Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin
Fact – we have to eat to survive, but the question is whether we eat to live or live to eat? I, of course am firmly from the second camp and have spent the last 30 odd years in the kitchen trying to persuade those from the first camp to join me in the second.
I come from a foodie family. When I was small enjoying an exotic lasagne my mother had made of minced beef, veal and chicken livers, my friends had never ventured beyond a fish finger, so I count myself lucky to be exposed to great food early on and it has stayed with me ever since. As I got older, I realised not everyone had been blessed with such a culinary start in life and began sharing recipes with everyone and anyone I met. I spent 14 years creating recipes for Skiworld and their ski chalets – recipes that would be achievable for even less experienced hosts, but still exciting to cook and delicious to eat – quite a challenge, but it led to 2 cookbooks and a belief that anyone, and I mean anyone, can fall in love with food and cooking it. To date I’ve helped over 5000 chalet hosts find their feet at the beginning of the season so when my friend and fellow cookbook author, Jo Pratt’ suggested we might start a cookbook festival to spread the love of cooking and of a good cookbook I jumped at the idea.
So here we are, year two, and we’re still as passionate about passing on our love on for food and recipes and, just as last year, we do it all for charity – every penny raised goes to local good causes. Jo and I, along with another eight amazing dynamic local women we are ‘The Cookbook Festival.’
This year we kicked off with the outstanding festival launch supper hosted by Henry Harris at The Crown on Chiswick High Road on 4th September. He and his guest chefs – Rick Stein, Valentine Warner, Joe Trivelli, John Chantarasak, Oli Brown and Mitch Tonks! – gave their time and cooked their socks off. We salute you, Henry and we deeply thank our guests!
Moving on to this weekend, personally, I loved being a ‘lady who lunches’ when the Danish Food Revolution came to Chiswick in the form of Trine Hahnemann. She brought her hand-made rye bread and hand-cured salmon (among other delights) which elevate the sandwich to the heavens, a whole lot of hygge here at home! We LOVE local! We had two local foodie legends on Saturday: Beloved food writer Lindsey Bareham cajoled local butcher Rodney Macken of Macken Brothers into creating a festival sausage just for us. She gave us chapter and verse on how to serve it (3 ways!). Next up was Elisabeth Luard; she has lived all over the world and has come home to roost in West London! She shared her wealth of knowledge and experience as a botanical illustrator to travel and food writer to Chair, Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery. I was all ears and tastebuds!
Star TV baker Juliet Sear concocted a magnificent ‘Blousy Blooms Bunting Showstopper’ 2-tier cake on Saturday, 14th September and I for one learned a host of new cake decorating techniques – fabulous! Saturday night was real highlight for me with two of my favourite food writers square off against one another in our headlining Great British Food Off: UK food vs. EU food! Matthew Fort and Felicity Cloake didn’t settle any of the larger issues at hand but they both were possessed of a passion for British food and a love of travel to foodie destinations; it was a scrumptious evening. The Festival drinks party where the canapes were expertly created by local caterers, Truffle Hound, from Matthew and Felicity’s recipes they discovered on their travels round Sicily and France.
Photographs by Charmaine Greiger – charmainegrieger.co.uk
Sunday saw our very own local star, Jo Pratt, fresh from Pub in the Park, demonstrating recipes from her Flexible Pescatarian cookbook, a follow up to her sell-out, Flexible Vegetarian. Her recipes are always tasty and always work – my biggest pet peeve!
We got stuck in on Sunday, being part of the organisation team with Abundance London for the great Street Party on Turnham Green Terrace. All our months of preparation paid off with what was a fantastic event enjoyed by so many.
So I guess it is a big thank you to all of you who joined us at the Cookbook festival or the Street Party and what more is there to say other than roll on next year!
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Guest blog by Torin Douglas on the 2019 Chiswick Book Festival