Anne Dolamore, Independent Publisher

In the often depressingly formulaic world of food publishing one name stands out as a beacon of individuality. The idiosyncratic publishing house Grub Street publishes books on two subjects: military history and food. The food side is run by the feisty and single-minded Anne Dolamore who has proved that with persistence and guts it's possible not only to survive but actually thrive in the shark infested waters of big publishers - and in the process win countless awards.

In this funny, dynamic and telling interview Anne talks of the pros and cons of being an independent publisher, her criteria for choosing what to publish (surprising yet makes perfect sense), the people she admires, the writers she wishes she had published and the future of cookery books.

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Julyan Wickham and Matthew Fort

Kensington PlaceKensington Place opened in 1987. The first of its kind, it was to be highly influential in the future of restaurant design in Britain.  It's glass facade brought the city into the restaurant;  it was uncompromisingly loud, buzzy and open to the world. 

The architect was Julyan Wickham who talks to Matthew Fort about the challenges of restaurant design.  The conversation ranges widely over issues of architecture and the restaurant scene.  Riveting stuff.

 
Soho Parish School

Soho Parish SchoolA thriving primary school in Soho's Great Windmill Street, Soho Parish School is a success story.  And no better example of its success is its food. 

An enlightened head teacher, governors and parents seized the opportunity to break away from a long-term local authority contract and start producing school meals in-house.  With Anita Coppins in charge of the new kitchen, the uptake rocketed from less than 30% to 95%.

Together with Margot Henderson's yearly fundraising event, The Soho Food Feast, now a major highlight of London's food scene, this is a truly inspirational initiative.  It is also a lot of fun!

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GM Foods Debate (Norwich)

A group of experts from both sides of the GM divide argue their case for best solving the impending world food shortage. The discussion was recorded at the John Innes Centre in Norwich in December 2012 and was chaired by John Shrive.  The participants were:

Professor Cathie Martin of the University of East Anglia, group leader at the John Innes Centre, Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell

Dr Charlie Clutterbuck, Fellow, Food Policy, City University London

Dr Rupert Read,  Reader in the UEA School of Philosophy, Chair of the Green House thinktank, and Green Party MEP candidate

Cathie MartinCharlie ClutterbuckRupert Read

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GM Foods Debate (London)

Vivian MosesDiane MontagueINTRODUCTION TO GM

Here is the first of a series of interviews and debates on genetically modified (GM) foods.

Agricultural journalist and author, Diane Montague, interviews Vivian Moses, Visiting Professor of Biotechnology at King's College London, and the resulting discussion sets out what GM is and what the major issues are. It is a fitting introduction to the discussions which will follow.

Next up will be Professor Jonathan Jones, FRS, head to head with Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association.  We will follow up with  a round-table discussion with Professor Cathie Martin of UEA, Rupert Read of the Green Party and Dr. Charlie Clutterbuck of City University. As a policy to ensure no editorial bias, the debates are unedited. They have been broken in parts but that is purely for ease of watching as each one runs over an hour. So, anyone looking for quick soundbites should go elsewhere.

To our knowledge this is the first and only such series of debates and is intended to be a permanent record of something that affects each and everyone of us.

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GM Foods Debate (Holt)

Peter Melchett 2 2013-05-13 at 09.25.42Jonathan Jones 4 2013-05-13 at 09.36.24

 

As part of our series on GM foods,  we filmed a discussion between Professor Jonathan Jones, FRS, and Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association, outlining their opposing views on this issue.  The meeting was hosted by John Shrive,  at Nelson House in Holt, Norfolk.

 

No attempt has been made by us to edit the material and, as a result, the video is over an hour in length.   It has been divided into parts for ease of viewing.

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Rude Health Packed

Camilla Barnard Tessa Stuart

Camilla Barnard, champion of all things oaty and purveyor of some very fine breakfast foods, got together with packaging guru Tessa Stuart to talk to us about the challenges of packaging… what messages does it send out, how does it behave on the shelf, does it grab you and do you grab it? 

For a start-up company, your packaging may be the only marketing tool you have...

