Recorded at our food store Honey & Spice on Monday nights in front of a small crowd, we, Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, invite the people we most admire from the food world to come over – cooks, waiters, makers, writers, drinkers, thinkers; we have something to eat, a glass of wine and they tell us their story of making a life in food. The talks are then released as a podcast, a good thing to listen to while you’re cooking your dinner.
Series 5 is all about the makers, growers and producers we love and admire in the food world; the small businesses out there day in, day out, doing something amazing in their field.
From Maggie and Martin of Mother’s Garden in Catalonia, Spain who upped sticks from the UK nearly 20 years ago and now send us the most beautiful freshly pressed olive oil from their farm; to Sarah and Dale of Bermondsey Street Bees producing top class honey on roofs across London and beyond; then there’s Climpson & Sons, our coffee suppliers from day one; e5 Bakehouse producing delicious bread daily in London; and last but not least Guy Singh-Watson of Riverford whose phenomenal journey started 30 years ago with one man and a wheelbarrow of fresh produce.
We are so lucky to have met these fantastic people since starting our own food adventure and are delighted to invite them to The Food Talks to share their unique stories and divine produce.
Dates and guests to be announced regularly – sign up to our mailing list to be the first to book tickets for Series 5.
Join us on Monday 13th May at 7pm at Honey & Spice for an evening with Joanna Brennan of Pump Street Chocolate.
Pump Street is a family run, award-winning bakers and craft chocolate makers from the village of Orford, Suffolk. After mastering the art of naturally-leavened bread, they ventured into making chocolate from beans imported directly from single estates and cooperatives around the world. Provenance and process are key in producing the finest Pump Street Chocolate bars. Sourcing cacao from the best growers who ferment and dry the beans at origin.
From select farms across the world, the cocoa beans are then directly shipped to Suffolk. Pump Street Chocolate hand sort, roast, winnow, grind and conch the beans to yield the best tasting chocolate possible. Obsessive care and attention to detail goes into the roasting profile of each bean and each stage requires a careful eye, and nose. This yields chocolate that truly speaks of its terroir and vintage (which is labeled on the bar by Crop Year) – bean-to-bar chocolate with spectacular results.
We can’t wait to welcome Joanna to The Food Talks!
Places are £28 and include a drink on arrival and food cooked by us. Sold Out
Join us Monday 29th April for an evening with coffee connoisseurs, Danny Davis and Matt Randell of Climpson & Sons.
Founded in 2002 in an old butcher’s shop in Hackney from which they take their name, our friends at Climpson & Sons source, roast and craft the finest coffees in London.
Climpson & Sons have supplied us with the most delicious coffee since the very early days of Honey & Co. Their knowledge, support, and enthusiasm for all things coffee is unrivalled and we are so excited to welcome Danny Davis and Matt Randell along to The Food Talks. We will chat about everything from finding the best coffee beans around the world to cupping championships; from how to ensure consistent flavour and quality to the importance of sustainability and ethical sourcing in the process; and we will delve deep and demystify the expanding range of brew methods out there!
Places are £28 and include a drink on arrival and food cooked by us. Sold out
Buttermaker Grant Harrington and food writer Eve Hemingway will join us for an evening of buttery delights on Monday 18th March at 7pm.
Grant Harrington of Ampersand Cultured Butter is on a mission to make butter taste more buttery. After working in the kitchens of several fine-dining restaurants in Sweden he was inspired to learn more about traditional, pre-industrialised butter-making. After a year’s worth of scientific research into dairy fermentation, he set up shop, making artisan cultured butter, buttermilk and fresh cheeses with the best ingredients; jersey cow milk, Himalayan rock salt and lactic cultures. Grant’s butter is nothing like anything we’ve tried before; rich, dense and creamy.
Food writer Eve Hemingway will help us to delve deep into the history and culture of butter making. Eve strongly believes in the importance of promoting the hard work of specialist food producers to ensure we preserve the knowledge and skills they devote their lives to. We can’t agree more!
We will be serving food from Bread & Butter (written by Eve and Grant along with bread expert Richard Snapes of The Snapery Bakery) a cookbook that explores the history and culture behind bread and butter and its historic partnership.
Places are £28 and include a drink on arrival and food cooked by us. Sold out
Join us on Monday 25th February at 7pm at Honey & Spice for an evening with Martin and Maggie of Mother’s Garden.
Martin and Maggie have been farming arbequina olives and living an adventure in the Priorat mountains of Catalonia, south of Barcelona, since January 2001. You may remember them from Channel 4’s No Going Back, filmed in the very early years of their journey, or know them from their beautiful olive oil that we stock in Honey & Spice. Nearly twenty years since moving to Mother’s Garden they have built a very special thing, an idyllic home, a thriving farm and an incredible business producing premium extra virgin olive oil. Their coldpressed oil is a lively, delicate and fresh olive oil and unlike any other we have tried. As well as producing this delicious oil, the couple campaign to raise awareness of how olive juice freshness is just as vital as full provenance and quality, with the aim to bring the best olive oil to people at a responsible price.
