Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith is about people and politics, climate change and culture – through the prism of food and the latest books of favourite food writers from Claudia Roden to Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Kerridge, Anna Jones, Gill Meller, Olia Hercules, Dan Barber and Raymond Blanc.

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Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith

Yasmin Fahr: Cook Simply, Live Fully

This week, we’re off to Menorca on a bit of an Eat Pray Love story with New York Times journalist, Yasmin Fahr.


Her latest book, Cook Simply, Live Fully is about the options in life. It’s about cooking consciously, taking time to think about what you really want to eat, and being a little kinder to yourself – and the planet. Following your nose, turning left when everyone else is turning right, and having the guts to say 'hell yes' to an adventure is what she’s all about.


Head over to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Yasmin, and if you'd like to see her in conversation with Gilly in a Cooking the Books Live at Rockwater, Hove on July 2nd, click here to book.



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Ozlem Warren: Sebze

This week, Gilly catches up with the queen of Turkish cuisine, Ozlem Warren.


We’ve met Ozlem already on Cooking the Books to talk about her 2020 book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, but this time she’s talking about the side of Turkish cuisine that perhaps we don’t know so well, the vegetables, the sebze, inspired by thousands of years of diverse food histories.


Head over to Gilly's Substack to try out one of the recipes from Ozlem's food moments, and have a listen to her special Cooking the Books Spotfiy playlist, inspired by her DJ years at university in Scotland.



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The Fortnum and Mason Awards 2024

In this extra, special episode, Gilly is with Angela Clutton, who, with Itamar Sulovitch from Honey and co and Leyla Kazim from the Food Programme, was one of the three judges of this year's Fortnum and Mason Awards.


By the time you hear this, the glitz and glamour of these Oscars of the food world will be over for another year. The mass of talent in the room will be nursing their hangovers while the winners will be stroking their crowns. And as one of the nominees recording this before the night, Cooking the Books will, whatever the outcome, be basking in the glory of the biggest food night of the year.


They discuss the nominees and the winners in the food categories: Best Food Book, Best Debut Food Book, Best Cookery Book and Best Debut Cookery Book.



Thanks for listening. Head over to Gilly's Substack for some blurry pictures of the night.


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Caroline Eden: Cold Kitchen

This week, Gilly is with award winning travel writer, Caroline Eden.


Her Cold Kitchen in Edinburgh is where we find her comfort cooking up the recipes she remembers from her travels. Her memories take us on the Trans Siberian Railway, through the dark back streets of a winter in Istanbul and the political chaos of a coup in Kyrgyzstan, and remind us of what travel can do for humanity. 


 This is the recipe for food books which Gilly found so compelling when she first interviewed her about her second book, Black Sea for the delicious podcast, and which was the inspiration for Cooking the Books. It was about  all of life through the prism of food.


Head over to Gilly's Substack for a sound of Caroline's travels and a recipe from the her cold kitchen.



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Georgina Hayden: Greekish

This week, Gilly is with Georgina Hayden, our favourite Cypriot food writer to talk about Greekish, her everyday recipes with Greek roots.


This is about the mash up of all that she is – North London, 2nd generation Greek Cypriot, who with full support from her yiayia, her grandmother, has cooked up a whole story of her family life in the kitchen. Gilly finds out whether the ish in the title has to do with how she feels about spending the last 19 years writing recipes from her intercultural heritage.


Check out a recipe from Greekish on Gilly's Substack.


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Kevan Roberts: The School of Artisan Food

This week, Gilly is off to stunning Welbeck country estate in the heart of Nottinghamshire to the School of Artisan Food to meet head baker, Kevan Roberts.


His book Baking Sourdough takes us on a sensory journey to the roots of traditional bread making, and as the School prepares for this years’ summer school courses, Gilly finds out why sour dough and artisan food matters so much.


Check out Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites from the School of Artisan Food.



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Nicola Lamb: Sift

This week, Gilly is with Nicola Lamb, one of the nominees of this year’s Jane Grigson Trust Award for best debut food writer.


Her book Sift is an extraordinarily accomplished first book by a pastry chef trained in London and New York by the best - Ottolenghi, Dominique Ansel and Little Bread Pedlar. Her Substack, Kitchen Projects was praised as an ‘incredible resource’ by The Observer, and her recipes have been featured in Serious EatsThe Guardian, OliveVogue, and ESMagazine and she hosts sell-out pastry parties with her pop-up bakery, lark!


Check out Gilly's Substack for a recipe from one of her food moments.




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Michael Zee: Breakfast of China

This week, Gilly explores art, philosophy and food with third generation British-Chinese photographer and Instagram superstar, Michael Zee


His Symmetry Breakfast account  featured his photographs of symmetrical breakfasts every day for 10 years and has 667k followers. In his latest book Zao Fan, Breakfast of China, it's with his anthropological eye that he looks beyond the dishes to place, people and home.


Check Gilly's Substack for recipes and photography from Michael's book.


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Spasia Dinkovski: Doma

This week we’re off to North Macedonia via Crawley with Spasia Dinkovski 


Spasia’s book, Doma, meaning home, is one of Gilly's favourite journeys, back to where it all started. She may have been born in Crawley, but her heart, she finds out through her cooking and her writing, is with the women who fed her soul in Macedonian summers.  


Already spotted as an Observer Food Monthly Rising Star, she took an Instagram lockdown hobby and made it into a supper club and shop in South London called Mystic Burek. The book is a story of a second generation immigrant ,inspired, like so many writers who come on to this show and  to Gilly's How to Cook a Book retreats, by her grandmother, her baba.


Click here for Gilly's Substack and some Extra Bites of Spasia.


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Chris Newens: Moveable Feasts

This week, Gilly takes us back to last week's Jane Grigson Trust Awards for debut food book writers to meet the winner, Chris Newens. He may still be writing his book, Moveable Feasts: Paris in Twenty Meals, but Gilly helps him unpack four food moments which open a door on Parisian food through its 20 arrondissements.


Check into Gilly's Substack to listen to chair of The Jane Grigson Trust, Don Sloan explain what the judges were looking for in this year's nominees.


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Rebecca Sullivan: First Nations Food Companion

This week, Gilly Zooms over to the Clare Valley just outside Adelaide in South Australia to catch up with food writer, TV presenter, sustainable living advocate, urban farmer, entrepreneur and the queen of Granny Skills, Rebecca Sullivan to talk about her book, with partner Damian Coulthard, First Nations Food Companion.


Gilly first met Rebecca in 2016 at a conference at the University of California in Berkely about the role of food In the health of everything that we care about. Although Gilly had written a lot about Australia over the years by then, what Rebecca told her over several glasses of wine one evening about the epiphany that led to the creation of her nations company, Warndu, blew her mind.  


Pop over to Gilly's Substack to find recipes from Rebecca's food moments by clicking here.


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Anna Jones: Easy Wins


This week, Gilly is discussing Easy Wins with the award-winning and best-selling queen of vegetarian food, Anna Jones. Her latest book is packed with stunning recipes and ideas for getting so much more taste and less waste on our plates.


Easy Wins has 125 brand new recipes around 12 hero ingredients, all designed to make our lives easier. But with two small kids, that can’t be an easy win for her. Gilly finds out how she does it.


Do head to Extra Bites on Gilly's Substack to get a taste of some of Anna’s recipes.


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Angela Clutton: Seasoning

This week, Gilly is with Angela Clutton to talk about her latest book, Seasoning.


This is so much more than a bit of salt and pepper. It's about how climate is changing our seasons with its earlier springs, longer summers, warmer, wetter winters and the role we play.  It has all the hallmarks of a modern classic, a book packed with the rigour we associate with Angela’s award-winning writing but brimming with flavour and delicious ideas to reduce our waste and get more – much more – out of the here and now. 


Click here for Extra Bites on Gilly's Substack


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Charles Clover: Rewilding the Sea

This week, Gilly is with Charles Clover, author of Rewilding the Sea to dive deep into the world behind our fish.


Charles is a seasoned environmental journalist, super campaigner, co-author of King Charles’ Highgrove: Portrait of an Estate.  And as co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, he’s bringing life back to our oceans.


Margaret Atwood calls his book a 'game changer,' Isabella Tree says 'it’s desperately needed', George Monbiot says ‘what if our seas became productive again with giant sturgeon, halibut and skate – it’s closer than you think.’


Head over to Extra Bites on Gilly's Substack to hear Charles tell us another of his massive wins for the sea, this time in Dogger.


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Karen Newby: The Natural Menopause Method

This week, Gilly is with nutritionist, Karen Newby hot on the heels of an Instagram live with the Queen of the Menopause, Davina Mcall, on her new book The Natural Menopause Method.


It’s a book for our times. Since Davina’s documentary about HRT, everyone’s talking about menopause. Karen's book is all about food, but it’s not a recipe book. This is about arming women with the information we need to dodge the drug industry, understand how food heals and to live in harmony with one of the natural events in our lives.


Head to Extra Bites on Gilly's Substack to watch Karen make a simple minestrone soup rich in collagen – although she does drop her phone into it.


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Michel Roux Junior: At Home

This week, Gilly is with one of the main players in the story of modern British food, Michel Roux Junior


His Mayfair restaurant, le Gavroche is a London legend, and its closure last month  57 years after his father and uncle, the Roux Brothers changed the game in British food, is a milestone in the way we eat.  At 63, he’s ready for the next chapter, and he’s marking it with his latest book, Michel Roux at home. I asked him how he’s feeling.



Head to Gilly's Substack Extra Bites for recipes from Michel's food moments.


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Ashia Ismail-Singer: Ashia's Table

This week, Gilly is with Ashia Ismail- Singer to talk food identity and how food culture travels across borders. 


Her books Ashia’s Table and Saffron Swirls and Cardamon Dust, and her 3rd, The Laden Table which comes out in April, are about her Indian food culture, born in India, brought up in Malawi and the UK and fused with the best of New Zealand.


Check for the recipes from Ashia's food moments on Extra Bites on Gilly's Substack



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Dina Macki: Bahari

This week, Gilly is with the word on Omani food, Dina Macki.