 
Jonathan Meades and Matthew Fort

MeadesFort 

The collective knowledge and wit of Matthew Fort and Jonathan Meades make this conversation one to savour! The iconoclastic Jonathan Meades is often considered to have been the best of all food critics during his tenure at the Times, and is still regarded by many as supreme.  Meades airs his trenchant and outspoken views about today's chefs and the food scene generally. He cites RADA,  "the Sandhurst for chorus boys", where he trained as an actor, as the place which instilled in him a lifelong discipline and, one suspects, his disdain for the pretentious.

 
Matthew Fort and Prue Leith

Matthew Fort Prue Leith

Matthew Fort talks to Prue Leith about, the job and obligation of the restaurant critic, celebrity chefs, The Great British Menu and more. 

Peppered with personal experiences and anecdotes, this witty, candid and occasionally outspoken conversation is to be savoured.

 
Fuchsia Dunlop - the full interview

 

Fuchsia Dunlop interview

At a relatively early age Fuchsia Dunlop became hooked on China.  She decided to learn Mandarin at evening classes and eventually won a scholarship to study in Chengdu, Sichuan.  It was there that she trained as a chef, the first westerner to attend the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. As a result she is now one of the foremost experts on Chinese cuisine and has built up a large and devoted following across the world.

At Barshu in the heart of London's Soho, a Sichuanese restaurant where Fuchsia acts as consultant, she talks to Mark Hilton, who also decided at a young age to study Chinese and Chinese culture and has lived in Xiamen in South-East China for 12 years. Discussion ranges from her life in Chengdu to the effect of the country's rapid changes on its cuisine and the, often false, assumptions the west makes about Chinese food.

 

More on Fuchsia...you can see her in conversation with Prue Leith here.

 

 
TimH USA vlog 2012

TimH

Meet TimH. Film student, YouTube star, sometime editor for Talking Of Food... in his own words:

"I say stuff about things on the internet".

On a recent trip to USA, Tim reported on popular food culture in a series of 10 videos. Starting with Burger Culture and ending with Standing in Line, his take on pretzels, pizza, ice cream and fast food chains is delivered in his own very individual style - fun, quirky and informative.

 

 
Fuchsia Dunlop - Every Grain of Rice

 

Fuchsia Dunlop 2Fuchsia Dunlop is a world authority on Chinese cooking and her books, articles and blogs are an absolute delight.  

Here she talks about her latest book, Every Grain of Rice, which, unlike her others, is not focused on one province, but is a collection of delicious everyday recipes, mainly from southern China.

Every Grain of Rice

This is an extract from a longer interview and discussion on Chinese food with Mark Hilton of Xiamen University which will follow shortly.

 

 
Reza's Indian Spice

rezas Indian spice

With his usual infectious energy and enthusiasm, Reza Mahammad tells us how a trip to Durban in South Africa inspired one of the dishes in his beautiful new book, Reza's Indian Spice: Eastern Recipes for Western Cooks.  And then he shows us how it's done! 

Here is the video and accompanying recipe

 

 

 

Reza's Indian Spice is published by Quadrille Publishing




Want more?  Watch Reza's Roots

 

 

 
Prue Leith

Prue_Leith Fuchsia_Dunlop

"I'm not the best cook I know, I'm not the best manager and I'm not the best accountant. But I know a good one when I see one. I've been fantastic at delegation." So says Prue Leith during her conversation with Fuchsia Dunlop, herself a  highly respected cook, food-writer and authority on Chinese cuisine. In this absorbing conversation Prue tells Fuchsia how she left South Africa in the fifties to go to Paris and whilst there discovered that food meant more than just eating. She made another startling discovery; "You didn't have to be black to be a cook."

 
The Table Comes First

The_Table_Comes_First

Adam Gopnik, author and writer for The New Yorker magazine, came to London in late November for the UK launch of his new book. He credits Fergus Henderson for unwittingly giving him the title, The Table Comes First, and the two of them met up at St. John Hotel where the conversation ran from subjects as diverse as farting cows and the worrying proliferation of square plates in France...

 

 
Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

Hot on the heels of our Rosh Hashanah series comes Yom Kippur. Once again, we have an introduction to this holy day from Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler who explains the meaning and practices of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In part 2, Silvia Nacamulli and Sula Leon discuss the foods they prepare for the festive meal and the different ways in which they break the Yom Kippur fast.

