FOR many of us, seaweed comes in two forms: the slippery, rubbery stuff strewn in the rock pools of seaside holidays, and the deep-fried, cashew-nut topped, salty-sweet stuff from Chinese restaurants.

The former would unappetisingly wrap around your ankles in shallow water, and the latter - apologies for ruining the illusion - is generally cabbage.

Wales has been on to the nutritional benefits of seaweed (it’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) for some time with its laverbread, while Japan, Korea and China have long considered seaweed a culinary staple.

As consumers and the wider food industry become increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, seaweed is proving to be a wonder ingredient, and one we might all be eating on a regular basis soon.

Ricky Wilson, frontman with Menston band Kaiser Chiefs, is already on board.

The singer and former judge on TV’s The Voice has teamed up with his childhood friend, marine biologist and seaweed harvester Dr Craig Rose, to develop a range of seaweed infused oils, called Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful.

“What’s not to love about seaweed?” says Ricky. “I was introduced to the wonderful world of seaweed by my friend Craig and never realised that the stuff you see all around our shores can be so incredibly good for you.

“I’ve known Craig since we were eight, and he went off to uni and did marine biology. When you’ve known someone for over 30 years, it is so good to be working together on something you can be really passionate about. It is a bit like starting a band all over again. It’s really exciting.”

What have you learned from Craig and his marine biology know-how? “That seaweed ticks all the boxes of sustainability, which is so important when it comes to how we live, as well as seaweed containing a vast array of nutrients, and far more than land plants,” says Ricky.

Are you worried about sustainability, food and the state of the planet? “I wouldn’t say it’s a worry, as there are amazing companies and products out there addressing these concerns. I just think everyone needs to do their bit, and we will find a way to live happily, healthily and sustainably,” he says.

“We have always found a way to cope and move forward, and I’m sure we will again. It is great to be part of something making its own impact, however small, on that positive change.”

A keen cook, Ricky still loves “some great British classics like bangers and mash”, but adds: “As you get older, and since I’ve been lucky to travel all over the world, you start to want to try new things, and certainly be conscious of what you eat.

“I made an incredible goulash the other day, and used Doctor Seaweed’s Smoked Scottish Seaweed infused oil as the oil to cook in, and the Intense Smoked Scottish Seaweed Culinary Essence to drip in the finished dish at the end. It really lifts the dish to a whole new level.”

What’s your earliest food memory? “Crisp sandwiches. It may not be sophisticated, but I reckon even top chefs can’t resist,” he smiles. “We have an incredible catering team that tour with us, so they really look after me. I don’t have to think, and I get some amazing food. But every now and again, those crisp sandwiches creep in...”

What’s the best hangover cure you have discovered?

“Crisp sandwich (that may be the answer to everything from now on).”

We’re sensing a theme, so presumably your ‘last night on earth’ meal would also be a...

“Crisp sandwich.”

Of course! Is there anything you can’t whip up in the kitchen?

“I have perfected a crisp sandwich. I won’t admit to any shortcomings.”

And finally, is there a kitchen utensil you can’t live without?

“Knife sharpener. Craig bought it for me and Grace (Zito, Ricky’s longtime girlfriend) one time as our knives were beyond blunt. I now love sharpening a good knife. Does that sound weird?”

- Ella Walker

* Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful product range is available at select Sainsbury’s stores. Visit