In their words, Martin and Maggie’s story is more than olive oil, more a way of life on a small Mediterranean mountain farm of olives, vines, almonds and wildlife. We can’t wait to welcome them to to share their tales from the farm.
Places are £28 and include a glass of wine and food cooked by us using the olive oil. Freshly pressed Mother’s Garden olive oil will be available to purchase on the night. Sold out
The Food Talks with Nancy Hachisu Singleton
Join us on Monday 1st April at 7pm for an evening with Nancy Singleton Hachisu.
We absolutely adore Japan and Japanese cooking, and are so excited that food writer and cookbook author Nancy Singleton Hachisu is coming to London.
Nancy is a native Californian, Stanford graduate who has lived with her Japanese farmer husband in an 85-year-old farmhouse in rural Saitama since 1988. An authority on Japanese cooking, Nancy has spent the past 30 years delving into the intricate and almost mystical world of Japanese cooking and exploring every part of its cuisine. She served as a leader of a local Slow Food convivium for more than a decade and is active in the artisanal food movement all over Japan. Recently Nancy assisted on and appeared in the salt episode of Netflix’s runaway hit: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with Samin Nosrat.
In her latest book Japan: The Cookbook published by Phaidon, Nancy has painstakingly reworked traditional material gathered from gifted home cooks and translated, tested and adapted the recipes.
Places are £28 and include a drink on arrival and food cooked by us from the book. Sold out
The Food Talks Feast with Joe Trivelli
Join us on Sunday 10th February at 2pm for a very special Food Talks Feast with Joe Trivelli, co-head chef of River Café and author of The Modern Italian Cook.
We can’t wait to welcome Joe back with his first book, The Modern Italian Cook, the ultimate guide to laid-back, comforting Italian food. Joe first learnt to cook watching his Italian grandmother transform a few simple ingredients into something mouth-watering. In this truly wonderful book Joe takes the traditional Italian food he grew up on and brings it up-to-date with a focus on fewer ingredients, exquisitely prepared. Recipes are easy to throw together but look and taste incredible every time (trust us!).This time Joe will join Sarit and Itamar in the kitchen to cook a meal with recipes from the cookbook.
The afternoon will begin with a drink on arrival, a chat and audience Q&A with Joe and then we will sit down for a lovely three-course sharing lunch cooked from The Modern Italian Cook.
Places are £65 and include a drink on arrival and a three-course sharing meal cooked by us from the book. Additional drinks can be bought on the day.
We are offering a signed copy of the book for £20 if bought with your ticket (price on the day £25) so please select this option if you’d like the book. Sold out
History Cooked: Medieval Feasts meet Middle East
On Sunday 13th January 2019 at Honey & Smoke we hosted an exciting culinary collaboration between us and chef and cookery writer Rosie Sykes and the food historian and FT’s History Cook columnist Polly Russell.
Travelling back in time more than 700 years to the banquet hall and kitchens of King Richard II, this epicurean adventure takes inspiration from the oldest cookery manuscript in the English language, The Forme of Cury. Just to be clear, ‘cury’ is not early evidence of a British passion for Indian curry – ‘cury’ was the middle English word for cooking. So, while curry will not be on the menu, spices certainly will be. After all, the manuscript was written when the medieval spice trade was in full swing. Ranging from the fantastical to the familiar, The Forme of Cury tells a story of wealth, display and culinary connection with the rest of the world. This History Cooked event began with a drink and nibbles on arrival and a talk by Polly telling us all about this extraordinary royal medieval manuscript and other historic British cookbooks from the British Library collection, followed by a delicious feast cooked by Itamar, Sarit and Rosie from the manuscript.
A recording of the event will be available on our podcast soon.
Listen to Series 4
Series 4: so much more than a cookbook was recorded Sept-Dec 2018. More and more cookbooks are coming out every year, and some of them – the best ones – really stretch the format in new, unexpected ways: taking us to places we never thought we’d go to and showing us things we couldn’t otherwise see; changing the way we cook and the way we look at food and at life.
In this series we focused on those books that are much more than a collection of recipes: books that challenge what we cook and how we cook it, from Russell Norman’s insider’s guide to the back streets of Venice; through Anissa Helou’s take on the formidable task of binding together recipes from the entire Islamic world; all the way to Sybil Kapoor on cooking with the senses.
We talked to artists, journalists, restaurateurs, professional chefs and home cooks, all as curious and as hungry as we are.
