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. 

Rosalind Rathouse

Episode 45 Rosalind Rathouse
London Cookery School

At 75 years old, when most people are thinking about taking their foot off the gas, this week’s guest has plans to shake up the school curriculum.   

Forget ‘Home Economics’ or ‘Food Technology’. Rosalind Rathouse’s  vision is to offer every child aged between 5 and 15 the chance to go on an annual week-long intensive cookery course.  She believes immersing the younger generation in the delights of baking bread or preparing a roast, would set them up for the rest of their lives – and give them real insight into nutrition and sustainability. 

Rosalind knows what she’s talking about. Her teaching experience spans five decades, starting in South Africa in the late 1960s, with a bit of culinary bribery.  And in the 16 years since her Cookery School at Little Portland Street opened, she has welcomed tens of thousands of students through its doors.   

They include senior figures from all over Africa, taking part in Desmond Tutu’s African Leadership Institute Training Programme.  And if you’re wondering what cookery has to do with executive coaching, all will become clear. 

Episode 42 Steven Lamb
River Cottage – Part Two

Welcome to the second part of my conversation with one of River Cottage’s linchpins.  He’s Steven Lamb, often fondly referred to as the ‘ham and cheese’ man, because he’s the author of the River Cottage handbooks on ‘Curing and Smoking’ as well as ‘Cheese and Dairy’.  

We’re turning back the clock now, to when Steven’s fascination for charcuterie and cured meats began… 

Episode 41 – Steven Lamb
River Cottage – Part One

If I say ‘River Cottage’ to you, what comes to mind?  Perhaps one of its campaigns: Fish Fight, or Chicken Out or War on Waste.   Or maybe you’ve got one of the River Cottage handbooks, diving deep into foodie topics, from cheese to charcuterie.  

That’s the striking thing about River Cottage and its team: the variety of what they do. What started as a docu-drama, following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s attempts to set up his own smallholding 20 years ago, has now grown into a cookery and chefs’ school; three award-winning kitchens and the base for amazing banquet-style get-togethers.  

Steven Lamb has been part of that journey, pretty much from the beginning. He arrived as the team’s new media expert, helping to build its presence online. But nowadays he’s better known as the Cottage’s curing and smoking guru, as well as its expert on cheese and dairy.    

In this, the first part of our conversation, we’ll explore the evolution of River Cottage and Steven’s own career, leaving Big Brother behind to embrace hospitality ‘from a standing start’.   

Episode 33 Michael Bremner
BBC Great British menu winner

Getting to chat to Michael was awesome, like meeting my brother from another mother.  But he has a way cooler accent!  I share Michael’s views on a great deal of issues around hospitality…not least his thoughts around reviews, tripadvisor and the like.  This really was an utterly delightful conversation.

You may already know Michael from the BBC’s Great British Menu programme.  In 2016 he did pretty well, getting to the finals. A year later, he went one better, winning the entire competition and the chance to prepare a banquet for Wimbledon Tennis Club. 

Actually, Michael Bremner wasn’t a stranger to preparing great food under the watchful gaze of the people just about to eat it. When he opened his first restaurant, 64 Degrees, in Brighton in 2013, he designed the restaurant so diners were just an arm’s stretch away from the chefs. They could see the dishes coming together right in front of them. (The same early design also forgot about a bar: you’ll hear how that turned out later!) 

In the next hour you’ll also discover how avoiding food envy has shaped Michael’s award-winning menu…and how he and his partner Carla (who gets legendary status in this edition) had the wherewithal to open a second, very different restaurant only months after his marathon at Great British Menu.