Geoffrey Shisler Silvia Nacamulli Sula Leon

 

 

 

 

 
Hindu Festivals

Mridula Baljekar

In the latest of our series on food for religious festivals, Mridula Baljekar, cook, television presenter and multi-award winning author, introduces us to the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Onam and Holi.

In Part 1, Mridula talks us through the meaning and celebration of each festival, the various foods that are eaten and what they represent.

In Part 2, she shows us a selection of festival dishes in more detail and demonstrates one or two simple recipes.

Look out for her book Vegetarian Cooking of India  as well as  Great Indian Feasts for an entirely new twist on traditional festive food.

 

 
Valentine Warner

Valentine_Warner

Valentine Warner talks to Richard Craig about his early influences which led him to write about food and its heritage. "Don't let things vanish. Protect what we have because once it's gone that's it." Outspoken about certain practices, questioning some fashionable views he is never less than honest and passionate about what happens around 'The Good Table'.

Good_Table_Book_Jacket

 
Behind the Blue Door

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In March 2009, in a small backwater near Hammersmith, a copper pot still, the first in London for almost 200 years, was born and christened Prudence.   

Sam Galsworthy and his partner, Fairfax Hall, together with master distiller Jared Brown, were the driving force behind what became a multi-award winning gin known as Sipsmith.

 

This is Sipsmith's story (with a nod of thanks to Stanley Kubrick's '2001- A Space Odyssey').

 

 
Gerald Röser

Gerald_Roser

 

Food journalist, Andy Lynes, talks to Gerald Röser, Head Chef of the Mirabelle at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, and Chairman of Master Chefs of Great Britain.  Topics include the excellence of Sussex produce, how to find the best suppliers and ingredients and foraging in the wild, something Gerald has been doing quietly for decades.

 
Ramadan

Ramadan

Mohsin Abbas, Director of Arts Versa and Ramadan Festival,  and Reza Mahammad of Star of India have a fascinating and enlightening discussion about Ramadan, what it represents to the followers of Islam and the thinking behind its discipline.

This is the first in a series of films about foods eaten at different religious festivals.

 
Marguerite Patten

Marguerite_Patten_1

"Marguerite Patten gave me my first inspiration to cook."  so says Gary Rhodes.
"I had decided to do this lemon sponge for Sunday lunch one day. I remember turning it out at table and seeing everyone drool as this intense smell of lemon filled the room and the thick lemon sauce dripped down over the sponge."
Nigel Slater writes of happy hours spent lost in her 'Cookery in Colour' as a boy.
They were not the first and nor will they be the last to be inspired by this extraordinary woman.

Our full interview with Marguerite includes contributions from Brian Turner, Valentine Warner and her daughter, Judith Patten.

 

 
Chateau Latif

Chateau Latif

 

Fulbright Scholar, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the City University of New York, Latif Jiji is also the only person known to grow, harvest and turn his grapes into wine in Manhattan! He resides on the upper East Side.

Leaving his native Baghdad in 1946, Professor Latif, a Jew, never returned to the country of his birth but continued the tradition of his father, who also grew wine.

This wonderfully eccentric idea has been the subject of TV interviews  and featured in newspaper articles as diverse as Time Magazine, New York Times and The New York  Post.

 
Tokyo Fish Market

Tokyo_Fish_Market_2

 

Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world.  It handles over 2,000 tons of marine products per day.

Photographer Francesca Phillips filmed a recent visit to the market.

 

 

 

 

 
A Riot of Chillies

chilli_fiesta

 

A chilli is a chilli...red or green... Take another look!

One of the highlights of the annual Chilli Fiesta at West Dean in Sussex is a walk through the glasshouse in the walled garden where they grow chillies of all sizes, shapes and colours. 

More pictures here

 
Go to work on an egg

tony-hancock
"Go to work on an egg",  the 1957  advertising campaign featuring Tony Hancock.  The eight ads were banned from being shown again for the 50th anniversary in 2007 as 'they did not suggest a varied diet'. Enjoy them here.

 


 
Antonio Carluccio

antonio_carluccio_1

The charismatic and much loved  Antonio Carluccio cannot easily be pigeon-holed.  Not a chef, yet so much more than a cook; not a businessman by his own admission,  yet he is the originator of the highly successful Carluccio's brand.