Niki Segnit, acclaimed author of The Flavour Thesaurus to talk about her new book Lateral Cooking.
Niki’s first book The Flavour Thesaurus, published in 2011, examines why one flavour works with another and looks at how to pair your ingredients from traditional combinations such as pork & apple and interesting but unlikely-sounding couples including black pudding & chocolate. The book won the André Simon Award for best food book, the Guild of Food Writers Award for best first book, and was shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards. A global success, the book has been translated into thirteen languages and is in our eyes, a book that every cook – whether home cook or professional chef – should have in their kitchen.
Seven years in the making, Niki’s inspiring new book, Lateral Cooking, grew out of the experiments with flavour combinations that went into her bestselling debut. Testing hundreds of flavour pairings required her to strip recipes down to their basic formulae, and she soon realised she was learning to cook by a combination of memory and instinct, just like her grandmother who did not own a recipe book, but cooked with an assessing eye. Focusing on method rather than flavour, the book is exceptionally enjoyable, exploring 12 basic culinary categories: Bread; Cornbread, Polenta & Gnocchi; Batter; Roux; Stock, Soup & Stew; Pastry; Nuts; Cake & Biscuits; Chocolate; Sugar; Custard; and finally Sauce. Recipes in each chapter are then arranged on a continuum, with Segnit explaining how the recipes are related to each other through a shared culinary DNA, showing how with just a tweak of an ingredient or technique, one dish leads to another.
Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express, author of Asma’s Indian Kitchen.
Asma Khan has royal Mughali ancestry and grew up in a palace with 20 cooks. After gaining a PHD in British constitutional law, she registered for a food business and set up a supper club in her home in Kensington. Lovingly recreating Indian food from family recipes that go back generations her cooking drew much acclaim and led to a permanent restaurant in central London, Darjeeling Express which opened its doors in June 2017, later joined by its sister site Calcutta Canteen in Fulham. Now, Asma’s debut cookbook Asma’s Indian Kitchen tells her immigrant’s story and how food brought her home. The recipes pay homage to her royal heritage and follow the route of the Darjeeling Express train from the busy streets of Bengal, through Calcutta, where she grew up, and along the foothills of the Himalayas to Hyderabad.
We love everything that Asma does and are super excited that Asma is soon to be the first British Chef, and one of just a handful of women, to star in Netflix’s award-wining series Chef’s Table. We talked about this as well as her role in championing women in hospitality and beyond; not only is the Darjeeling Express kitchen joyfully run by an all-woman team but a percentage of all proceeds from her restaurant go to Asma’s Second Daughters Fund which supports the often neglected and disadvantaged second daughter in the Darjeeling town of Kurseong.
Michael Rakowitz, Iraqi-American artist of Fourth Plinth commission The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist and author of upcoming cookbook A House With A Date Palm Will Never Starve.
Michael Rakowitz’s, beautiful new work The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist was unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square earlier this year. It absolutely entranced us and is definitely worth a visit. For this commission, Rakowitz recreated the Lamassu: a winged bull and protective deity that stood at the entrance to the Nergal Gate of Nineveh – near modern-day Mosul in Iraq – from around 700 BC, until it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Rakowitz’s Lamassu is made from empty tins of Iraqi date syrup, alluding to the fact that historical monuments are not the only thing destroyed by war; they also decimate local economies, including the industry for date syrup which collapsed as a result of the war.
The commission is the culmination of a project started in 2006 which attempts to recreate over 7000 objects looted from the Iraq Museum in 2003 or destroyed at archaeological sites across the country in the aftermath of the war. The project will soon be accompanied by a stunning collection of recipes taking its name from the Arabic proverb A House With A Date Palm Will Never Starve. The recipes are contributed by a cast of cooks – from Rakowitz’ mother to Claudia Roden, Margot Henderson, Lamees Ibrahim and ourselves – and all feature date syrup, with the aim to create a sweeter future.
We held a fabulous Food Talks Feast with Nik Sharma, the writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind the critically acclaimed blog, A Brown Table. Our guests enjoyed a lovely three-course sharing lunch cooked by us from Nik’s book – Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food and we chatted to Nik afterwards.
In his debut cookbook, Nik shares a treasury of ingredients, techniques, and flavors that combine in a way that’s both familiar and completely unexpected. These are recipes that take a journey all the way from India by way of the American South to California. It’s a personal journey that opens new vistas in the kitchen, including new methods and integrated by a marvellous use of spices. Even though these are dishes that will take home cooks and their guests by surprise, rest assured there’s nothing intimidating here. Season, like Nik, welcomes everyone to the table.
Having drooled over his blog and writing from afar for a long time, we were so looking forward to having Nik with us all the way from sunny California to celebrate his beautiful book with him in the very best way we know how – by cooking from it!