Her first book, Bahari: Recipes from an Omani Kitchen and Beyond is out today, but it’s been a long time coming; the Jane Grigson Trust Award which she won in 2023 is the annual pointer to the best of the brand new food writers before their books are even finished, and the world has been longing to see what the fuss is all about. 


Born and brought up in an Omani community in Portsmouth, she tells us how learning about her own food culture has taught her about herself, and shows us around a country which has become so much more than a homeland.


Click here for Gilly's Substack to find the recipes behind the food moments.


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Gemma Ogston: The Healing Cookbook

This week, as part of a new season for the New Year on how to live, be and do better, Gilly is with plant-based chef and author, Gemma Ogston to talk about how to get well enough to be your best self.


Gemma's journey through dis-ease led to a career in addiction counselling and nourishing DJs and 24 hour party people back to health in her temporary home in Barcelona. Her simple guide to wellness in her second book, The Healing Cookbook is about long term health, and has catapulted her to fame on Saturday Kitchen and This Morning with its immunity boosting shots and medicinal mushrooms to help us supercharge our every day lives.


Do head to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites from Gem where you’ll find some of the recipes they discuss on the show. 


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Lynn Cassells: Our Wild Farming Life

This week, Gilly is with Lynn Cassells who with her partner Sandra Baer are two of the most inspiring women you’re likely to hear on Cooking the Books this year. 


Our Wild Farming Life is their story of following a dream, moving from South East England to the Scottish Highlands to regenerate an 150 acre farm. It was more than a dream – it was a calling to reconnect with the land, to find out what role people can play in nature, and to tell their story to people who are aching to know the answer. it started with a mind map around a kitchen table. and Gilly began by asking Lynn if she looked back at it now, would she have followed the same path. 


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Nik Sharma: Veg Table

This week, Gilly is with food writer and photographer, molecular biologist, multiple James Beard award-winner, Nik Sharma. His latest book Veg-Table is all over the Best of the Year lists for his original scientific take on vegetables which has opened up a whole new way of eating.



Check out Gilly's Substack for Nik's Extra Bites


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The Official 2024 Veganuary Cookbook with Toni Vernelli


To kick off a brand new year of life through the prism of food, Gilly is with the Head of Communications and Marketing at Veganuary, Toni Vernelli to talk about the 2024 edition of the Official Veganuary Cookbook.


It's 10 years since Veganuary first made January its own, encouraging people all over the world to try out a meat free month for the sake of our own health and that of the planet. And it’s been a phenomenal success with only two countries in the world - North Korea and the Vatican City - NOT signed up for this year's month long meat free pledge. Gilly finds out the secret of its success.


Do head to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites from the Veganuary crew. And if you want more plants in your life, do listen in next week to Nik Sharma on his latest book Veg Table.


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Alex Jackson: Frontières

This week, Gilly is with Alex Jackson, Noble Rot chef, former restaurateur at Sardine and author of Frontieres.


He talks about his long love affair with France, and particularly with its food, but it’s the edges that we’re after here, The Italianness of the French Riveiera , the spices of  Provence, melting pot of Marseille. It’s about an adventure in French cooking through the prism of the others that make modern France French.


Head over to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Alex's Frontieres.




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Kevin Geddes: Keep Calm and Fanny On

This week, Gilly's with a man after her own heart. There are very few people who write about TV chefs and their place in British food culture, but Kevin Geddes, author of Keep Calm and Fanny On and Gilly, who wrote Taste and the TV Chef (2020) are two of them.


Channel 5 is showing an hour long documentary on December 28th called the 70s Dinner Party in which Gilly joins Dr Annie Gray to talk about the social history of the TV chef. She and Kevin celebrate by diving deeply into the '70s food world through the prism of Fanny Cradock, and find much more than green mashed potato and mince meat omelette.


Head to Gilly's Substack for some Extra Bites on the Channel 5 show.


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These Delicious Things: a charity cookbook for Magic Breakfast

This week, Gilly is with private chef, Jane Hodson, food writer, Lucas Hollweg and probably the most influential of social media food influencers, photographer Clerkenwell Boy to discuss These Delicious Things, a charity cookbook featuring recipes and childhood food memories from the likes of Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Stanley Tucci. 


The idea began when Jane and Lucas, hunkered down on a winter’s night, as Jane writes in the introduction, wondered if a collective memoir, featuring the shining lights of the British food scene could raise money for the charity Magic Breakfast. With the help of Clerkenwell Boy’s contact list and influence, it’s become the best anthology of its kind that sets a new standard in charity fund raising. 


Click on the link to Gilly's Substack for more delicious things in Extra Bites, and here to buy it.


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Dina Begum: Made in Bangladesh

This week, Gilly is with Dina Begum, whose book, Made in Bangladesh celebrates the food and folklore and of the old country which she left when she was four years old.

It was first book, Brick Lane which first opened the door on what was happening in the kitchen of our East End curry houses, and propelled her into pole position as authority on British Bangladeshi culture. Gilly explores with her why she chose to take us back to Bangladesh and what she wanted to find.


Check into Gilly's Substack to watch Dina's mum make paan.


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Joe Woodhouse: More Daily Veg

This week, Gilly is on Hove seafront with an old friend of the podcast, Joe Woodhouse to talk about More Daily Veg.


A lot has happened since they first met on Zoom to talk about his first book, Your Daily Veg. While the Ukraine war has rocked his family life – his wife is the Ukrainian food writer and Cook for Ukraine champion, Olia Hercules, their three year old son, Wilf was diagnosed with a mild form of autism, and vegetables have actually landed properly on the British plate. Gilly catches up with him on a bench over looking the sea to ponder on the enormity of it all 


Head to Gilly's Substack to see what Joe has cooked up for us over on Extra Bites



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Alexina Anatole: Bitter

This week, Gilly is talking to Alexina Anatole about the least pleasant of our five tastes: bitter. Or is it?


Alexina's series of cookbooks on the five tastes: Bitter, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Umamia is a step-by-step exploration of flavour, and an impressive start to a what looks like a masisve career for this bright young spark who swapped the trading floor for Masterchef in 2020.  


In the first book, Bitter, she sets out to tame bitterness, showing us how to soothe it with dairy, balance it with sweetness and distract it with acidity. But Gilly quickly became much more interested in this super-driven polymath of a woman who has everything food TV needs right now.


Pop over to Gilly's Substack to hear more of Alexina's hidden talents.


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Russell Norman: Brutto

This week, Gilly is with Russell Norman, the award-winning restaurateur, writer and broadcaster who brought Italy to the British high street, first through Polpo, the book and chain of Venetian style restaurants which gave us small plate food culture, and now Brutto, the Florentine trattoria next to London’s Smithfield market.



Brutto, the book, is about much more than the recipes of the restaurant. It’s an ode to Florence where we find what Russell calls the 'ugly but beautiful' food that the Tuscan capital is really all about.



Don't forget to head to Gilly's Substack to see what Russell has cooked up over on Extra Bites


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Donal Skehan: Home Kitchen

This week, Gilly is talking about what home means to Irish TV chef, Donal Skehan.


Donal has moved a lot in his massive career on TV, from Eurovision to Saturday Kitchen and on to Food Network in LA. Now, with wife Sofie and their two young boys, he’s come home to Ireland. His 11th cook book, Home Kitchen, is a meditation on home, nostalgia and who he is now as a food writer.


Check Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites from Donal


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Bee Wilson: The Secret of Cooking

This week, Gilly is with one of Britain’s very best food writers, the author of First Bite and The Way We Eat Now, Bee Wilson.


After years of writing about the psychology and history of food, this is Bee’s very first cook book. It’s packed with recipes for an easier life in the kitchen, as the sub title suggests, but the Secret of Cooking is not just a treasure trove of simple dishes, but how food can heal, as Bee learnt from her own experience after her husband left her in the summer of 2020.


Head to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites from Bee




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Anya Von Bremzen: National Dish

This week, Gilly is digging deeply into the construction of identtiy through the food with multi award-winning Russian writer Anya von Bremzen.


National Dish is a fascinating book which explores how certain foods become the cultural signifiers of France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and Turkey. Mixing academic rigour with chats at bars and cook ups in local kitchens, she stirs up a load of our assumptions, but does she find the answer?


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Giulia Scarpaleggia: Cucina Povera

This week, while Gilly is talking about the roots of Italian cuisine, Cucina Povera


Giulia Scarpaleggia began her food writing career as a blogger and photographer before becoming one of the most respected writers on Italian food. Her book Cucina Povera is all about her respect for the inguity of peasant cooking which reveals the soul of Italian food at its best.


Head to Gilly's Substack to hear why Giulia loves British food writers so much.


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Julius Roberts: The Farm Table

This week, Gilly's with the king of Tik Tok, the idol of Insta and star of channel 5’s A Taste of the Country, Julius Roberts.


His debut cook book The Farm Table is a beautifully written story of a young man following his dream from cheffing to farming, with goats who think they’re dogs, pigs begging for a tummy tickle and an idyllic walk through the seasons. An audience of 500k on both Instagram and Tik Tok has followed his insipring journey to find himself, while he’s become one of the most compelling advocates for modern British food and regenerative farming. Give that man a Netflix show, and he will save the planet. 


Head over to Gilly's Substack for an Extra Bite of Julius.


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Diana Henry: Roast Figs, Sugar Snow

This week, Gilly is with one of Britain’s very best food writers, Diana Henry.


The new edition of her 2005 book Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is a lyrical walk through the autumn leaves and winter wonderlands of her favourite food places in the world as she shares the delicious finds that have made her one of Britain’s most well-respected and award-winning food writers.


It’s a book that makes you feel warmed to your bones. But Diana has been dogged by depression for years, and has faced some major life challenges recently, including cheating death. Gilly was fascinated in how she created such a work of joy, and the dichotomy of pleasure and pain.


Head over to Gilly's Substack to find Diana's personal photos from her trips for Roast Figs, and to hear an early interview for The Write Songs which Gilly did with Diana in 2017.


