TOP chef Nathan Outlaw still can't quite master the art of roasting a chicken.

This is a man who has a two Michelin star restaurant, was mentored by Rick Stein and has written four cookery books.

"It always turns out differently every time," says the Kent-born, Cornwall-based chef, with a laid-back, self-deprecating laugh.

Of course Outlaw can handle chicken, he just doesn't do carbon copy, identikit chickens and that seems to be fine for a man best known for his seafood.

His latest book, Home Kitchen, is something of a detour.

"I wanted to write a book that covered all the bases if you had no other cookery book - a book that had all the recipes you needed for life."

It features some fish but is also packed with nostalgic classics like toad-in-the-hole, soups, risottos, how to do a proper Sunday roast, plus desserts - including his daughter's sticky toffee pudding - which is to be expected when Outlaw's last-night-on-earth meal is, without question, trifle.

Throughout the writing process, he had his children in mind, imagining the kind of cookbook they'll need when, eventually, they go off to university or college.

"If they took this one book," he says, "there'd be enough in there for them to survive."

It's a very tasty safety net too, considering that cooking is no longer taught comprehensively in schools.

Outlaw, 39, explains he's "fortunate enough to be old enough to have done cookery lessons at school", but says it's disappointing how children tend to get just a term of Food Technology classes each year now, and are rarely taught basic kitchen skills in detail.

"It's not really like it was," he muses. "We all have to eat to survive, so you need to eat well, it's a no-brainer really, but it seems to be something that's a little bit lost in schools now."