We took the opportunity to catch up with Si King, one half of the The Hairy Bikers, on their student days, tips on getting the perfect job, and how to avoid a hangover!
We understand Dave worked as a furnace man while he was a student – how did that come about?
It came about because it was a summer job that Dave took on and he was working with his local community at the furnaces. He was there to clean out so it was a pretty dirty job but it’s important to earn some money whilst you are a student. Nowadays, with students leaving university with so much debt, it’s even more important than ever.
You both seem to have moved effortlessly from career to career, any tips for students who are facing a competitive jobs market?
The problem nowadays for students is many go from school and college into spending 3-4 years studying at university. Then, when they go to apply for a job, they are asked what experience they have! For this reason, I think what is always a good idea is offering to volunteer. I understand this isn’t for everyone but my advice to students is to tap into any network that your friends or parents have and offer to help out. The great thing about volunteering is you only sign up to what you want to do and what you can contribute, be that just a few hours a week or a couple of weekends a months, for example.
Do you think that travelling is more important that studying?
I actually think they go hand in hand. Travelling is always going to embellish your studies. If you are privileged enough to be able to do it and have the financial resources at your disposal, then I would say go, it broadens your horizons. I have numerous friends who have travelled; some have even worked and travelled which is another great way of getting around and seeing the world we live in. Dave and I have been around the world two and half times and are still discovering new things. Whilst it takes you out of your comfort zone, it’s massive diversity in culture, cuisine, language, geography, and culture, is truly mind blowing. Education is about a tool for life and travel is about sharpening that tool. It’s invaluable in my view.
Any tips for students cooking on a tight budget?
My suggestion would be to research when and where your local market is. They have little overheads meaning they can keep the cost of produce low, and the quality of ingredient is always far greater.
What would you recommend as a cheap, but tasty student meal?
Ok, so this is a really really simple dish using lentils, the perfect blend of carbohydrate and protein. All you do is take a quarter of a pack of red lentils, grate 2 carrots into them, a teaspoon of ground cumin and then add hot vegetable or chicken stock with salt and pepper. Cook away on the hob until the lentils are soft and form a soup.
In another pan, chop up an onion and fry with a teaspoon of ground coriander, wait until the onion is nice and golden and caramelised, add a little salt. Spoon the lentil soup into a bowl, then add your fried onion on top with a big dollop of harissa. Delicious!
Any staple ingredients students should be looking to take back to Uni with them?
The main staple ingredients should be rice, pulses (lentils, beans etc) stock cubes, salt and pepper and then milk-thistle! This is brilliant if taken before going out because it helps to prevent the dreaded hangover – a prerequisite for most students.