Caroline Eden, journalist and writer and author of Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light.
Caroline Eden is a journalist and writer specialising in the former Soviet Union. Her writing has appeared in the travel, food and arts pages of The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times and over the past decade she has filed fascinating stories from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan for BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. Caroline’s first book, Samarkand, was a Guardian book of the year 2016 and went on to win the Guild of Food Writers Award for best food and travel book in 2017.
Caroline’s new book Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light is the tale of a journey between three great cities – Odessa in Ukraine, built on a dream by Catherine the Great, through Istanbul, the fulcrum balancing Europe and Asia, and on to tough, stoic, lyrical Trabzon in north-eastern Turkey. Caroline charts a totally fresh course while giving readers a unique insight into a part of the world that is both shaded by darkness and illuminated by light.
With a nose for a good recipe and an ear for an extraordinary story, Caroline travelled from Odessa to Bessarabia and on to Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey’s Black Sea region, exploring its interconnecting culinary cultures. We heard Caroline’s stories of the remarkable individuals she met on her journey – from meeting the last fisherwoman of Bulgaria, to tracing the legacies of the White Russian émigrés in Istanbul – and the inspiring meals that she ate on the way.
Rosemary Shrager, celebrity chef, cookery school doyenne and author of Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery Course: 150 tried and tested recipes to be a better cook.
Rosemary Shrager has worked with some of the world’s top chefs including Pierre Koffmann and Jean-Christophe Novelli and, as well as appearing on popular television series The Real Marigold Hotel, Ladette to Lady, School for Cooks and more, is an acclaimed cookery teacher with her own school, Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School.
With decades of experience as a chef and teacher, Rosemary knows how to make even the most nervous of cooks feel confident in the kitchen and has a passion for sharing what she loves: delicious food anyone can learn to make and enjoy. In her new book Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery Course, she shows how to develop as a cook recipe-by-recipe, so each new skill is learned through practical experience. From poaching a perfect egg, to making the creamiest béchamel sauce, kneading a light and fluffy white loaf, to baking a warming chicken and potato pie from scratch, with Rosemary’s guidance and delicious dishes along the way, this is the most enjoyable way to learn to cook.
Anissa Helou, chef, food writer, and journalist with an unparalleled knowledge of the culinary heritage of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and North Africa , author of FEAST: Food of the Islamic World.
We absolutely adore Anissa’s cookbooks and writing, and are so excited to have her with us to talk about the small(!) task of covering the entire Islamic World in a cookbook. In FEAST: Food of the Islamic World, Anissa shares her extraordinary range of beloved, time-tested recipes and stories from cuisines throughout the Muslim world. From instructions for preparing a whole lamb or camel hump to recipes for traditional dips, fresh salads and sharp pickles as well as numerous sugary sweet treats suitable for births, weddings, morning coffee and after dinner, Anissa has gathered a comprehensive collection of the finest and most flavourful recipes from her time living and travelling widely in the region.
Max Halley of Max’s Sandwich Shop.
After working in some of London’s best-loved restaurants – Arbutus, Salt Yard, The Opera Tavern, LeCoq – Max Halley realised that the sandwich, humanity’s greatest invention, was due a renaissance. In 2015 Max opened Max’s Sandwich Shop in Crouch End, London, reinventing the sandwich forever. From the Ham, Egg ‘N’ Chips, a creation packed with slow-cooked ham hock, fried egg, piccalilli, shoe string fries and malt vinegar mayo, to This Is How We Spring Roll with homemade sauerkraut, kimchi and spring rolls, sandwiches have never tasted so good.
Max’s won Observer Food Monthly Award for Best Cheap Eat in 2014, writes for Guardian, films for Vice.com and now brings us Max’s Sandwich Book: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Perfection Between Two Slices of Bread. The book is packed with award-winning creations from the shop, inspired variations on classics, sandwiches for breakfast, sandwiches for dinner, sandwiches for dessert, and more than 100 recipes for making your own ingenious creations at home.
Anja Dunk, cook, writer, teacher, author of Strudel, Noodles and Dumplings.
Anja Dunk was born in Wales to a German mother and a Welsh father. Her childhood was spent predominantly in Wales but also in Germany and South East Asia, where she moved to and from over the early years of her life. Her love of food started at home but has grown since working in cafes and restaurants over the years. She is now a freelance cook, mainly catering for large events and parties. Anja has co-written a book on preserves, Do Preserve: Make your own jams, chutneys, pickles and cordials and runs small preserving workshops.