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Isabella Tree: The Book of Wilding

This week, Gilly is at Knepp with the queen of wilding, Isabella Tree.


The Knepp estate is an extraordinary pioneering wilding project to restore nature which Isabella captured so beautifully in her 2019 book Wilding.  Chris Packham called it ‘A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land'. Now, The Book of Wilding breaks that story down into encyclopaedic form for everyone to refer to, however big or small their garden.  


And if you’d like more from Knepp, head over to Gilly's Substack to hear her 2019 interview with Isabella at Knepp where they were joined by that majestic red stag.




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Bri DiMattina: Nostrana

This week on Cooking the Books, Italian-Kiwi gardener and cook, Bri DiMattina tells us how she’s grown a food forest using permaculture principles in her garden in New Zealand.


Her book Nostrana, meaning ‘home grown’ is also an extraordinary story of Italian food heritage in New Zealand. It’s the legacy of her grandparents growing a new world for themselves and their fellow Italians during the economic migration in the early 1900s. But as Bri celebrates its publication in the UK - and Nigella's pick in her Cookbook Corner - she tells Gilly how her Instagram page @iatemygarden was never meant for the book shelves.


Check out Gilly's Substack for much more on Bri's permaculture principles than you'll find in the book!


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Conor Spacey: Wasted

This week, Gilly is with Conor Spacey, chef, culinary director of Food Space Ireland and one of the movers and shakers behind the Chefs' Manifesto, a community of over 1000 chefs in 110 countries making real change in the world of food


His book Wasted is packed with recipes for the kitchen waste we all have in our homes, and it’s ingenius. Check Gilly's Substack for a chocolate cake recipe made from stale bread!


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Adriana Cavita: Cocina Mexicana

This week, Gilly is with Adriana Cavita, the brilliant Mexican chef and, now author of Cocina Mexicana, whose journey from her grandmother’s street food stall to top international restaurants like Pujol and El Bulli has brought the real flavours of Mexico to London. 


Have a listen to the resilience of this woman – she’s like a hurdler, jumping the barriers of gender, language, money and envy to open her own restaurant in London. She says that this book is for all the women of her home country, for women everywhere whose struggle can lead to such massive change in the world. 


Head over to Gilly's Substack for more from her guests in Extra Bites.


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Petty Elliott: The Indonesian Table

This week, Gilly is with the Indonesian chef behind her last sell out supper club, Petty Elliott. Her book, The Indonesian Table is a seminal work on the food of this archipelagic state of 17000 islands. We might think we know the flavours of Bali, Java, maybe even Sumatra, but Minangkabau? Manado? Banda Island? Probably not.


Petty brought Indonesian food to a hungry public for the first time 20 years ago as a food journalist and chef, and has been cooking for some of the most influential people in the world since. Gilly met her at the British Library to talk about her book, why she chose this most hallowed of literary venues and being a card carrying member of this very British institution.


Check Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Petty and her Indonesian Table


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Helen Rebanks: The Farmer's Wife

This week, in the last of this mini series on Matrescence, Gilly is with Helen Rebanks, farmer, businesswoman, teacher, conservationist and a working mother of four.


She's also wife to Britain’s most famous farmer, James Rebanks whose phenomenal success with his books The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral (as featured on Cooking the Books), changed the way we look at farming. 


Now Helen tells the story of The Farmer’s Wife and looks at the values of an old fashioned way of life rooted in hard work and mothering her children on a farm in the Lake District.


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Emiko Davies: Gohan

This week, Gilly is with Emiko Davies, the Australian born, half Japanese writer on Italian food who lives with her family in Florence to talk about Japan.


Her book Gohan is the story of her childhood food, fed to her by her Japanese mother in Australia and by her grandparents in Japan. It's the Japanese word for rice, but it also means ‘family meal’ and for Emiko, the only word as the title for her latest book. As she explores who she is through her food, we learn how mothers can hold the key to a child's sense of self, and how complicated - and how simple - that can be.


Click here for more information on Matrescence, and head over to Gilly's Substack to hear more from Emiko on Matrescence


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Tara Wigley: How to Butter Toast

This week, in the third in a special series this summer on Matrescence, Gilly is with Tara Wigley, co-author of the award-winning Falastin, in-house writer of Team Ottolenghi, Yotam’s co-author on eight of the biggest food books, including the million-seller, Ottolenghi Simple.. and mother of teen twins and a tween.


Her hilarious and often biting ditties on Instagram have won her a new audience which is interested more in her own voice; when she asked Gilly what she thought of an early idea of a book version, she knew it would be a shoo in. How to Butter Toast is a recipe book without recipes, a rhyming route through the how-tos of cooking, but as Gilly finds out, it's also about putting form to an often chaotic life at home!


For more information on Matrescence, click here.


And head to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites.


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Shivi Ramoutar: Cook Clever

This week, in the second in a special series on matrescence, Gilly is talking about morning telly, cook hacks and motherhood with TV chef, Shivi Ramoutar.


Shivi is the Caribbean Queen of Morning TV. She’s the chef on Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show, she was the TV Chef on Garraway’s Good Stuff and cooked with the Kemps on Martin and Roman’s Weekend Best. She's a  regular guest on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and ITV’s This Morning and has even appeared on Celebrity Mastermind. Her latest book Cook Clever is packed

with cook hacks for her massive audience.


And as a mother to 7 and 4-year-olds and a 9 month baby, she has plenty to say about matrescence. As we aim to explode the word into the national conversation to describe the process of mothering that really never stops, she tell us how's she's getting on.  It’s estimated that perinatal mental health problems alone cost the NHS and social services around £1.2 billion annually, and Shivi is only too ready to share her journey so far. 


For more information on Matrescence, click here.


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Chetna Makan: Chetna's Indian Feasts

This week, Gilly's at the home of award-winning recipe writer, author and YouTuber, one of Bake Off’s most celebrated winners and mother of 2, Chetna Makan to talk about her new book, Chetna’s Indian Feasts.   


But in this first episode of a special series this summer, we’re talking about food through the prism of matrescence, the raw ingredients which make up the heady mix of motherhood and provide the recipe for life. Like adolescence, matrescence shows us a picture of process, and with it an implicit understanding of what that means. Just as adolescents are always adults in training, so matrescents are mothers in training, and that never stops.


The word was coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in 1973 to describe the experience of half the global population but which is barely known, barely discussed, barely acknowledged. On the contrary, we’re supposed to know it all the minute we give birth.  It’s estimated that perinatal mental health problems alone cost the NHS and social services around £1.2 billion annually. Imagine the impact on families and wider society of way post natal mental health issues – the massive lows that come with the roller coaster of emotions of motherhood – at all ages and stages.


The aim of this Cooking the Books series is to introduce the word into the national conversation.  Chetna is the first of four writers, mothers, matrescents who have much to say on the subject throughout the whole of August. For more information and where to get help, click here.


Check Gilly's Substack each week for Extra Bites from each guest.



And if you'd like support with your own matrescence, click here for information


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Maria Bradford: Sweet Salone

This week, Gilly is with Maria Bradford, author of Sweet Salone, the first book to tell the story of the food from her homeland of Sierra Leone. 


Maria came to the UK as a student and grew up with her guardian in a village in Kent, far from the colourful food culture spreading through London’s West African communities. But it was her sense of being different that has led to her becoming the word on Sierra Leonian food. Here she goes back to find the food that it took a lifetime to realise was such a big part of her sense of self.


Check Gilly's Substack for Maria's Extra Bites


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Imad Alarnab: Imad's Syrian Kitchen

This week, Gilly is with Syrian chef, restaurateur and charity pop-up king, Imad Alarnab, whose story has become a symbol of hope for so many migrants fleeing their war-torn homelands.


His book, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is so much more than a book of recipes from Syria. It’s the story of gritty determination to make a better life for his family, of meeting angels even  when he was in the depth of despair, and the extraordinary healing that food from home can provide.  


Head over to Gilly's Substack to hear her very first podcast series Jaibli Salaam which tells the story of six Syrian families in Brighton through their food and music memories.


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Amy Newsome: Honey

This week, Gilly is with cook, gardener and beekeeper, Amy Newsome. Her book, Honey: Recipes From a Beekeeper's Kitchen takes us through the beekeeper’s year, arguing the case for less but better honey from inside the bee hive. Her holistic approach takes us from terroir to table via a garden designed for bees, while her four food moments capture the alchemy a pot of honey can achieve.




Check in to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Amy and her honeybees.


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Emily Scott: Time and Tide

This week, Gilly is with the woman who cooked for Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, the late Queen and the leaders of the Western world at the G7 conference in 2020. But as she opens up about what drives her, she reveals that she didn't always feel such a superwoman.


Her restaurant Emily Scott Food, perched on the beach at Newquay, has settled into the excellence of the Cornish food landscape now and as she finds more time to write, she reveals in her second book,Time and Tide, much more of her inner and outer world on the Cornish coast


Her food memories take her through her early tricky relationship with food. And as she explains her process of writing, we get a sense of how this newer career has given her a sense of calm she’s been chasing much of her life. 


Head over to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Emily reading an extract from Time and Tide.


#emilyscott #emilyscottfood #timeandtide #eatingdisorderrecovery #anorexia 


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Clare Finney: Hungry Heart

This week Gilly is with journalist and author, Clare Finney whose new book, Hungry Heart is a memoir which unravels a tricky relationship with food. 


As she explores her own story with food, she unravels the complexities of British food culture in conversation with famous friends, Diana Henry, Bee Wilson and Gurd Loyal, academics and school friends.


Head over to Gilly's Substack for Clare's Extra Bites.


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Ravinder Bhogal: Comfort and Joy

This week, Gilly is with chef, restaurateur, journalist and award winning writer, Ravinder Bhogal.


Her latest book, Comfort and Joy: Irresistible Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen celebrates the legacy of her grandfather and the life he built, ground up, for her family in Kenya


Her writing is surely some of the best in Britain today, and her poetic meditations on where we are with an increasingly plant focussed food culture combined with the stunning photography by Kristen Perers, are deeply seductive. This is a gamechanger in vegetarian cook books.