His passion for good, simple and flavoursome cooking, not to mention a great love of mushrooms, has inspired countless millions who have seen his television series and read his books on Italian food and life.

In this interview he talks about his earliest memories of food and shares anecdotes of his family and childhood in war-time Italy as well as the birth of Carluccio's.   And by the way, there are even some English dishes he loves!

 

 
Loch Fyne

 

lochfyne_11

In the late 1970s Johnny Noble, laird of Ardkinglas, and marine biologist Andy Lane succeeded in growing oysters in the waters of Loch Fyne.  From the humble beginning of a roadside stall by the shore, the venture grew and grew. Although smoked salmon has overtaken oyster production, Loch Fyne oysters are  eaten in restaurants throughout the land and even as far afield as Hong Kong. A group of businesses has developed based on the principles of good food, sustainably sourced and simply presented by people who care.  Andy Lynes interviewed Virginia Sumsion, Marketing Manager for Loch Fyne and niece of founder Johnny Noble.

 

 
Fenghuang Toffee

fenghuang_ginger_toffee

Fenghuang — Phoenix Town — is a town in the west of Hunan Province, 6 hours by bus from the provincial capital of Changsha. It is built on the banks of a river, and the old town is very largely preserved or has been restored keeping its original style.

Fenghuang has a number of sweet specialities, the most common of which can be seen being made in small shops all over the old town: ginger toffee.

 

fenghuang_river-front_150fenghaung_wine_shopfenghuang_street_150

 

 
Soho Landmarks - Pizza Express

pizza_express

Peter Boizot, MBE, is a Soho legend.  In 1965 he introduced the pizza to Londoners when he imported an Italian oven into the first ever Pizza Express in Wardour Street.  The popularity of the jazz club below his Dean Street pizzeria lead to the founding of the Soho Jazz Festival.  He fought the very successful Save Piccadilly campaign, was a founder member of the Soho Society and the Soho Restaurateurs Association and supported in no small measure Soho Housing Association.

We interviewed him about those pioneering days at his home in Peterborough.

 
Zabar's - A New York Institution

Zabar's Coffee Sacks

 

Zabar's is not a building that really stands out, perhaps the mock tudor looks a bit odd on 81st and Broadway but that's about it. Yet any self-respecting New Yorker knows it...

 
Life on the Ocean Wave

navigator-of-the-seas-01

Ever wondered how over 5,000 people are fed at sea?

Chef Henrique Sparrow on "Navigator Of The Seas" tells us how 230 galley staff produce 106 tons of food every 4 days.

The detail and military precision of feeding such numbers is fascinating...


 

 

 
Oodles of Noodles

Oodles of Noodles

 

Originally from the north of China, hand-made noodles can be found on street corners across the whole country.  Watch the awesome skill of this noodle-puller as he makes two of the most popular types, Lamian (pulled noodles) and Daoxiao Mian (knife-cut noodles).

 
Food Scavengers

food_scavengers.jpg


Ever wished that you could cut down on your food bills? Artist and activist Spring Exprit (Eugenia Beirer) may have the answer. Call it Dumpster Diving, Skipping or even Freeganism - on the face of it “food salvage” is simply the practice of retrieving and eating food that others have thrown away. But it goes much deeper than that, calling in to question the workings of the entire capitalist economy. Oh, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun too.

Hattie Garlick visited New Covent Garden Market with a group of novice scavengers to learn the tricks of the dumpster diving trade. Click More below to watch her video.

 

 
Reza's Roots

reza_mahammad
REZA MAHAMMAD, owner of the famed Star Of India in Kensington, TV celebrity and much loved personality, talks about his father’s early struggles when he arrived as a stowaway in 1937. He and a handful of friends attempted to establish Indian cuisine in England and eventually succeeded in changing the eating habits of a nation.

 
Richard's Wine Challenge
Richard Wine ChallengeRichard Craig, Master of Wine student, will attempt to identify a series of mystery wines against the clock.

Part One - How to go about it

Part Two - Against the clock

Part Three - Win some, lose some

Part Four - Close but no cigar

 

 
Chocolatier

Phil Neal - Chocolatier
A man with a dark passion. At Philip Neal in London's Turnham Green can be found some of the best chocolate in town. His ambition is to change people's habits, to get them to understand what great chocolate tastes like and eventually to open the best chocolate lounge in the country. He explains both his passion and his dreams.

