Isaac Carew, The New King of Food
Balance love the term ‘portfolio career’. It’s a swanky way of saying someone has more than one job, but Isaac Carew has just trumped us. As in ‘Isaac Carew is a model-slash-chef’. “I like to call us slashers,” he says with his terrific Tottenham twang. “It stemmed as a joke from the film Zoolander. When I started modelling, that was enough and that was your career. But ever since social media grew, being ‘just a model’ isn’t enough; you need to be a slasher, like a model-slash-musician, or model-slash-carpenter. You have to have something to back it up.”
He does more than back it up. Cooking is in his DNA (both his dad and granddad were chefs) and he spent his formative years working at a greengrocer’s and as a Saturday boy in restaurants. Now he successfully juggles it all with modelling.
Carew is a naturally likeable chap. Prior to our chat, we knew him best as Dua Lipa’s other half, but the London lad clearly has enough in his own locker that it’s fair to call the duo a power couple. “With the Instagram generation, you get people who might put ‘photographer’ on their profile, even though they’ve never done a course or had any proper training. I often find you get a lot of ‘nutritionists’ who haven’t actually been trained in nutrition.”
Likeable, right? On paper, he could easily make you burst into tears: he’s having great success with his Dirty Dishes YouTube channel and book, he’s got TV execs beating a path to his door, he’s dating a pop icon… oh, and it just so happens he looks more than a little like Elvis Presley.
Food might be his main passion, but he acknowledges he could be tempted by acting if the offer was right. Balance think he’s born to play The King. “If the House Of Elvis, or Sony, asked me to do something classy enough and if I was good enough, then I’d potentially give acting a go,” he says. “I’ve never wanted to be an actor; it’s not something I’ve wanted to pursue, but you never know.”
Before the big screen beckons, there are rumours Dirty Dishes might be heading for the small screen, and the title of his new book sums up his approach: he simply wants people to roll up their sleeves, unafraid to get their hands dirty, and get stuck in. “I want to stop people thinking of the kitchen as a scary place and to use my recipes as a tool. If they want to play around with them and have fun, so be it. It’s just a place where I can collate the recipes and hopefully, people can enjoy them.
“There’s a lot of ‘you need to be lean and green’, telling people the way they need to be. Mine’s a more light-hearted take: if you want a salad, have a salad. If you want a burger, have a burger. Just do whatever makes you feel happy. ”
His relationship with Dua certainly makes him happy. “It’s amazing. Sometimes it’s tough because there’s a lot of travelling, so you have to make time for each other. You could be Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley but, at the end of the day, when you’re at home and with whoever you’re with, you’re not that person, you’re your ‘at home’ person. We should all take people for what they are, not what you see. It’s just normal life. I’m in a lucky position and in a good place.”