Check Gilly's Extra Bites on Substack to hear Ravinder reading one of these beautiful essays.



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Jenny Jefferies; For the Love of the Sea II

This week Gilly is going fishing with Jenny Jefferies, author of For the Love of the Sea, who has made it her mission to give a voice to the hidden fisherfolk of Britain, capturing the detail of their daily work, their passion and their massively important contribution to our economy. 


Gilly and Jenny discuss sustainability, politics and why an island nation has such a problem with seafood.


Head over to Gilly's Substack to find Jenny's suggestion of how to write to your MP to fight for the future of our fishing culture.



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Jenny Chandler: A Good Appetite

This week Gilly is with Jenny Chandler whose book A Good Appetite is all about eating for planet, body and soul.


It's a subject particularly close to Gilly's heart; her award-winning book Taste and the TV Chef looked at the influence TV chefs have had and could have in changing the way we eat. Her podcast for Leon How to Eat to Save the Planet and her work for Compassion in World Farming, the Food Foundation and Cooking the Books itself itself are all rooted in the interdependence between where food, health, soil and planet.


Expect then, a good old rant about where we are in the race to save the planet, our junk food culture and an unconscious sleepwalk towards doom! Happily, Jenny has a more upbeat approach!


Check Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites each week.


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James Whetlor: The DIY BBQ CookBook

This week, Gilly is with James Whetlor, former chef at River Cottage and The Eagle in Farringdon with a whole new take on the barbecue.


For festival goers, upcycling hobbyists and outdoor cooking fanatics, James has come up with genius ways to easily build your own. Before she traces the fascinating dark history of the barbecue with James, Gilly asks why a man who admits he can’t even put up a shelf decided to write The DIY BBQ CookBook.


Check out Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites every episode.



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Niki Segnit: The Flavour Thesaurus - More Flavours

This week, Gilly is with Niki Segnit,  the award-winning author of The Flavour Thesaurus, Lateral Cooking, and now The Flavour Thesaurus: More Flavours, 


The original Flavour Thesaurus published in 2011 has been called “a masterpiece” and is widely seen as a modern classic with its flavour pairings format inspired by Roget’s Thesaurus.  This sequel is all about plant-led pairings, giving us imaginative and ingenious ideas to make our plant forward diets so much more exciting.




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Saghar Setareh: Pomegranates and Artichokes

This week, Gilly is with Iranian food writer and photographer, Saghar Setareh whose debut book Pomegranates & Artichokes is the story of two food cultures that share so much in common but which are worlds apart.


Saghar was born in Tehran and moved to Rome in 2007 to study at the Fine Art Academy. But by 2009 protests against the new regime broke out in all the major cities and led to what has become known as the Green Revolution or Persian Spring, and suddenly Saghar found herself unable to go home.  


Gilly asks her about her dedication in the book to those who dare to live a life. to those who move ‘braving the seas and the mountains, the men and their borders’.


Head over to Gilly’s Substack as she takes Saghar’s orange rice cake to Claudia Roden whose legendary orange and almond cake is Saghar’s inspiration.


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Jennifer Medhurst: The Imperfect Nutritionist

This week Gilly is with former lawyer, Jennifer Medhurst, aka The Imperfect Nutritionist.


And while there's plenty of talk about gut health, this episode focusses on mental health and exhaustion after the interview took an unexpected turn.


Gilly asked Jennifer about a rather throwaway line in the introduction to her book about her own recovery from a long illness, and opened a fascinating discussion about the impact of diet on stress and mental health.


For all those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, long covid, or just life exhaustion, this is for you.


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Saliha Mahmood Ahmed: The Kitchen Prescription

This week, Gilly is back with MasterChef winner, author and doctor, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed.


She’s a historian, a TV chef and a gastroenterologist with a kitchen clinic, and she’s on a mission to prescribe food to fix our obesity crisis. Gilly first meet Saliha on the delicious. podcast when she took her through the fascinating history of food in the Mughal empire in Khazana. They met again for Foodology,  her often hilarious handbook to healthy eating, and now she’s back with The Kitchen Prescription, her no-nonsense doctor’s guide to the gut.


Check Gilly's Substack for Saliha's video on how to make her prebiotic tabbouleh in Extra Bites


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Sarah Wyndham Lewis: Wild Bees

This week, Gilly is with honey sommelier and bee champion, Sarah Wyndham Lewis


Her book, The Wild Bee Handbook is a fascinating insight into the world of the 'other' bees, the ones that don't make honey but go almost completely unnoticed. Their role in the protection of the planet is mighty, and as the unsung guardians of biodiversity, we all need to know much more about them and what we can do to protect them against the risk of extinction.  


Click here for Sarah's bee friendly recipes on Gilly's Substack



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Andi Oliver: The Pepperpot Diaries

This week Gilly is with chef, TV presenter and now, finally author, Andi Oliver


She’s one of the most successful black women on British TV, a respected pundit on Caribbean cooking on Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and rocking it in the best frocks on the telly in the Great British Menu. And after her return to her ancestral home of Antigua with her daughter Miquita for the BBC,  she’s rethinking her connection with who she is. Her mix of musings and recipes from her trip though the Caribbean are captured in her first book, The Pepperpot Diaries, a stirring together of her stories and complex layers of identity. 


And as she and Gilly contemplate what it means to be 60, she tells us what it’s felt like waiting to exhale.


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Dr Rupy Cooks

This week, Gilly is with Rupy Aujla to talk gut health, flavour and his latest book, Dr Rupy Cooks


He’ s a best selling author,  a BBC presenter, a podcaster - his podcast The Doctor’s Kitchen is massive, his Instagram following is in 6 figures and somehow he manages to make it to work as a GP.  If anyone can change the narrative about why heatlhy eating is so important for the whole of society, it’s Dr Rupy.


And of course, it all starts in the gut. For two of the recipes from his four food moments, go to Gilly's Substack for some Extra Bites, and to hear Rupy on the latest episode of the Food Foundation Podcast on 5 years of the Sugar Tax, click here



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Sumayya Usmani: Andaza

This week, Gilly is going to Pakistan, through the memories of food writer and writing coach, Sumayya Usmani 


Her memoir, Andaza tells the everyday stories about life and food in Karachi. It sees the kitchen as a place where young Pakistani girls learn much more from their mothers and grandmothers than how to make a recipe, but how to feed, how to nurture and how to connect.


For Extra Bites accompanying Cooking the Books episodes, go to Gilly's Substack


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Ozlem's Turkish Table

This week Gilly is with Turkish food writer and chef, Ozlem Warren 


Ozlem found fame as a blogger after moving here in 2009, and her supper clubs, meze nights and her book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table have made her the name in Turkish food.


But since her home town of Antakya  was devastated by the recent earthquake, she’s raised thousands for the relief effort with the help of food influencers like Melissa Thompson, Ravneet Gill, Ixta Belfrage and Clerkenwell Boy, as well as a Cooking the Books fundraiser supper club. Gilly catches up with her after an emotional journey back to Turkey, not least because of the death of her mother. 


To donate to the Disasters and Emergencies Commission Turkish and Syrian relief fund, click here


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Sarah Raven: A Year Full of Veg

This week, Gilly is gardening with teacher, podcaster and Telegraph columnist, Sarah Raven


Sarah has seen massive changes in how our gardens grow over her 25 years as a gardening pundit.  For anyone interested in food and the planet, growing, even if it’s just a few herbs on the window sill, seems a no-brainer.  Her latest book A Year full of Veg gets to the heart of that relationship and how to grow your own kitchen garden.


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Sarah Woods: Desi Kitchen

This week, Gilly is exploring the secret kitchens of Britain’s Desi kitchens with Britain's Best Home Cook finalist, Sarah Woods.


Her book Desi Kitchen is part of the current crop of second generation Indian cookbooks which are hitting the shelves right now. But Sarah’s tells the story of the communities in which Desi people from the Indian Sub continent have enriched so much of Britain with their food and spiritual cultures.  


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Regula Ysewijn: Dark Rye and Honey Cake

This week, Gilly time travels through the centuries with Belgian writer Regula Ysewijn to explore the rich history of the food from her homeland.


An anglophile who binged on Bronte and Austen since she was a child, Regula has spent much of her food writing life focussing on British baking. She’s a consultant for the National Trust and even wrote the Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook. But in her book Dark Rye and Honey Cake, she’s going home to Belgium, the long way. As she digs deep into the food of the ancient Dutch language low countries, she traces the influence of their festival baking on the food culture in modern Belgium. 


And head over to Substack for some Extra Bites from CTB guests each week.


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Skye McAlpine: A Table Full of Love

This week, Gilly is Zooming into the 17th-century Palazzo home in Venice of Skye McAlpine


The daughter of Lord Alistair McAlpine, one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest advisers, Skye grew up in Venice where she now lives with her own family. A classics scholar with a PhD in ancient love poetry, she’s an expert on how Greeks and Romans understood love. And in her latest cook book, A Table Full of Love, she writes a culinary love letter to the friends and family whose recipes she’s gathered over time, whisking in memories and a dash of affection.


If the first two books were about Venice and friends and mismatched but beautiful China collected in flea markets, this is a deeper read about memories and feelings in the language of love.   Or is it?


Follow Gilly @foodgillysmith on Instagram, and on Substack each week for a little Extra Bite from Gilly's guests.  Come to Venice with Skye in this week’s post.


If you'd like to learn how to really say something, you can join Gilly's podcasting course at Use the promo code GILLY_4-PROMO


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Gurdeep Loyal: Mother Tongue

This week, Gilly chats to a new voice in food writing, Gurdeep Loyal. Diana Henry calls him 'amazing, original, boundary breaking, a genius with flavour’. He's a cool hunter, a podcaster and writer and his debut cookbook Mother Tongue has exploded a whole new way of thinking about Indian food.


