Is Brooklyn Beckham right about cooking with wine corks?
A debate about Brooklyn Beckham and wine corks when cooking food has re-emerged in an interview, which begs the question: is he right?
In March, Beckham was photographed cooking a spaghetti bolognese with a wine cork in the pan, which promoted a huge number of social media responses questioning the technique.
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The negative responses led to Beckham then adding an Instagram story claiming Beckham, 24, took to his Instagram story to share a quote from an article that he had read that said: “The addition of wine corks added to the cooking liquid ensured a more tender dish.”
The extract quoted by Beckham is a 2016 article from the Naples Daily News, Let’s Talk Food: Wine corks ensure more tender octopus.
The article states: “As for the validity regarding the addition of two to four wine corks, no less than a genuine icon, Mario Batali, swears by the cork method and testifies to its effectiveness on his Babbo Ristorante website: ” When preparing octopus, we found that the best and most efficient way to tenderize it is simmering it with single or multiple wine corks. This way, the octopus becomes tender; yet still retains the essential leathery mouth-feel associated with eating it in the Mediterranean countries.”
“Other experienced chefs also use wine corks when cooking such meats as short ribs and other tough meat. It is not surprising that corks serve as tenderizers.
“They are a natural product, especially grown in southern Portugal, where trees are stripped of the bark, which is turned into corks. The trees eventually grow more cork and it is fascinating to learn that the average cork contains 200 million air cells in it.”
But another Italian chef, Barbara Pollastrini told Insider that a wine cork won’t help soften the meat in a bolognese, and was also sceptical that it would work with octopus.
She said: “The problem is that people trust this food influencer and are without any knowledge. The only way to have a fantastic ragù is to cook it for at least three hours. This is the only way to have soft meat.”
Beckham should have plenty of high quality corks to use, judging by his wine cellar. In January this year he revealed four bottles from his (temperature-controlled) cellar, which were worth more than £15,000 alone, reports estimated. They included a 2003 Château Mouton Rothschild, a Grand Vin Château Latour 1989, a Petrus 2015, and a Petrus 1979.
Beckham and his wife, billionaire heiress Nicola Peltz have also previously been spotted enjoying other fine and vintage wines, including a Château Margaux 2006 while on holiday in St. Tropez.
The former model, photographer and media personality is also a co-founder and partner of emerging sake brand WeSake, it was revealed in December 2022.