Episode 62 Sue Quinn
Journalist and Cookbook Writer

I always wanted this podcast to be pretty eclectic in it’s range of guests, all hung under this idea of hospitality in its broadest sense, where food and drink is the common denominator.  This weeks guest, Sue Quinn is a food writer and cookbook author.  I wanted to chat to Sue about the importance of the written word in hospitality, and I guess life in general.  The reviewers, the critics and the influencers are all having an impact on our venues and our daily lives.   

From the ghee butter in Olivia Coleman’s Oscar-winning goody bag, and the rise of ultra-processed vegan food to the eery beauty of cacao pods that look like alien lanterns: this gives you a flavour of the range of topics that Sue explores in her writing life. 

But her early career was far removed from food and drink. Sue was a political journalist in Australia before moving the UK as London correspondent. After a stint at the Guardian as a home news reporter, she went freelance, and began editing and then writing cookbooks. 

Sue’s now an award-winning food writer, journalist and cookbook author. Her articles and recipes regularly appear in the Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Guardian and her books range from Easy Vegan to Cocoa, her most recent encyclopaedic work on chocolate. In the interests of research, Sue even travelled to Mexico, where she sampled gorgeous artisanal hot chocolate – something she was well qualified to do because she has accreditations in both chocolate and cheese tasting. 

As you’ll hear, variety really is the spice of this writer’s life – and Sue’s ability to turn her pen to a range of projects is an advantage in a sector which has seen a huge amount of change in the last few years. 

Episode 19 William Curley
Searcys, Harrods, Claridges +

When it comes to chocolatier-patissiers, William Curley is a world-class player. He’s one of only 7 chefs in the UK to have achieved ‘Master of Culinary Arts’.  The chance to earn this accolade – which is the culinary equivalent of a Nobel Prize – only comes round every 4 years…and it took William three attempts.  Gruelling, as you’ll hear…

Perhaps it’s not surprising that William has done so brilliantly. As well as having natural talent, he’s fostered that talent by working with the best, from the moment he became an apprentice at Gleneagles, followed by stints with acclaimed chefs such as Pierre  Koffmann, Anton Edelmann, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White.

You might think that working with big personalities and big brands (Harrods, Claridges, The Savoy …I could go on) would have gone to his head.  Not a bit of it.  As you’ll hear, William is delightful, down-to-earth and humbled by the fact he was able to crowd-fund his latest venture: his own shop in the heart of Soho. This means he can continue to be hands-on, creating amazing chocolates and chocolate patisserie.  Be warned, your mouth will water during the course of this conversation…  Enjoy.

 

Episode 9
Claire Burnet – Chococo

Teenage memories of choosing individual mouth-watering chocolates in Belgium, France and Holland are behind Claire Burnet’s jokey suggestion that she and her husband Andy leave their London jobs and make chocolates in Dorset instead.

Soon after, they’d converted a small hairdressing salon in Swanage into a chocolate kitchen, complete with viewing window… and a tiny shop upstairs.  Yes, that’s right: upstairs!

It was 2002, and Chococo found itself in the vanguard of pioneering chocolate makers: only using fresh ingredients from local producers and sourcing chocolate with a clear provenance from countries like Madagascar, Venezuela and Grenada.

Find out why Claire and Andy use Raisetrade chocolate (it’s different to Fairtrade) … and how the mantra ‘spend a little, learn a lot’ has helped the couple grow their business from that tiny kitchen to four buzzing Chocolate Houses in Hampshire, Devon and Sussex, as well as Dorset…