Since he won the Jane Grigson Trust award in 2020 for his proposal for Mother Tongue, the food world has been salivating as we wait for the arrival of the final book. Anna Jones says ‘every so often a rare cookbook comes along which brings something completely new and fascinating to the world of food.’ Claudia Roden says she’s thrilled 'to be drawn into Gurdeep’s extroarindary diaspora and fantastic world of flavours.' Felicity Cloake says he’s 'a Willy Wonka wizard of flavour.'



Follow Gilly on Instagram @foodgillysmith, and you can also find a little surprise over on Substack each week as she asks her guests for a little extra something. Gurdeep has not only created a special Cooking the Books Spotify playlist, but written beautifully on her Substack about his choices. It’s a must read and listen.  


And if you'd like to learn how to podcast and really say something, you can sign up for her Domestika course. Use the promo code GILLY_4-PROMO


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Elisabeth Luard: European Peasant Cookery

This week, Gilly has lunch with one of Britain’s most respected and original voices in British food writing, Elisabeth Luard.


A well-known writer, botanical artist and broadcaster, her many books have brought us stories of her family life in Andalucia in the 1960s set among the history, landscapes and culture of Europe. European Peasant Cookery was first published in 1986 and reprinted again at Christmas, and  is seen as one of the most important books in modern British food writing. Tom Parker Bowles in the Mail on Sunday called it 'one of the great cook books of all time.'  


The 500 recipes tell much more than how to boil a lobster or salt a cod - they remind us of a way of life that Europeans had been living for centuries. Gilly takes her back to that life in Andalucia in the ‘60s to relive some of her favourite memories, and to discuss the legacy of the book at a time when the resilience skills of the peasant have never been so important.


Check out Gilly's Substack for Elisabeth's Extra Bites


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Olivia Potts: Butter - a celebration

This week, we’re celebrating three years of Cooking the Books with its very first guest, Olivia Potts and her latest book, Butter: A Celebration.


Her journey from barrister to butter, her latest book is told with what Nigella calls 'her devilish wit', both in her award-winning memoir, A Half Baked Idea and now in a book that has GONG written all over it: Butter: a Celebration.   


She’s the host of the Spectator podcast, she writes for the Spectator magazine as well as running a successful catering company with her kitchen wife, best friend and fellow food writer, Kate Young. And here she talks about the enduring allure of one of the most versatile ingredients in the larder.


Check out Gilly's Substack for extra content from Cooking the Books guests each week



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Laurel Kratochvila: New European Baking

This week, Gilly is talking revolution in the bakeries of Europe with Berlin's Fine Bagels baker, Laurel Kratochvila.


Her book, New European Baking is part guide book to the coolest city bakeries in Europe, part celebration of the return to craftmanship. As she takes us from Boston to Prague, Lisbon to Warsaw and Hackney, we join her in sniffing out the best brioches, challahs and breads of every shape and hue to meet eleven bakers who are riding the New Wave of baking.


Check out Gilly's Substack each week for the podcast's Extra Bites


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The Hebridean Baker: My Scottish Island Kitchen

This week, Gilly's talking about food and identity, folklore and First Footers with The Hebridean Baker.


Coinneach Macleod has cooked up a magical story of the Outer Hebrides, packed with ancient myths and recipes, and captivated a massive Tik Tok audience. She asks him how he did it, why people are so attracted to story and why Hebridean mothers smash their newly-wed daughters over the head with a piece of shortbread!


Check out Gilly's Substack for extra Cooking the Books content each week, including Coinneach singing her a Gaelic love song!


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On Cooking by Jeremy Lee

This week, Gilly's talking food and class in Jeremy Lee’s book Cooking with 17-year-old food campaigner at the Food Foundation, chair of Bite Back 2030, and Youth Member of parliament for Winchester, Dev Sharma. 


Jeremy Lee is one of the handful of chefs who’s cooked his way into the history books of modern food culture. His journey has taken him through the kitchens of some of the most influential London restaurants of our time: Conran’s Blueprint Cafe, Alistair Little’s Frith Street to the legendary Quo Vadis. 


Here, Gilly finds out what that all means to a teenager from Leicester who’s already a food legend himself. 


Dev’s campaigning work to end child food poverty has won praise from Jamie Oliver who says his work is ‘truly incredible’; Emma Thompson called him absolutely extraordinary as she watched him address ministers about food poverty. Jeremy Vine says he’s Prime Minister material. It’s won him a scholarship to Winchester College and a dream of Cambridge university, where food has a very different meaning.


Gilly asks him to choose four moments from Jeremy’s Lee’s book to help us understand the role of food in Britain in 2023


To hear more about Dev's work for the Food Foundation, listen here.



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Irina Georgescu: Tava

Tthis week, Gilly's off on her Zoom travels again, this time to the complex and multi cultural flavours of Romania.


Irina Georgescu has become the voice of Romanian food in the years that she's lived outside it.. She believes that there is no better way to tell the tale of a nation than through its food, and in her latest book, Tava, she unpicks the rich fabric of its political, spiritual and culinary past to understand its present.


Follow Gilly on Substack where you can find a post from her book Taste and the TV Chef about how the Communist regime Irina describes in Romania affected Hungary too. Read the extraordinary and little known story of how entrepreneurial TV producer, Marcel Lissak created a copycat Jamie Oliver to teach Hungary to eat again after the #GoulashRevolution



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Claudia Roden: The Book of Jewish Food

This week, Gilly is at the home of the queen of food writing, the original collector of Middle Eastern and Jewish food and grande dame of food and identity, Claudia Roden.


As they celebrate 25 years of Claudia's internationally acclaimed Book of Jewish Food, they discuss the foods in our repertoire now that have been hidden in the kitchens of the Jewish diaspora for centuries - until Claudia wrote them into our world. The influence of the book is a phenomenon; from Alistair Little to Sam and Sam Clark at The Eagle and then at Moro, to Yotam Ottolenghi's 'veg forward' revolution in the early 2000s, Roden's collection of stories and recovered recipes are at the heart of modern British food culture.


In this extended Holiday special, she talks about all the things that are good in life – beautiful recipes passed down through matriarchies, storytelling that binds communities and the universal pleasure of food that matters.


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Cindy-Marie Harvey: Watercress, Willow and Wine

This week, Gilly is talking Christmas wines with Cindy-Marie Harvey whose beautiful book, Watercress, Willow and Wine tells the story of the English vineyards which are creating a revolution in wine.


Climate change has not just warmed the soils in England, but also focussed a new movement of sustainable producers to think laterally about how local wine pared beautifully with local, seasonal food can help to save the planet.




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Lerato: Africana


This week, Gilly is off to find Christmas – and a whole lot more - in Africana, the debut cookbook from the new voice in pan African food, Lerato who whisks us off on a tour of the latest obsession in culinary cultures.




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Melissa Thompson: Motherland

This week, Gilly is with the queen of the Fowl Mouths supper club, BBC Good Food contributor, co-director of the British Library Food Season and now, author, Melissa Thompson.


Her debut cookbook, Motherland is the story of the Jamaica that was her father’s family home. As she traces its history through its food, she uncovers the stories of its people, its struggles and its resourcefulness - as well as its delicious food.  




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Tim Anderson: Japaneasy: Bowls and Bento


This week, Gilly is with chef Tim Anderson who holds a unique position as cultural commentator on Japanese food culture in Britain. He's a chef, a Masterchef winner, the author of six books on Japanese food and a regular on Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, yet he grew up in Wisconsin. Gilly digs deep to draw a line between the dots as they discuss his latest book Japanesy: Bowls and Bento.


Through Cooking the Books' four food moment format, Tim explains his love of conbini, the Japanese convenience store where all of life can happen, and how to recreate it in your own home.



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Sylvie Bigar: Cassoulet Confessions


This week, Gilly meets travel writer, Sylvie Bigar whose article about the rich history of the South West French cassoulet inspired a personal investigation into her often toxic family history and her own love affair with food. Cassoulet Confessions is a food memoir which takes us deep into where a love of food can come from, however dark the path.


A New Yorker brought up in a 'mini Downton Abbey' on Lake Geneva, Sylvie's story is of class, nostalgia and dysfunctional family life. As we follow her across the history of both family and what she finds under the crust of the mystical cassoulet, we get a tale of two sittings – the folklore and status of the cassoulet itself, and a potent dish of family secrets and hidden heritage. 


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Prue Leith: Bliss on Toast

This week, Gilly's with Prue Leith to talk about her new book Bliss on Toast which elevates the simplest of pleasures into the most delicious meals.


Her journey in food makes her look like a gourmet version of the Bisto kid, sniffing her way from her Michelin restaurant in London’s starched 60s through, to taking on the catering at British Rail, through Leiths School of Food and Wine to Bake Off, aged 82.  And she’s written 12 cookbooks and 7 novels. Gilly asked her to put her novelist hat on and take her back to the Paris of the late ‘50s where she was an au pair, and ask that young woman what she thinks of her latest book.


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Tamar Adler: An Everlasting Meal

This week, Gilly is slowing right down for a meditation on cooking and eating in An Everlasting Meal by former chef at Chez Panisse, Dan Barber’s researcher and Vogue journalist, Tamar Adler. 


The book which first came out in 2011 has clear echoes of Tamar’s hero, MFK Fisher with its poetic message of resilience and personal power, and its gentle humour is particularly resonant in these challenging times.  Her former boss, Alice Waters writes in the introduction: ‘It’s a beautifully intimate approach in cooking as a narrative that begins not with a list of ingredients or a tutorial on cutting an onion but with a way of thinking. It’s a book to sink into and read deeply’.




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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Good Comfort

This week Gilly is talking the culture and politics of food with Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall. His latest River Cottage book, Good Comfort is about tweaking our favoruite recipes with healthy extras, saving the pennies and losing a few pounds. 


It’s also about food memories and generations of family recipes, rooting those cottage pies and weekend pancakes in who we are. And as we navigate our way through a douuble whammuy of climate and obesity crisis, it couldn’t have come at a better time. But as we chatted on the day Liz Truss was just about to step down at PM, I suggested  that he cou;dn’t have known that the cost of living was going to add to those massive challenges


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Vicky Bennison: Pasta Grannies

This week, Gilly is talking about Italy through the stories of its Pasta Grannies with Vicky Bennison


Vicky won a James Beard award in 2020 for her first Pasta Grannies book based on the super homey Youtube series which has won the hearts of millions of viewers. Her work in international development in countries like Russia, South Africa, and Kazhakstan has given  her an anthropological lens through which to look at the role of the nonna.


