Interview: The Hairy Bikers on life on the road

Si and Dave are currently cooking their way around the UK.

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The Hairy Bikers are, as usual, in jovial spirits.

Known for their love of good food, good beer and a good laugh, Si and Dave have been firm friends since meeting on the set of a TV drama back in 1995, and have been cooking and riding together since. The duo have written over 20 cookbooks together, their latest British Classics celebrating everything that’s great about British cuisine, and featuring classic recipes for everything from prawn cocktails, to Lancashire hotpots and jam roly poly.

The much-loved cooks have been an ever-present on TV screens since the mid 2000s, mixing their love of travel and cooking in shows such as The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook, The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, The Hairy Bikers’ Mississippi Adventure, The Hairy Bikers – Chicken & Eggand most recently in Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure.

Now Si and Dave are taking their boundless enthusiasm for great food onto the stage with their show An Evening with the Hairy Bikers. The show will feature the pair talking about their adventures, with live cooking on stage and lots of audience participation. And it’s all centred around their love of great food.

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We caught up with the cheeky duo ahead of their recent show at Oxford’s New Theatre to find out what fans can expect.

How’s the tour going so far?

Si: We’re loving it! The audiences are great, we’re confident with the show and the feedback has been great.

Dave: A lot of people have thought they’re coming to a cookery demonstration, which it certainly isn’t. The Bikers have been going since 2004, so it’s a bit like a family album, showing them clips and photos and other stuff, then we bring people on stage and cook them dinner and give them beer and wine and we finish with a damn good sing-song.

Si: We also give them loads of stories from behind the scenes of our travels.

And you have Thunder performing at your London date. How are you feeling about that?

Si: Amazing. We’re really chuffed about it.

Dave: We’ve gotten to know them well over the years and we just said to Danny “how’d you fancy playing the Palladium with us?” It’s great to be able to share these things with your mates and they’re such a good live band, especially with the acoustic album they’ve got out now we thought they’d fit in very well. We’re very excited.

Si: And we’re doing a gig at The London Palladium! What a buzz that will be.

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Is there anyone else from the world of music that you’d like to cook for and what would you make for them?

Dave: I’d love to cook for Scorpions. I believe they all love their food. I’d probably start with some scallops, then follow with some Dover sole served with dauphinoise potatoes and some spinach and broccoli. For pudding… actually, I reckon they’re not very pudding gentlemen so just some good cheese and good wine.

Si: I’d like to cook for Bob Segar and The Silver Bullet Band. I think that would be epic.

Dave: One time we did actually get to cook for Meat Loaf. It was on Saturday Kitchen, and we made Meat Loaf a chicken meatloaf. He took it back to America with him on the plane, and then later sent us both a copy of his new album signed “thanks for the meatloaf, love Meat Loaf.”

Your latest book is all about classic British dishes. You travel around the world a lot, has the perception of British food changed over the years?

Si: It has, and I think it’s a great export to be honest. We are known for having a multi-cultural cuisine which is fantastic. There are not many places in the world where you can eat your way around the world like you can in the UK. The quality of all that cuisine is really high and we have in the UK a great palate for that.

On your travels what’s the weirdest food that you’ve come across that you just couldn’t eat?

Dave: We touch upon this in the show, should we say?

Si: You’ll have to come to the show!

Dave: Well put it this way, we tried Mopane worms in Namibia, which are grubs that they sun dry on the roofs of shacks that taste like a cross between rotting beef and a teenagers shoe… and that’s not the weirdest thing we’ve had! If you come to the show you’ll find out that we’ve had worse… way worse.

Is there anywhere you’re desperate to go to that you haven’t yet?

Dave: I’d love to go to Peru, I’d love to see Machu Pichu. The food scene there is spectacular and it’s one to tick off the bucket list.

Si: I’d like to go to Sumatra and the Spice Islands. Just because it’s hot, and there’s lots of spice there! It’s meant to be amazing.

What is one dish that everyone should learn how to cook?

Si: You have to know how to roast a chicken you know? You’ve just gotta know how to do it.

Dave: Or just a simple pasta arrabbiata. Some tomatoes, garlic, chilli and olive oil. It’s the most simple and fastest meal in the world.

What’s one meal that makes you truly happy?

Si: A Frutti di Mare – All the fruits of the sea that we’ve got around the UK. We have some of the best seafood in the world. That truly makes me smile.

Dave: A big platter of sushi and sashimi. I love it. I think the alchemy between the fish and the rice, the ginger and the wasabi done properly is just joyous. With a cold Japanese beer. In fact, I could eat that now.

Catch The Hairy Bikers live on the following dates:

7 March 2019 – St David’s Hall, Cardiff
9 March 2019 – London Palladium
10 March 2019 – The Lowry, Salford Quays
13 March 2019 – Hexagon Theatre
14 March 2019 – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
15 March 2019 – Sheffield City Hall
16 March 2019 – Venue Cymru Theatre, Llandudno
17 March 2019 – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
20 March 2019 – Bath Forum
21 March 2019 – G Live, Guildford
22 March 2019 – Cliffs Pavillion, Southend
23 March 2019 – The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
24 March 2019 – Theatre Royal, Brighton
27 March 2019 – De Montford Hall, Leicester
28 March 2019 – Regent Theatre, Ipswich
29 March 2019 – Marina Theatre, Lowestoft
30 March 2019 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
31 March 2019 – Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne
3 April 2019 – Baths Hall, Scunthorpe
4 April 2019 – Empire, Sunderland
5 April 2019 – Queens Hall, Edinburgh
6 April 2019 – Aberdeen Music Hall
7 April 2019 – Theatre Royal, Glasgow
8 April 2019 – Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline

Limited tickets are available now through