Chef Tim Bilton shares his thoughts on fast food and provides more valuable information from his kitchen with Yorkshire Businesswoman readers:


"When can we have KFC?"

Just the very words make me salivate (how do they do that?)

I always have high expectations of a Big Mac, KFC, and Nandos, just look at the promotional photo and instantly I’m in.

Right, let's go and every time my order comes with the anticipation of opening the box…………………………

Boom! there it is, a rather sad looking burger or chicken, which looks absolutely nothing like it does on the photo or menu.

I’m reminded “you do this all the time” (the good lady wife says).

Its true every time we order a take away be it Indian, Thai, Chinese, Pizza, Burger, Sausage roll or Chicken I’m left feeling a little disappointed. Not to mention a little bit lighter in the pocket. (Family of four with two hungry boys)!.

Don’t get me wrong, these are multi million Pound Companies that have some of the best infrastructure and procedures internationally, that any good restaurant would love to have their resources.

Fast food is a presence in almost everyones life on a daily basis. It is estimated that a quarter of us eat fast food daily.

There are many factors that contribute to our obsession with fast food. Fast food is extremely easy to obtain, in a lot of cases now you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car.

Fast food is cheap take the Big Mac meal £4.69 served with medium fries and a drink. 3 piece KFC meal £4.99 three crispy chicken fries and a drink while a Greggs sausage roll cost about £1.00.

Getting a meal from a fast food restaurant is quick and in most cases your food is prepared and served to you in well under 10 minutes.

With these factors in mind is this why fast food is so popular? Fast food in the UK has been on a steady increase for years and I cannot see it slowing down anytime soon. In the news just last week a couple of fast food outlets opened and the queue of cars were down the road.

We are still in lockdown - I saw a photo the other day of a burning building with the line “The fire has reached its peak. It’s no longer growing. The acceleration curve has flattened. So everybody back into the building. It’s all safe to return now”. Well you just wouldn’t would you?

One of the main reasons for fast foods popularity is just how convenient it is. Instead of having to spend time in the kitchen not to mention planning the evenings meal. You can now have a meal within minutes
In the UK these fast food outlets are growing and growing.

• Costa coffee approx. 2000 outlets
• MacDonald’s 1350
• Greggs 1800
• KFC over 1000
• Burger King 650 outlets

Costa coffee completely dwarfs all the other fast food outlets in number of locations that our obsession with coffee.

But it’s also the way these fast food outlets serve their food. With most fast food takeaways you don’t need any cutlery to eat you meal, just your hands. This means that you can eat your meal anywhere at any time. Not to even mention eating a meal in your car, this concept did not even exist before fast food. For many people time has been a major factor in their decision on where and what to eat. Before the pandemic of COVID-19 many people could not find the time to prepare and cook a healthy meal at home. Because of it’s convenience many people find these qualities attractive in their food, time and speed.

During lockdown I’ve put together some famous fast food outlets best meals to see if I could replicate the look and taste. With my two expert taste testers Henry and Charlie my two sons aged 14 and 8.

So with a little bit of research, reading and looking through the fast food ingredients list I’ve put together the Big Mac, KFC fried Chicken, Nandos Piri Piri chicken and a few side dishes as well.

Let's kick off with my own "Big Mac"

Big Mac

400g Minced beef
2 Sesame seed buns
½ Onion finely diced
¼ Iceberg lettuce finely shredded
2 Cheese slices
1 Dill cucumber sliced
Salt and pepper
Drizzle Olive oil


Big Mac Sauce

125g Mayonnaise
15g Gherkin finely diced
20ml White wine vinegar
pinch White pepper
10g Mild mustard
5g Onion powder
5g Garlic powder
3g Sweet smoked paprika

For the Big Mac sauce, combine all the ingredients together and chill until ready.

To make the burgers or patties, season with salt and pepper and divide into 4 100g balls.
Flatten on baking parchment to make four 15cm circles.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
Cook the burgers for two minutes on each side until lightly charred and cooked through.

Slice the burger buns into three and lightly toast.

To assemble the Big Mac’s spread a little big Mac sauce over the bottom base.
Top with a sprinkle of chopped onion, shredded lettuce and cheese.
Add a burger or patty and some sliced pickle.
Add the middle bun layer, Big Mac sauce, onion, lettuce, pickles, burger patty.
Add another dollop of Big Mac sauce and top with the seed bun lid.

Serve with fries and or coleslaw.


Once eaten wait one hour and then do some exercise or go for a 30 minute run!