She introduces us to four of the Pasta Grannies through her food moments, and explains why their stories tell so much more than how to knead the dough.


And if you fancy learning to cook, Leiths is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly has been doing over over the last 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout


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Extra Good Things: From the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

This week, Gilly is at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen in North London. This is the hub where the Ottolenghi books and recipes are born to talk, and Gilly's here to talk about Extra Good Things, the latest book after Shelf Love from the OTK stable.


Gilly chats to Noor Murad and the team of international chefs and writers who make the magic happen: Gitai Fisher, Verena Lochmuller, Chaya Pugh, Jens Ferdinand and Clodagh McKenna


Noor is the lead guitarist in this fabulously international band and the voice in Extra Good Things which sets out to future-proof our cooking with pickles, sauces and pastes to flavour bomb our leftovers. With the climate and cost of living crises forcing us to build our resilience skills, it couldn’t come at a better time.


And if you fancy learning to cook, Leiths is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly has been doing over over the last 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking  Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout


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Urvashi Roe: Biting Biting

This week Gilly is with Urvashi Roe whose journey from Gujerat through London’s estates to Bake Off and her first book, Biting Biting celebrating the snacking culture of her Gujerati family is a fascinating story of modern Britain. 


And don't forget that Leiths Online is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is on, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking , click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout.


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Jamie Oliver's One: the student test kitchen

This week, Gilly puts Jamie Oliver’s new book One: Simple One-Pot Wonders to the test with 20 year old Food Foundation food ambassadors, Rabiya and Jani who work with her on the Right2Food podcast


Rabiya and Jani are part of a team of young people from across the country who report for the Food Foundation’s podcast from the front line of food insecurity, having grown up in Huddersfield often not knowing where their next meal came from.  Now students – Rabiya of Law at Lancaster and Jani of Sport Therapy at Loughborough, they’re having to pull their resilience skills out of the bag to deal with the cost of living crisis. Gilly asks if Jamie’s book could help.  


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Mark Diacono: Spice

This week, Gilly is talking about Spice, the latest book from award winning food writer and Cooking the Books regular, Mark Diacono. In a series of four food moments, Mark introduces us to spices from cultures which we may yet have discovered, and explains how an explosion of flavours as a child led to an endless appetite for new culinary adventures.


 And don't forget that Leiths Online is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is on, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking , click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout: 


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Sam and Sam Clark: Moro Easy

This week, Gilly is in reflective mood with Sam and Sam Clark, the husband and wife chef team who have given us 25 years of Moorish cooking at Moro to talk about the publication of their latest book, Moro Easy, and the legacy and influence of cook books 


Sam and Sam are among the most influential chefs in modern British cuisine, bringing delicious, rustic Moorish cooking to Britain back in the 1990s. We met on the morning after the Queen had died, while the media was having a field day discussing who we are at the end of the Elizabethan era. We joined in, and went back to the '90s, to Cool Britannia when Britain was just waking up to how food, like music and fashion was about much more than what we were eating, to discuss who we are now.


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Philip Lymbery: Sixty Harvests Left

This week, we’re eating to save the Planet with Philip Lymbery, global CEO of Compassion in World Farming.


Philip is one of the most important campaigners against factory farms where the animals whose meat most people eat are confined and never see the light of day. He and Gilly have worked together on his podcasts Stop the Machine and the Big Table and he’s appeared on the delicious podcast and on Right2Food, the voice of the Food Foundation in a bid to change the way we eat.


He’s painted an apocalyptic vision of its impact on the planet in his books Farmageddon and Dead Zone: where the wild things were.  In his latest book, Sixty Harvests Left, he picks up the soil where the animals once grazed, naturally fertilising the land and providing rich pickings for the bugs and worms and shows us what our junk food culture has done to it.. But it’s not too late – not quite – if we change the way we think about the food we buy everyday. Essential listening.


And don't forget that Leiths Online is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is on, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking , click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout: 


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Jenny Ridgwell: I Taught Them To Cook

This week, we’re talking about cooking in schools again. But this time, we’re travelling back in time to the early 1970s when a young Jenny Ridgwell, clad in mini skirts, knee high boots and tank tops was teaching an unruly bunch of London kids to cook.


Jenny has since written many cookery text books and founded The Nutrition Program, an online analyst of recipes and meals, but her memoir, I Taught Them to Cook, is a hilarious romp through  a year in 1970s London as she negotiates the classroom and a life of a young singleton. It also pulls focus on what food was then and is now. Prue Leith called it a  light hearted testament to the importance of food, education, and a sizzling expose of the blindness of the powers that be.’  


And if like me, you'd like to learn to cook properly, you can get 10% off the Essentials online course that I’m doing at Leiths online. Go to  leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.


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Suzanne o'Sullivan: The Sleeping Beauties live at WOMAD

Just before we dive back into  a new series of food after the summer break, we’re back at WOMAD’s World of Words tent where Gilly chatted to Wellcome prize winning neurologist , Suzanne  o'Sullivan about her astonishing book The Sleeping Beauties.


It’s her investigation of mystery illnesses, a wave of ‘mass hysteria’ in communities across the world. Terrifyingly, it’s affecting a growing number of people, usually children or adolescents and mostly girls who’ve lost hope for all sorts of sociopolitical reasons. From Cuba to Kazakhstan, Guyana to the most famous Swedish asylum seeking girls who have been asleep for years, o'Sullivan explores how powerfully the body can communicate distress when no-one listens. This is a trip deep into the human psyche via misogyny, cultural imperialism and more than a little voodoo.  And not a single mention of food in the hour of chat! 




If you'd like to join in on my adventures in cookery, follow me @foodgillysmith on Instragram, and sign up! You can get 10% off the Essentials online course that I’m doing at Leiths online. Go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.


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Gelf Alderson: Great Salads

This week, Gilly is with Gelf Alderson, executive chef at River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s main man to talk his new book Great Salads.


You know you’re going to get quality food chat when it comes from River Cottage, and after playing captain’s mate there for the last 10 years, Gelf is still pulling rabbits out of the bag. Literally. Gilly asks him what makes a River Cottage chef then, now and as we continue to look for ways to eat amazing food to save the planet.


Don't forget that Leiths Online is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is on, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking , click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course, sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem. 


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Amber Guinness: A House Party in Tuscany

This week, Gilly is with Amber Guinness whose book A House Party in Tuscany captures the spirit of her parents who lovingly restored Arniano,a  humble ruin of a farmhouse they found back in 1989 and where they raised their daughters.


But this was no ordinary restoration; Tatler lists it among the ‘interior’ wonders of the world, which Amber has now turned into a retreat for artists where the stylish hosting is in the image of her parents. Her book is the story of the house, her family and their eye for beauty, with stunning food conjured up like a dream from the Tuscan countryside peppered throughout the memories.


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Debora Robertson: Notes from a Small Kitchen Island

This week, Cooking the Books is off to South West France to hang out with Debora Robertson whose latest book Notes from a Small Kitchen Island is a celebration of hosting, of feeding friends and living life beautifully.  


Debora is the Telegraph columnist who shows us how it’s done. She’s the 'how to' guru, the doyenne of the declutter, the dog mother of canine cuisine and queen of cooking for cats. But she tells us that her Girl Guide ability to do things well comes from a rich family tradition of using your hands to 'dignify your life, to give it meaning and grace.'


Don't forget that Leiths Online is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is on,  go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking , click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course, sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.  







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Felicity Cloake: Red Sauce, Brown Sauce

This week, Gilly chats about the Great British breakfast with Guardian writer, author and culinary detective, Felicity Cloake.


Her latest book Red Sauce, Brown Sauce is her second foray into food-as-national-identity by bike; she toured France for her last book One More Croissant for the Road and found much more than a tasty bite in both. After years of Brexit, Covid conspiracies and partygate, Britain is a divided nation, and Felicity has prised it open even further as she investigates the biggest divide of them all: red sauce or brown. But her 2,388km cycle around Britain over 7 weeks which took her deeply into British food is a fascinating (and often hilarious) snapshot of Britain as she finds a country in transition with a food culture slipping right now into the pages of history.





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Riaz Phillips: West Winds

This week, Gilly digs deep into the roots of Jamaican food culture with Riaz Phillips, winner of this year's Jane Grigson Trust Award for West Winds, recipes, history and tales from Jamaica.


Riaz was a Young British Foodie award winner in 2017 for his self-published book Belly Full, a guide and history of the Caribbean eateries which have shaped the landscape of food in the UK since the Fifties. By 2018 he was on the Observer Food Monthly's annual list '50 Things we Love'. Since then, he's become the cultural commentator on the role of Jamaican food in modern British culture while thinking deeply about his own place within it.




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Olia Hercules: Home Food

This week, Gilly is with Olia Hercules, the award-winning food writer who put the food of her home country of Ukraine on the map, and has since found herself fighting to keep its stories in the headlines as Russia razes it to the ground.


With her Russian food writer friend, Alissa Timoshkina, she has raised millions through their #cookforukraine campaign. It has inspired thousands of pop ups all over the country, not just to raise money but to keep that rich food culture alive in our hearts and minds.   


She wrote her latest book, Home Food: Recipes to Comfort and Connect in Lockdown just after giving birth to her second child, which is no mean feat, but could have no idea at the time that she would launch it in a war zone. Here she tells us about her mission to tell the story of her homeland, and about her Patreon channel which she has created to support and rebuild Ukraine.



Leiths is offering a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Leith's Essentials online course that Gilly is doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking  Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.  Check the show notes for all those details. And you can follow my adventures in cookery at Foodgillysmith on Instagram.   


