The first Cook Book Festival rated a Success

Scrolling through Twitter on Sunday morning I saw that Jack Monroe was apologising for being late, having got on the wrong train. She fetched up half an hour late but the audience seemed to forgive her. Maybe she was distracted by the news that morning that Katie Hopkins, against whom she had won a libel action the year before, had filed for IVA to avoid bankruptcy.

Jack tweeted “I have been paid in full, but many of her creditors, including my lawyer, will not be paid what they are owed. For the want of an apology, a house, a job, a column, a radio show, and now financial solvency, were lost. It’s all very sad, actually.

“I’m not cruel nor celebrating – that case cost me 18 months of sanity and work, and I think neither of us wanted it to turn out this way. (I can recommend an excellent budget cookery book or three, for getting back on your feet, though).”


Jo Pratt – photograph by Kelly Reeve

The Cook Book Festival was jointly organised by TV chef Jo Pratt and Lucy Cufflin of Ginger Whisk. Jo was to be seen dashing about the place with saucepans, along with the rest of the Cook Book Festival crew, just a streak of blonde hair and the fragrance of something good to eat on the breeze as she passed. When she did stop running about for a second she said: “Creating the very first Cookbook Festival here in Chiswick has not only been fabulous for the local community, but we also welcomed many foodie guests from miles away, who were thrilled to have a chance to meet their favourite chefs and authors. We have achieved our aim and brought cookbooks to life”.


Cook Book Festival – photograph by Kelly Reeve

So how was it putting on an innovative mix of talks and cooking demonstrations with some of the top chefs in the country for the first time? I asked joint organiser Lucy Cufflin.

“Did we take on too much? Yes, of course we did. Was it worth it? My goodness yes! When Jo and I casually decided it might be a good idea we had no idea the Herculean task we had just embarked upon and there is no doubt that this was pulled off by the utter dedication, talent and sheer determination of the fine group of women on our committee.

Each and every one of them is super talented but more than that I have never seen 12 people work so hard in such a short space of time. There was never once a cross word and there were plenty of giggles and such a sense of relief and achievement on Sunday at 6pm! Same time next year!”


Cook Book Festival crew – photo by Kelly Reeve