midnight, it's probably because I've been drinking, so honestly anything goes. Pasta with tomato sauce, popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast, nibbles of parmesan cheese. Mint'n'chip ice-cream if I've got it (I've probably got it).

You'll never catch me with an…

Avocado! Sorry, but I just do not see the fuss over this ingredient. What does an avocado taste like? I can't answer that because unless it's assaulted with an ungodly amount of lemon or lime, it tastes like nothing. If I never ate another avocado for the rest of my life, it would still be too soon. I can't wait for the rest of the world to agree with me.

Alison Roman's new book, Nothing Fancy, is out in November.