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Helen Graves: Live Fire
This week, Gilly is with early food blogger and publisher of Pit Magazine, Helen Graves whose book Live Fire is about so much more than a summer BBQ. in her homage to live fire traditions, Helen takes us through her London, and the wonderfully diverse cultures which cook over open fire.

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Gill Meller: Outside

This week, Gilly is celebrating the poetry and timelessness of the great outdoors with award winning author and chef, Gill Meller.


 Outside is Gill's latest cook book which takes us to the elemental beauty of his home on the Jurassic coast on the Dorset and Devon border, just down the road from River Cottage where he has worked as a chef and tutor. His previous books Gather, Time and Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower have all captured this slice of Heaven, but Gill says that cooking outside doesn’t just have to be in the most beautiful place in the world; this is about slowing down anywhere and enjoying the magical simplicity of being outdoors.




If you fancy joining Gilly in learning to cook at Leiths, you can get a discount for Cooking the Books listeners. To get 10% off the Essentials online course, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.  


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Dominique Woolf: Dominique's Kitchen

This week, Gilly is with the winner of Channel 4’s Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver, Dominique Woolf.


She’s a publisher’s dream – a busy mum juggling three young kids in the kitchen and cross platform ideas sizzling away on every burner, a Thai mum and aunty whizzing up sauces that really do transform every dish and a new book packed with super easy Pan Asian cook hacks. This is a woman to watch; she’ll have her own TV show before you can even say Saturday Kitchen.


For transcripts, go to GillySmith.com


To get 10% off the Essentials online course that Gilly is doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.  


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British Library Food Season Special: Sam and Sam Clark with Nawal Nasrallah and Bink Hallum

This week, in a special extended episode, Gilly is on stage at the British Library in London whose Food Season has been tantalising food fans with a whole month of talks inspired by the cookbooks, recipes and culinary stories in its collection. Speakers have included Jessica Harris, Angela Hartnett, Dan Saladino, Alice Waters, Felicity Cloake, Frances Moore Lappé and Henry Dimbleby.


Gilly's panel of experts explore 13th century Moorish cookery through an extraordinary story of a recently discovered mis-filed manuscript. Come and sit with the sold out audience as Polly Russell, curator of the Food Season introduces Sam and Sam Clark of Moro to the stage with Arabic scholar Nawal Nasrallah and the Curator of Arabic Scientific Manuscripts, Bink Hallum to time travel to Moorish Andalucia and taste 800 year old recipes cooked up Moro-style.


To get 10% off the Leith's Essentials online course that Gilly is doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout:  


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar. Enter code GILLYSGIFT and click redeem.  


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Joe Woodhouse: Your Daily Veg

This week, Gilly is with Joe Woodhouse to talk about cookery courses, food photography and launching your very first book in the middle of a war when your wife is Ukrainian food writer, Olia Hercules.


His book Your Daily Veg has been lauded by Nigella, Anna Jones and Cooking the Books favourite, Rachel Roddy, and is packed with recipes inspired his career to date styling and photographing food from all over the world, but also by a lifetime of being a vegetarian.



To get 10% off the Essentials online course that I’m doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout: 


And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar and enter code GILLYSGIFT 

 


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Melissa Hemsley: Feel Good

This week, Gilly is with the woman who made Cooking the Books happen in the first place! When Melissa Hemsley said yes to her invitation to be on a brand new indie podcast two years ago and before they'd even met, the rest of the A-listers flooded in. And that’s because she’s not just the best-selling green queen of Eat Happy and Eat Green, but one of the most generous, genuine and well-respected members of the food community. 


Her latest book Feel Good is what makes her so compelling as a read, both in her books and on her social media. Mental health, grief, joy and purpose, Melissa-shaped, coming your way.


To get 10% off the Essentials online course that I’m doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout: 

And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-course – Sign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar and enter code GILLYSGIFT 

 


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Ella Risbridger: The Year of Miracles

This week, Gilly's talking about The Year of Miracles by Ella Risbridger. Like her first book, Midnight Chicken  and other recipes worth living for, it’s part memoir, part recipe book and reads like a novel. And despite not meaning to be a book about grief, it’s soaked in it. In a good way.  Ella describes grief 'like an anvil crashing through the floor revealing a whole new level where you can live', and where she lives is a really interesting place which questions a whole way of being. A fascinating insight into writing, grief and queerness from a writer the critics have called 'the new Nigella'.




To get 10% off the Essentials online course that I’m doing over over the next 6 months, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code: GILLY10 at checkout: 

And if you fancy a Free Hollandaise mini-courseSign up for a Workshop account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile and click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar and enter code GILLYSGIFT 

 


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Sheila Dillon and Alex Renton: The Food Programme: 13 Foods That Shape Our World

This week, is all about The Food Programme, the Radio 4’s mighty series which has been examining our food, its culture and its politics for 43 years, and its first BBC book by Alex Renton taking us through 13 Foods that Shape our World.


Sheila Dillon, presenter of The Food Programme for much of that time has written the foreword. Gilly first met her back in 2017 for the delicious. podcast when the Food Programme was under threat from Radio 4. A mass outpouring of love for the show, new presenters, and now, a book, are just some of the results of that enforced rethink.  


Before Gilly chats to Alex about his four food moments from the book, Sheila reveals her own existential pondering, and a surprising fragility considering her role as doyenne of food in Britain.



And if you've been following Gilly's adventures in cookery @cookingthebookswithgillysmith, you can join in. To get 10% off the Essentials online course, go to leithsonline.com/courses/essential-cooking 

Click ‘enrol’ on course page and apply the code at checkout: GILLY10


If you fancy a free Hollandaise mini-course, sign up for a Workshop app account or login at: app.workshop.ws/profile, click ‘Redeem Coupon’ on the sidebar and enter code GILLYSGIFT 



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The Fortnum and Mason Awards Shortlist with Mark Diacono, Tara Wigley and Georgina Hayden

This week, Gilly meets the judges of this year's Fortnum and Mason Awards (who shortlisted Cooking the Books for Best Podcast!) to discuss the food books nominated for these Oscars of the food world.


The judges this year are three brilliant food writers, all of whom have been on Cooking the Books and were the pick of the best in 2021; Mark Diacono whose book Herb was on the shortlist, Georgina Hayden who won best Cookery Writer and Tara Wigley who, with Sami Tamimi, won best Food Book for Falastin.


Get your shopping list ready for the best books of the year, and hear what the judges were looking for in the best podcast...


Y0u can read the transcript here



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Kitty and Al Tait: Breadsong

This week Gilly is with Al and Kitty Tait, the dad and daughter team behind The Orange Bakery.


Kitty was just 14 years old when crippling depression didn’t just change her life but her family’s too. Baking bread was just one of the many things they tried to get her back, but it worked. And some…Just three years later The Orange Bakery is already a thriving business run by Kitty and her dad, Al , and their beautiful book,, Breadsong tells the story.


You can read the transcript here.


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Nicole Pisani and Joanna Weinberg: Feed your Family

This week, a subject very close to Gilly's heart and the work she does on the Food Foundation’s award-winning podcast, Right2Food – how to change British food culture through children. Chefs in Schools is a charity which teaches kids from the very youngest age to love food by growing it school gardens and eating the kind of dishes that makes most kids run screaming.


Co-founder, Nicole Pisani is a chef who has worked in top kitchens around the world from Rene Redzpei’s Noma to Ottolenghi’s Nopi and, with food writer Joanna Weinberg, has written the book, Feed Your Family which tells its story and shares the recipes which are feeding tens of thousands of British children a whole new way 


Click here for the transcript.


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Georgina Hayden: Nistisima

This week as it's Lent, we’re off to fast in Cyprus with Georgina Hayden, and to find a host of vegan gems in the traditional fasting food from religions and cultures of the Eastern Med and Eastern Europe.


Her book, Nistisima borrows the vegan dishes from the Greek Orthodox Church which frames her family life, as well as the rituals around Ukraine, Russia and Serbia where fasting is a rich vein of inspiration for meat and dairy free recipes. But it’s about much more than food; it’s how family, festival and ritual creates a food culture which connects us with where food comes from and why, as Socrates says, we eat to live. We began by discussing just how hard it is to find a gap in the book shelves these days, and what it takes to get a book deal.


You can read the transcript here


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Eleanor Ford: The Nutmeg Trail

This week Gilly is with multi-award winning food writer and explorer, Eleanor Ford whose latest book The Nutmeg Trail takes us on an adventure to exotic islands and across trade routes to show how the intoxicating power of spice has changed the world. 


Eleanor is also the author of Fire Islands which won The Guild of Food Writers' Best International or Regional Cookbook 2020, the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for best Food or Drink Book 2020 and two Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020. Her first book, Samarkand with Caroline Eden won the Guild of Food Writers Award for Food and Travel in 2017. In short, settle yourself in for some top quality listening.


You can read the transcript by clicking here


And if you want to try ten of the recipes from The Nutmeg Trail, CKBK, the Spotify of cookbooks is offering CTB listeners 25% off its subscription. Just click here



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Eat, Share, Love: Kalpna Woolf

This week, Gilly is with Kalpna Woolf, founder of the Bristol charity 91 Ways which brings together the 91 languages spoken in her hometown of Bristol in a series of pop up peace cafés. Her book Eat Share Love  features the recipes shared over the supper clubs where back story is the main ingredient.


She's been awarded The Guild of Food Writers Inspiration Award, BBC’s Food and Farming Food Hero Award and the Asian Women of Achievement Award and is one of the 20 people listed by Waitrose Food Magazine’s Making the World a Better Place to Live and Eat in 2020. And as Head of Production at Factual and Natural History at the BBC, she oversaw all the best in TV storytelling, including Frozen Planet, Planet Earth and TV chefs from Rick Stein and Nigel Slater to the Hairy Bikers.