Anja’s wonderful new book Strudel, Noodles and Dumplings is a long-awaited revival of this underserved national cuisine, proving that there is more to German food than Bratwurst and Black Forest gateau. Anja Dunk’s German food is gently spiced, smoky and deeply savoury. From recipes, such as whole-wheat buttermilk waffles to caraway roast pork and red cabbage, quince and apple slaw, her way of cooking is vibrant, honest, quick and deeply intertwined with the seasons and the weather. Featuring over 200 recipes for the everyday family table, as well as for snacks and special occasions, Anja’s cook book is an essential guide to all the basics of German cuisine, providing inspiration for appetising and comforting meals throughout the year.
Sybil Kapoor, food writer, broadcaster, travel writer, author of Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound: A New Way to Cook.
In Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound Sybil uses simplified kitchen theory and a selection of tempting recipes to reveal how we can unlock the power of our five senses to make amazing meals and take our cooking to the next level. Sybil explains the five fundamental elements underlying any recipe: Taste, Flavour (smell), Texture (touch and sound), Temperature (touch) and Appearance. Integral to our experience of eating, these are the building blocks of cookery throughout the world, whether you are making a prawn laksa or a pear syllabub.
Russell Norman, award-winning restaurateur, writer and broadcaster, and the founder of the POLPO restaurant group, author of Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking.
Russell has built a life and career out of his love for the north Italian city of Venice. In his latest book he returns to the city to immerse himself in the authentic flavours of the region and the culinary traditions of the city throughout the seasons.
Everything from summer picnics to warming winter soup is covered in easy Italian family recipes: from radicchio, pancetta and chickpea salad to duck rigatoni, and from Bellini sorbet to chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo. The book gives a rare and intimate glimpse into the life of the city, its hidden architectural gems, its secret places, its embedded history, the colour and bustle of daily life, and the food merchants and growers who make Venice so surprisingly vibrant.
Listen to Series 3
In Series 3 we chatted to chefs, restaurateurs, ice cream makers and home cooks and even allowed ourselves to be quizzed by Hester our producer in the name of the podcast! Listen below…
We had a very special evening with Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer to celebrate the launch of their new book Honey & Co: At Home – Middle Eastern Recipes From Our Kitchen
Usually The Food Talks involve one or both of us chatting to our favourite people in the food world but for one night only the tables were turned and we handed over the gauntlet to our producer producer, Hester Cant, to ask those probing questions.
At Home is all about the food we cook in our own kitchen and our life outside of work, whatever there is of it… and we are so excited to share it with you. Recipes include some of our favourites from our weekly FT column, some of our true home staples and a few of our most requested dishes.
Fabrizia Lanza, from Case Vecchie Cookery School in Sicily
It’s not often that you get to meet a living legend: Fabrizia Lanza’s cookery school is a food lover’s mecca and we were so excited that she’s agreed to come and join us for the evening. Fabrizia’s family have been in Sicily for centuries and through their school and farm they preserve knowledge and flavours passed down through the generations. Her ten-week course covers every aspect of real Sicilian food from the farm, orchard, mountains and fields to the table. We talked about food and about Sicily, about preserving food and preserving traditions, drank Sicilian wine and cooked some of Fabrizia’s amazing food for everyone who came. Listen to the talk on our podcast here.
Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices.
In a small converted greengrocers in south London (her ice cream shed), Kitty Travers patiently creates an array of iced delights – fresh ice creams that taste of the real, whole fruits; hand-made choc ices that crack open to reveal layers of playful pastel-coloured flavours you didn’t even know existed; and eye-popping, palate-tickling sorbets that will enliven the taste buds of all those lucky enough to sample them.
And now Kitty’s recipes are available to everyone in her new book La Grotta Ices. The book is a delight, offering over 100 inventive flavours of real ice cream, sorbet and granita, from Montmorency Cherry Sorbet to customer favourite Sea Salt, Rosemary and Pine Nut and summer show-stopper Apricot Noyau. Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Signe Johansen, Norwegian-American cook and author of How to Hygge and Scandilicious, joined us to talk about her latest book Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One.
Celebrating the joy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, the book is all about becoming more selfish in the kitchen and is full of recipes for happy solo cooking. From uncomplicated no-cook fast food to one-pot dishes that will transform your daily routine, Signe shows how to make big batch recipes that you can reinvent and enjoy throughout the week. It’s such a great book, super inspiring and packed with advice for keeping a streamlined larder and tips for late-night fridge foraging!
Stephen Harris, chef and patron of The Sportsman.
Self-taught chef Stephen Harris transformed what was once called a “grotty rundown pub by the sea” on the coast in Kent into a Michelin-starred restaurant that has been named Britain’s number one.
At The Sportsman, Stephen uses the best ingredients available in the immediate land surrounding the pub – the pork is sourced from the farm next door; sea beet, sea purslane and gutweed is plundered from the shore and the salt is sourced from the sea. Dishes such as Slip Sole in Seaweed Butter, Mussel and Bacon Chowder and Pork Belly have become Sportsman classics and now Stephen’s book, The Sportsman, allows us to create them at home.
