Chief Ash Hamilton
During lockdown, professional chef Ash Hamilton (boss of The Curious Kitchen in Brixham) decided to use the forced closure of his restaurant to challenge himself and help those on a budget, by creating a cooking YouTube series in which he extends a £25 budget to cover five days of family meals.
Follow his journey from finding the best deals in the aisles of Lidl to cooking advice, somewhat reminiscent of that of a lonely Hairy Biker.
The series has had to take a step back since its restaurant reopened, but there’s plenty of inspiration left on how to look at supermarket offerings through the eyes of a chef. Lesson? Imagination is the key.
Meal by Mitch
@mealsbymitch Reply to @mitch027612 Sausage Casserole for under a fiver 😳#sausagecasserole#onepanmeal#onepotmeal#onepotwonder#onepot#sausage#casserole#fyp♬ original sound – Mitch 🥘
Content warning: language
Mitch doesn’t cut meals halfway and he’s always excited about food. Among his favorite slogans are “look at the state of this”, “clean dirty” and “bon appetit”.
Mitch showcases dishes loved and hated by his kids, along with a series of indulgent dishes for less than a five, with an Aldi receipt as proof. He’s also not shy about keeping things simple, with many one-pot dishes featured on his page.
His TikTok channel has gained popularity with more than half a million subscribers thanks to its accessible style, quick meals and ability to replicate street favorites like KFC with kitchen staples.
Thrifty Lesley has been in the budget food blogging game for years. Her support remains above all her website, on which she documents meals at less than 50p per portion.
From savory leek crumble to sweet parsnip cake, she’s not afraid to try something new in the kitchen.
In addition to recipes, her site has handy conversion charts for measurements, tips on how best to use seasonings and herbs, and meal plans. She doesn’t stop at food either – she acknowledges there’s a lot more to the weekly shop with a section dedicated to how to save money on beauty and toiletries.
Full time meals
You’d be forgiven for thinking that an Instagram page of chef Tom Kerridge and England striker Marcus Rashford had its share of celebrities with just these two. But no, there are appearances from actress Dawn French, comedian Russell Brand and British team sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, among others, all determined to cook up a storm on a budget to end the child food poverty in the UK.
Becoming the face of Full Time Meals was the logical next step for Rashford, who was awarded an MBE for his dedication to keeping underprivileged children well fed throughout the pandemic after sharing his own stories of food bank use growing up .
Rashford and Kerridge are on a mission to prove that cheap and happy can also be healthy and wholesome. The pair also provide nuggets of food education, focusing on ingredients, nutrition and how to get the most out of meals.
Poor London Vegan
As the name suggests, Meg/Poor London Vegan is on a tight budget. Her feed shows how to bypass expensive branded vegan products that have sprung up in the past few years while making easy and tasty plant-based foods.
When she posts one of her own creations to her Instagram account, she includes a handy estimate of the cost per serving as well as the supermarket where she bought the ingredients. Even when the recipes aren’t strictly her own, she’s been known to veganize other recipes and post the colorful results to her page.
The hungry student
@thestarvingstudent Budgeting Tips 💪🏼 FOLLOW for more ➡️ #studentfood#budgeting#budgetingforbeginners#savemoney#savemoneytips#moneytips#ukinfluencer#foodshop♬ original sound – Lauren Leyva
Even broccoli stalks aren’t wasted when The Starving Student AKA Lauren Leyva is in the kitchen.
She’s on a mission to reduce the cost of living for college students by swapping takeout for fakes, scouting for bargains, and equipping her audience with the basic cooking skills they’ll need to start enjoying his time in the kitchen and saving money.
In addition to recipes for a variety of diets and dietary restrictions, she offers many sustainable tips and tricks for frugal and seasonal meals.
The original and inimitable Jack Monroe still posts regularly on Instagram and his website about cheap meals in addition to his activism and author work. The dip pictured above costs just 11 pence to put together.
Her blog takes into account that those feeling the pinch might not have the full range of kitchen equipment available, so she has sections dedicated to microwave recipes.
From the days of cooking for herself and her son on the tightest of budgets and learning about the inner workings of food banks, she has published a cookbook to guide others through tough times.
She recently went viral with a series of tweets detailing a claim that inflation will hit the poorest hardest, she became a poster to campaign against food poverty with Marcus Rashford.