Freunde von Freunden recently interviewed me as part of their Culinary Encounters series in collaboration with Siemens. The article and video describe how I have spent my first few months setting up and advising the Food Lab at the Jan van Eyck Academie as well as being a resident myself. It also gives a little insight into my general philosophy and approach to food and sharing food.
I was so lucky to have worked with the social enterprise Mazi Mas, and more importantly, a wonderful group of women, as Culinary Director and coach between December 2016 and August 2018. Mazi Mas offers training and work for immigrant and refugee women who have a passion for food. Mazi Mas gives these women an opportunity to make a living while showing London their colourful culinary heritage.
Far from being unskilled, these women possess skills which are highly marketable in an increasingly food-inspired London . What they lack are the means, knowledge, and networks to turn these skills into economic opportunity. Mazi Mas gives these women the opportunity to engage with a public which is – quite literally – hungry for their talent.
Mazi Mas works in partnership with small businesses and many fellow social enterprises, and sources their produce from local farms. Mazi Mas is passionate about contributing to strengthen local economies and to support other businesses that are dedicated to providing meaningful, fulfilling, and justly paid work.
Mazi Mas was named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by Nesta and The Observer in 2014. This has allowed Mazi Mas to connect with a wonderful group of people who are contributing to positive social change in inspiring and innovative ways, and addressing global problems at a local level.
A few of the women have started their own businesses; please get in touch if you wish to contact and book them for an event and enjoy their incredible dishes yourself.
Drynachan Lodge is located in the Scottish Highlands and owned by Lord Cawdor. Private cheffing at Drynachan means a wealth of local Scottish produce, fresh fish and game to work with and the woods, river and hills to forage. A chef’s dream.
Streatham Common Community Garden (South London) invited me to run an outdoor cooking demonstration and workshop in which I would show growers and visitors of all ages a few recipes and tricks what to do with the wealth of produce they had grown.
Since I grab any opportunity I can to cook on wood-fires or a charcoal BBQ (I absolutely love it), I proposed a veggie based workshop working with everything the season and the garden had to offer (think of fresh peas, rainbow chard, broad beans, potatoes, fresh herbs and strawberries, but also calendula flowers, nasturtium leaves and flowers, angelica root and flowers and vine leaves). The day turned out to be a wonderful gathering and feast.
Tom’s Feast is a catering business that bases its menus on the seasons and has a simple method of creating a menu – study the seasonal ingredients (from wild foraging to cultivated veggies and game), pick what seems instantly inspiring or make use of what it’s a particularly good year for. Caring for the environment has always been paramount to how Tom’s Feast operates a business. In the kitchens waste is minimised by preparing not only meat but vegetables with thrift in mind. All other waste is composted and recycled.
I have been executive chef of Tom’s Feast since 2012 and have been lucky to organise many a Feast, always working with an incredible team.