We chatted about the transformation from sticky carpet boozer as well as Stephen’s own transformation from financial advisor to superstar chef.
Nick Saltmarsh of Hodmedod’s.
Nick is one of three founders of Hodmedod’s, Britain’s pulse and grain pioneers. They’ve been working with British farmers since 2012 to bring a growing range of forgotten and new crops to British kitchens, from fava beans and carlin peas to quinoa, camelina and naked barley. As well as supplying these crops as whole dried pulses and grains (which we absolutely love to cook with in the restaurant!) they produce gluten-free pulse and quinoa flour, flaked and puffed grains, canned pulses, fermented beans, and roasted bean and pea snacks, all delicious.
We are so excited to have Nick join us to share the incredible Hodmedod’s story that started with a tonne of British-grown split fava beans packed at the kitchen table and led to winning the Best Food Producer 2017 at the BBC Food & Farming Awards.
Writer, teacher and chef Samin Nosrat joined us to to talk about her life in food and her phenomenal book Salt, Fat Acid, Heat.
After studying English at UC Berkeley, Samin began working at Chez Panisse restaurant in 2010, a job which determined the course of her life and career. Starting out, Samin was astounded at her fellow chef’s versatility; last minute menu changes didn’t faze them as they would approach new ingredients with confidence, instinctively knowing how to cook them. The chefs had knowledge of four key principles that would make any food taste great if used in the right way; salt, fat, acid and heat. By mastering these four variables, Samin found the confidence to trust her instincts in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients. With her simple method she has taught masterclasses to give both professionals and amateurs the skills to cook instinctively.
Sabrina Ghayour joined us to talk about her book Feasts.
We can’t think of anything better than cooking up a feast with Sabrina Ghayour, the queen of simple and flavourful Middle-Eastern cooking! From breakfasts to banquets and everything in between, Feasts features tailored menus and dozens of recipes for celebrations and occasions with family and friends. The book is broken down by occasion – party at the weekend? special occasion? last-minute arrival of family? – with each chapter full of her trademark emphasis on simple ingredients and strong flavours.
Recipes include savoury pork & fennel baklava, lamb, plum & preserved lemon stew, roasted cod loins with wild thyme & pul biber, and white chocolate, cardamom & macadamia squares. It’s such a joyful book.
Reem Kassis, author of The Palestinian Table.
Reem Kassis left Jerusalem for the US at the age of 17, gained four graduate degrees and set her sights firmly on a stellar business career. She promised herself she would never end up in the kitchen like previous generations of women in her family, yet taking time out to raise her young family Reem found herself appreciating the simple pleasures of cooking for and feeding the people you love.
The Palestinian Table is the realisation of this appreciation. Inspired by three generations, the book weaves together a tapestry of personal anecdotes, local customs, historical context and nearly 150 recipes to create a feast for the senses and take readers on a gastronomic journey across Palestine, giving rare insight into the heart of the Palestinian family kitchen. The recipes are beautiful and so worth making at home, a fantastic book to add to any kitchen library.
Joseph Trivelli, head chef at the phenomenal restaurant The River Café
A favourite restaurant of ours, The River Café has championed simple, good quality Italian cooking since 1987. We are so happy to have Joseph come talk to us about 30 years of The River Café, what makes a restaurant ride high in the London food scene for so long, his unique experience working with the Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, and of course a cherished subject of ours – Italian food.
The new cookbook River Café 30 marks three decades of memories and good food at the restaurant. The team revisited and updated the best dishes from the first blue cookbook and introduce 30 new favourites from the menus today – panzanella, ravioli with ricotta, raw tomato and basil, risotto with porcini and girolles and the outstanding chocolate nemesis.
Rosie Sykes, chef and author of The Sunday Night Book.
Most of us want to forget that back-to-school feeling by kicking off our shoes and hunkering down with a soul-soaring supper – one that can be eaten with friends at the table, with book in hand by the fire, or in front of the TV. In The Sunday Night Book Rosie shares how to make Sunday night the best evening of the week, by perfecting the last, lazy meal of the weekend. All the recipes in the book are simple and make clever use of store cupboard staples and leftovers.
Listen to Series 2
In Series 2 we were joined by some of our favourite people in the food world and made some new friends too. We chatted ethical spices, whisky drinking, bagels, marmite parsnips and more, and our talks took us everywhere from Scotland to Iran, China to America, to Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond. Links to listen below.
Killian Fox is a food writer who regularly contributes to The Observer Food Monthly and many other publications and co-founder of The Gannet: an online magazine that explores people’s lives through the food they cook and eat. Killian gave us an insight into the world of food writing, tell us about the realities of having such a dream job, and we heard about his new book The Gannet’s Gastronomic Miscellany, which collects together interesting stories and facts about food – covering everything from radioactive bananas to 5,000-year-old bog butter.