 

 
Kriegie
Kriegie

Geoff Rothwell joined the RAF in 1939 at the age of 19. He miraculously survived 71 operations as a bomber pilot, but in September 1944 his plane crashed on the Dutch island of Texel and he spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 1 in Germany.

He talks about the food experiences of the 'kriegies' (prisoners of war) while looking at the illustrated diary kept by his room-mate, Bohdan Arct , later published as Prisoner of war: my secret journal.


Part One - Oberürsel Interrogation Centre 

Part Two - Stalag Luft 1 - Red Cross Parcels

Part Three - "Belt Up" - German Rations

Part Four - Kriegie Recipes and Spam

 

 
Tieguanyin Tea
Tieguanyin Tea
A visit to Liu Shunli's teashop in Xiamen is a leisurely affair as he makes tea for tasting - not drinking - explaining the process and customs involved.  He talks about the properties of Tieguanyin Tea, one of China's most famous teas, grown in the plantations of Anxi.
 
Valencia Market
Valencia Central Market




Valencia market in Spain. One of the great indoor markets in Europe, its enormous area houses virtually every type of food available.

 
La Dolce Vita 2007
La Dolce Vita Girls




La Dolce Vita 2007. The Italian-themed food exhibition at Olympia and we loved it!

 
Soho Landmarks - Maison Bertaux

Maison Bertaux 300.jpg
Started in 1871, Maison Bertaux still survives in its original premises.  Such is the devotion to this wonderful pastisserie that one ex-Soho resident has been going there for over 60 years - even though he moved out of London 25 years ago.

 
Soho Landmarks - Bar Italia

Bar Italia
The original London coffee bar. Opened in the middle of the last century initially to provide workers in the Soho area a place to eat after they finished work in the local restaurants, it went on to became a beloved institution.
Still family owned, it is now run by the grandsons of the original owner. Tony tells the story.

 
Ace Cafe
ace_cafe.jpg

Ace Cafe on London's North Circular Road has been serving bikers since 1938.  Hattie Garlick visited recently and learnt how, after being destroyed in an air-raid in 1940,  it became the world famous haunt it is today getting through an astonishing 7 tons of sausages a year.

But how does a vegan survive in this world of leathers and bacon sandwiches?  Hattie tracked down Vegan Biker Boy for some answers.

 
A Prisoner of War's Christmas

holly_200

Kriegie Part Two

 

 

 

 

Germany 1944. Christmas Day in Stalag Luft 1 PoW Camp where Potage Churchill is on the menu... and a home-brewed cocktail of dubious origins...

 
Christmas Past

rose_bignall

holly_100

holly_100

holly_100

 

 

 

Rose Bignall, aged 105, recalls a Christmas of her youth.

 

 
School Dinners

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Everyone has a memory of their school dinner - and it's not always about the dreaded tapioca pudding! There are some people who actually liked them.

 
Gulangyu Sesame Cakes
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The Ye family have been making award-winning sesame cakes for decades.  They are one of the specialities of Gulangyu Island where visitors and locals alike stop to buy them on a busy corner from a diminutive cart.

 
Xian Jiaozi

xian_jiaozi_2




Xi'an, long the capital of China from the time of Qin Shihuangdi, the first emperor, is not only famous for its history, but also for its dumplings;  one restaurant in particular offering some 120 varieties.

 
Breakfast Lady

Breakfast Lady
Every morning in Xiamen in China, you find people selling breakfast foods from barrows to people on their way to work. The project was set up by the government about 8 years ago to provide employment for the jobless and to ensure that everyone could have a good breakfast.

 
Beijing Snacks

beijing_snacks.jpg



The Chinese are great 'snackers'.  Throughout China, in the evenings in particular, street markets offer a huge range of foods.  These snacks from a night market in Beijing prove once again that, to the Chinese, anything is a potential food...

 
A Cantonese Wedding Banquet

cantonese_wedding_lily


The Year of the Tiger is not considered auspicious  for marriage, so in the last days of the Year of the Ox there was a rush of weddings.  Lily and Wan Li held their wedding banquet in Guangzhou on 31st January - a magnificent event with a 13 course meal.  The dishes are almost always the same and there are hidden, lucky meanings in most of them.