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With a publishing portfolio that includes The Guardian, The Independent, Grazia and Olive, Rosie Birkett is one of the country’s brightest food writers. She is recognised for her informative stories, from documenting grouse shooting in the Scottish countryside with James Lowe, the head chef of Lyle’s, to scaling India by rail with famous Indian chef, Vivek Singh. Rosie has interviewed some of the industry’s finest chefs, charming the likes of Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc and René Redzepi. She has trailed the globe unearthing culinary secrets; understandably, she thinks it is the best job in the world.
“Food is a joyful thing, and being part of the food industry is joyful too,” she tells us, filling our cups with some good old Yorkshire Tea. “I just think about food all the time. So it makes sense really.”
Her recipes and food styling have appeared in a wealth of national magazines and newspapers including The Sunday Times Magazine, Guardian’s Cook and Red. Of late, Rosie has turned her attentions towards another obsession – cooking. Her new book, A Lot On Her Plate (also the name of her wildly successful blog), will be springing up in bookshops this month. It marries together the cooking skills she has gathered from her time in some of the world’s most reputable kitchens with the food she likes to eat at home among friends and family.
Food is a joyful thing, and being part of the food industry is joyful too.
“I think when you spend so much time witnessing cooking, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up getting the bug,” she explains. “A few years ago I realised how in love I was with food and cooking, and I wanted to focus on that.”
The book is beautiful. From the colourful descriptions and encouragement to create with fresh, seasonal produce, Rosie’s healthy attitude to eating can be felt from beginning to end. “I hope people look at my book and it makes them want to cook, eat and enjoy food without worrying about counting calories. So often, the conversation is about weight loss. Especially if you’re a woman. I don’t think food should be associated with shame and anxiety, I think it should be a cause for celebration. Learning to cook properly means, by default, that you know more about food and what to eat.”
With her book, Rosie hopes to reignite the joys of cooking and eating in a world that is so easily seduced by buzzwords like ‘superfood’ and ‘cleanse’. “Cooking is one of the most kind and creative things we can do for ourselves and others, it’s a way to show love to yourself and the people you care about.”
We paid a visit to The Observer’s ‘Rising Star of 2015’ at her new home in Stoke Newington, all soaring ceilings and clean white walls. She quickly tells us that the place is far from finished, but it already has most people’s idea of the perfect kitchen, decorated with luscious plants and enough space to rustle up a feast or two. She hopes to begin having supperclubs in the next few months.
From late April to early May, Rosie enjoyed a residency at London food project Carousel, serving up dishes from the book. “I want to encourage people to use their local amenities. I want to demystify some ingredients and arm people with techniques that will stay with them for life,” she tells us.
Alongside the release of A Lot On Her Plate, Rosie will also be launching a new YouTube channel of the same name. It is set to meld together her work with cooking, recipes, talks and interviews, and means there will a lot more of her in the coming year. We’re certainly not complaining.
Rosie Birkett’s Top 5 London Eats:
LYLE’S Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ, 020 3019 2468
VERDEN 181 Clarence Road, London E5 8EE, 020 8986 4723
BLIXEN 65A Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA, 020 7101 0093
THE LOCKHART 22-24 Seymour Place, London W1H 7NL, 020 3011 5400
ST. JOHN 26 Saint John Street, London EC1M 4AY, 020 7251 0848
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