Rachel McCormack is a broadcaster and writer, known mostly as a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet. The proud daughter of a Macallan drinker, Rachel was introduced to whisky via flu-alleviating hot toddies from an alarmingly early age and has never looked back. In her first book Chasing The Dram, Finding The Spirit of Whisky Rachel sets out to discover why Scotland had no tradition of cooking or eating with whisky. We were super excited to welcome Rachel to our shop on Monday 11th December at 7pm to impart her newfound wisdom on the subject. We tried some whisky and heard all about Rachel’s year-long adventure across Scotland in search for the spirit of whisky.
Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Roï Hendel, founder of Shira Spices, joined us on Monday 4th December at 7pm.
Roï is based in Paris but travels the world in search of extraordinary spices… a dream job, in our eyes!
Working exclusively with organic small scale farms and wild harvests around the world, Shira Spices aims to introduce the concept of terroir to the spice world. By working directly with farmers and NGOs, the hope is to ensure a fair income to all of their partners. We chatted to Roï about the life of a modern day spice trader and sampled his spices under his expert guidance. Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Fuchsia Dunlop – cook, food-writer specialising in Chinese cuisine, and author of some of our favourite books – joined us on Monday 27th November. We mined the depths of her knowledge on China – where to go, what to eat and also how to recreate the food at home. We cooked from her latest book, Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China which is full of beautiful recipes from the Yangtze Region in eastern China.
We’ve been following Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt of Monty’s Deli across London for the last few years now – from their Maltby Street market stall to their place under the railway arch and now to their long-awaited bricks and mortar place in Hoxton – all for the joy of their bagels. One of the few places to make their own salt beef and pastrami, the guys have also perfected their own bagel recipe, pickles, house mustard and of course chicken soup, all inspired by the food of Mark’s Jewish grandfather, Monty.
Mark joined us on Wednesday 15th November at 7pm to chat pickles, crowdfunding, Jewish soul food and of course we haf bagels for everyone!
On Monday 30th October we had a wonderful evening with Nasrin Rooghani from Mazi Mas, the social enterprise that organises cooking nights for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Nasrin was born in the north of Iran on the border with Azerbaijan and later moved to Tehran, so she grew up eating both the richly spiced dolma of Turkish-influenced Azeri cuisine and the slow-simmered, saffron-scented stews of which Iran is famous for. Taking influence from her mother and grandmother’s cooking, as well as from her fellow students, she taught herself to cook while studying for a degree in psychology in the Iranian Holy City of Qom. Since moving to the UK in 1999, Nasrin has worked with the Iranian Association, started cooking classes and is now part of Mazi Mas (“With Us” in Greek) where she regularly cooks up wonderful feasts.
Ed Smith, from the hugely influential blog Rocket & Squash, joined us on Monday 23rd October at 7pm to talk about life in the food blogosphere and about his excellent cookbook, On The Side, a book that puts side dishes centre stage. Ever since we got this book we wanted to cook a meal consisting of side dishes only, as the selection in this book is so good it really doesn’t need a main course.
Olia Hercules is a big favourite of ours. Earlier in the year we had a terrific evening with her cooking from and talking about her first book Mamushka. We made her promise to come back to us with her new book, Kaukasis, and here it is: a joyous exploration of the food and traditions of Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond, the book is a real treasure trove of unique, exciting and comforting flavours. Olia joined us on Monday 2nd October at 7pm – and we cooked and ate from the book and heard all about Olia’s travels in the region.
Listen to Series 1
Angela Frenda is the food editor of Corriere Della Sera, Italy’s most influential newspaper. Charming, knowledgeable and very funny, Angela came to talk to us on Monday August 21 at 7pm about one of our favourite things: Italian food. She told us about everything interesting and delicious happening in Italy now, where to go, what to see and most importantly what to eat. We cooked glorious Italian food from Angela’s books for everyone to try.
image credit Stefania Giorgi
Cook, food historian and broadcaster Dr Annie Gray joined us at 7pm on Tuesday 8th August for a reading and conversation about The Greedy Queen, Eating with Victoria. Queen Victoria was a famously plump monarch during a period of revolution in eating styles in the 19th century, and Annie discusses everything from the Queen’s cosy family dinners, tea parties and elaborate banquets through to the fascinating grocery accounts uncovered in the royal archive.
Chetna Makan joined us at 7pm on Wednesday 26th July for an evening of Indian street food and conversation.
Taking inspiration from the food she has sampled during her travels to the four corners of India – Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai – Chetna’s new book, Chai, Chaat & Chutney, features a beautiful selection of simple recipes from each region to cook at home, such as Stuffed Chillis, Chana Dal Vada with Coconut Chutney from the South or Chole, one of the ultimate curries, from the North. Chetna talked to us about her time in India and the subtle differences in ingredients and techniques found across the country and we sampled some of the food from the book.
Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
It was great to welcome back Guardian Cook columnist Rachel Roddy who will be joining us at 7pm on Tuesday 18th July 2017.
For the last twelve years Rachel has immersed herself in the culture of Roman cooking, but eventually the chance arose to spend more time at her partner Vincenzo’s old family house in south-east Sicily. Rachel’s new book, Two Kitchens, celebrates the simple family recipes that she cooks in her two distant but connected kitchens, in Rome and Sicily. We listened to stories of Rachel’s two kitchens and tasted some of the delicious recipes from the book which Sarit and Itamar cooked for us.
Laura Jackson & Alice Levine came to our food shop on Wednesday 28th 2017 June to talk about their book Round To Ours and share what they learned as supper club hosts about how to create an unfussy, laid back evening with dishes that’ll keep those around your table wanting to come back for more.
Tickets included wine and a taste of some of the recipes from the book, which we cooked up for everyone to try.
Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Allan Jenkins joined us at 7pm on Wednesday 7th June 2017 for a talk about his memoir Plot 29. A portrait of a childhood spent in and out of children’s homes and his rescue by foster parents, who gave him a life-long love of gardening, Allan later searched for his birth family, for his real name, and for a sense of belonging. The story unfolds around a year on the allotment, which is shared with a different sort of family. We also talked about Allan’s editorship of Observer Food Monthly, shared a glass of wine and had a taste of seasonal vegetables from the plot.
Gringa Dairy’s owner and cheesemaker Kristen Schnepp joined us on Wednesday 17 May 2017 to talk about her unique business making Mexican cheeses in a Peckham railway arch. Kristen spotted the growing popularity of Mexican cuisine - the style of food which she grew up with in California – and decided to open her own urban dairy to create her version of fresh Mexican cheeses. Kristen talked to us about the cheese-making process and about the challenges of starting a food business from scratch.
We had wine and tasted of some of Kristen’s cheeses, queso Chihuahua, queso Oaxaca and queso fresca, Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Bee Wilson’s First Bite is a fascinating study of how we learn to eat, and how we come to favour some flavours, smells and textures over others. Taste and preference may be set in childhood but it is possible to explore and embrace new foods, adapt our palates and eat a healthier diet. This evening of conversation on Wednesday April 19th 2017 also included the chance to learn whether or not you’re a ‘super-taster’.
Tickets included wine and a selection of dishes made by Sarit & Itamar so that everyone could take part in the taste test.
Listen to this talk on our podcast here.
Olia Hercules, author of Mamushka: A Cookbook
Olia Hercules joined us on Thursday April 6th 2017 to talk about the food of Ukraine (and beyond) – family traditions and food memories explored in her bestselling book Mamushka, a celebration of Eastern European cooking, from green borscht to home-made cheeses to sour cherry pie.
Tickets included wine and a taste of some of the recipes from the book, which we cooked up for everyone to try.
Emiko Davies, author of Aquacotta
Emiko Davies joined us at on Wednesday March 22 2017 for an evening of Tuscan food and conversation. Emiko’s new book, Acquacotta, celebrates the cooking and food culture of the Maremma region of south-west Tuscany, where Emiko and her family spent a summer living in a small fishing village on the Silver coast. Emiko talked to us about the family recipes, food traditions and food producers that she discovered there, and we sampled some of the hearty rustic dishes the region is renowned for.
Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, authors of Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus joined us on Thursday 9th Feb 2017.
One of the most fascinating cookbooks published in the last few years, Samarkand explores one of the most diverse and interesting food cultures in the world, one little known in Britain. The region is abundant with produce and the cooking has been influenced by everyone from the Tajiks to Turks to Russians and Koreans, creating a melting pot of distinctive dishes. Caroline and Eleanor talked to us about their experiences travelling, eating and cooking in the region and we will tasted recipes from the book.
Dale & Sarah, beekeepers at Bermondsey Street Bees
Earlier in the year we visited beekeepers Dale & Sarah on their rooftop in Bermondsey Street to sample their honey and meet their bees. They make and collect some of the best honey we’ve tried.
On Thursday 1st December 2016 they came to us! We had a chat and tasted some of the honey they produce and some of their favourites from their beekeeping friends around England.
Rachel Roddy, Guardian columnist and author of Five Quarters, Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome.
On Thursday 10th November 2016 Guardian columnist Rachel Roddy joined us from Italy for the first in our new series of Food Talks at Honey & Spice.
An English woman in Rome, Rachel chatted with us about her gorgeous new cookbook Five Quarters and we tried a few of the recipes from the book.