You can buy the book directly from 91 Ways here


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Taste Tibet: Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa

This week, Gilly takes us to Tibet with Yeshi Jampa and Julie Kleeman, the husband and wife team who brought the Himalayas to Oxford through their legendary restaurant and food stall - and now, book - Taste Tibet.  Yeshi grew up in Tibet, herding livestock on the high reaches of the Tibetan plateau and learning to cook inside a yak hair tent at a young age. When he was nineteen, Yeshi walked across the Himalayas to northern India, where he eventually met and married Julie a travelling scholar and adventurer. Together, they own and run the Taste Tibet restaurant and festival food stall, a Guardian and BBC Good Food Top Ten pick, and a finalist in the Best Street Food or Takeaway category in the 2021 BBC Food and Farming Awards


Taste Tibet is also available in full online at the Spotify of recipes here, ckbk.

Get 25% off ckbk membership with code COOKINGTHEBOOKS.


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Yemisi Aribisala: Longthroat Memoirs

After spending the last couple of months hearing the voice of Yemisi Aribisala introduce the best food books of 2021 in a special series with the Andre Simon awards, this episode is all about her book Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds.


It won the Andre Simon’s John Avery award in 2016, possibly because of its use of food to prod under the skin of Nigerian life and poke at the politics and culture of her homeland. But in a country which doesn’t really like to talk about what they’re eating, Gilly finds a much more complex relationship, not just with food but with language and expression of pleasure.


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Andre Simon Shortlist Special: Yasmin Khan

In the last of the Andre Simon Shortlist Special series, we meet Yasmin Khan whose book Ripe Figs transports us across  the East Mediterranean, tasting the best food in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus in the company of refugees and activists. As  they chop and chat about borders, memory and identity, Yasmin shows us how food can give dignity and humanise people in the harshest of circumstances.


Plus, food assessor, the author Yemisi Aribisala explains why she chose Ripe Figs to be among the final seven best food books of 2021.


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Andre Simon Shortlist Special: Sambal Shiok

In the 5th episode of this special series celebrating the Andre Simon Awards 2021, Gilly discusses Mandy Yin’s shortlisted book Sambal Shiok with Singaporean writer, Sharon Wee while Mandy is on maternity leave. Sharon's 2012 book, Growing up in a Nonya Kitchen was a victim of plagiarism last year, which shook the global food community. But she hit back and is now working on a revised version which will be out later this year. You can hear her episode of Cooking the Books here.


As she compares the Singaporean Nonya kitchen with Mandy's Malaysian, she reveals some of the rich cultures which make up one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. But not before food assessor for the awards, Yemisi Aribisala tells us why Sambal Shiok is one of the best food books of 2021.








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Andre Simon Shortlist Special: Mark Diacono
In the 4th episode of the Cooking the Books Andre Simon Shortlist Special, we meet Mark Diacono, gardener, author and cook. He's no stranger to the Andre Simons; his stunning book A Year at Otter Farm won the Food Book of the Year in 2014. Before we hear his four food moments from his shortlisted Herb, we hear from food assessor, Yemisi Aribisala on why she's chosen it as one of her seven best books of 2021.

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Andre Simon Shortlist Special: Dee Rettali

The third in this special series celebrating the Andre Simon Awards 2021 in which Gilly meets the authors shortlisted for the prestigious food book gong with an introduction by food assessor, the Nigerian born author Yemisi Aribisala whose memoir Longthroat: 

Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds won the Andre Simon’s John Avery award in 2016.


Four out of seven on the shortlist have already appeared on Cooking the Books, and this week, you’ll get a chance to listen again to Dee Rettali tell Gilly how Baking with Fortitude, the name of her book as well as the story of her life,  is about so much more than bread and cake.



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Andre Simon Awards Shortlist: Rachel Roddy

The second in a special series in conjunction with the Andre Simon Awards 2021 .Each week, we'll start with an appraisal of each shortlisted author by this year's food assessor, the award winning Nigerian author, Yemisi Aribisala. Her book Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex, and the Nigerian Taste Buds, which won the John Avery Award in the Andre Simons in 2016, uses Nigerian food as an entry point to think more deeply and understand culture and society. 


This week, Yemisi describes the storytelling style, rigour and 'good heartedness' that defines Guardian food columnist Rachel Roddy's work, and her latest book, The A-Z of Pasta: Stories, Shares, Sauces, Recipes, before we return to Rome during Lockdown when Gilly and Rachel first met.


You can also find CTB on Food FM, the online radio station and global podcast platform which aims to change the world through food. 


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The Andre Simon Awards Shortlist: Dan Saladino

In a special series celebrating the Andre Simon Awards 2021, Gilly celebrates the authors shortlisted for the prestigious food book prize.


Each week until the Awards themselves on March 8th, we meet the seven authors with an introduction by food assessor, the Nigerian born author Yemisi Aribisala. But first, we kick off with Dan Saladino whose book Eating to Extinction was one of Cooking the Books pick of the year in 2021, and meet trustees, Xanthe Clay and Sarah Jane Evans to chat through the shortlisted authors.


Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith is now on FoodFM, the online radio station and podcast platform which aims to change the world through food.


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Leah Hyslop: The Brownie Diaries
This week, Gilly is with the deputy editor of Waitrose Food Magazine, Leah Hyslop whose latest book The Brownie Diaries is oozing with the kind of stories and recipes you’d expect from someone whose job it is to pull endless ideas out of the bag. As Jamie Oliver launches a national hunt for the best cookbook author, Leah tells us about story, angle and pitch, and how much magazine editing has to do with making brownies in infinite ways.

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Ruth Nieman: Freekeh - Wild Wheat and Ancient Grains

This week Gilly's talking about something probably quite new to foodies, Biblical Cuisine with Ruth Nieman who has become the go-to expert on Israel’s ancient foods and recipes. Her first book, The Galilean Kitchen captured the oral recipes passed down through the matriarchs of the Druze, Muslim, Christian, and Bedouin communities in Northern Israel and won a Gourmand Award. Now her latest, Freekeh: Wild Wheats and Ancient Grains is longlisted for an Andre Simon Award.   Taking the meat out of some of the most unchanged recipes in living history, it has led to a fascinating contribution to the vegetarian canon.


Cooking the Books is part of The Food FM family.


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Saira Hamilton: My Bangladesh Kitchen

This week, Gilly is with 2013 MasterChef finalist, Saira Hamilton whose latest book takes us deep into the little-known food culture of Bangladesh. My Bangladesh Kitchen is full of food stories, poets and mystics and nostalgia for the country of Saira’s ancestors, But Bangladesh is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world as we find out as Saira explains the changing face of her family home.


Cooking the Books is now part of the Food FM family.


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Shaun and Craig McAnuff: Natural Flava

This week, Gilly is with the Flava brothers, Craig and Shaun McAnuff whose Caribbean recipes, inspired by their Jamaican grandmother, are all about traditional values – family, morals and community purpose. It was at her house in Croydon that they started filming their Youtube videos. They got a million views in a week.  But as they explored more about their heritage, they found that the Rastafarian Ital food philosophy had a great contribution to make to the growth of veganism and have shared it in their latest book, Natural Flava.


Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith is now on FoodFM, the online radio station and podcast platform which aims to change the world through food.


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Julia Georgallis: How to Eat Your Christmas Tree

This week, Gilly is with Julia Georgallis, supper club host, industrial designer and author of How to Eat your Christmas Tree who tells us how to have a super-sustainable - and delicious - Christmas.




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Selin Kiazim: Three
This week, Gilly Smith is with Selin Kiazim, Turkish-Cyrpiot chef at Oklava in Shoreditch. A few episodes back, Clare Finney, author of The Female Chef described Selin as one of the women redefining the hospitality industry. Gilly finds out what that means while picking through her formula of Acid, Texture and Contrast which is the subject of her latest book, Three.

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Rowan Jacobsen: The Truffle Hound

This week, Gilly is with James Beard award-winning author, Rowan Jacobsen whose book The Truffle Hound is a fabulous romp across the world in search of truffles. But it’s much more than a story of derring do and great dogs; it’s a love letter to truffles which have so much to say to humanity about everything from the health of the environment to how get more out of life. Who’d have thought that this wonderful fruit which lives in the shadows could bring so much light to a world losing its way? 


And you can buy the book by clicking here



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Alissa Timoshkina. Salt and Time
This week, Gilly is with Alissa Timoshkina whose book Salt and Time, a Waitrose one-to-watch for 2021, takes us into the Russian kitchen of her childhood, but also prods at many universal questions of food, identity and being a woman. As she takes us through her four food moments, we meet the Jewish Siberian matriarchs, her mother, grandmother and great grandmother whose food has literally shaped her and her own journey into motherhood.

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Sharon Wee: Growing up in a Nonya Kitchen

This week, Gilly is with New York food writer, Sharon Wee whose book Growing up in a Nonya Kitchen tells the story of Peranakan cuisine, a largely unknown type of cookery from Singapore, Malaysia and Malacca which was part of a craft culture binding Chinese women, including Sharon’s mother, into the fabric of a very particular lifestyle.


Sharon’s book which first came out in 2012 in Singapore has become much better known as the subject of plagiarism in an astonishing story that has gripped the food community over the last few months.  She’s not allowed to talk about it for legal reasons, and Gilly is much more interested in a food culture that was part of her early childhood in Penang, so here's the story of the nonyas and the babas and a little known cuisine.


"

If you'd like to get online access, ckbk has a 50% Black Friday offer on annual subscriptions, giving unlimited online access to more than 500 cookbooks including Growing up in a Nonya Kitchen: https://app.ckbk.com/subscribe


You can access the book online, and pre-order a print copy, here: https://app.ckbk.com/book/9814346365/growing-up-in-a-nonya-kitchen  





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Luca Iaccarino: Appetiti

This week, Gilly is with Luca Iaccarino, Italian food critic and journalist for Italy’s most respected newspapers la Republica and Corriere della Sera. But he’s also the co-creator of Buonissima, Turin’s most spectacular food festival featuring some of the best chefs in Europe. Gilly went to meet him by Interrail to the home of the Slow Food Movement, to explore Buonissima, meet Ferran Adria and inhale the truffles of nearby Alba. But beyond the storytelling and the glamour, Luca's new book pokes under the skin of Italian food culture and reveals a much more nuanced take on Italian food culture.


For more information about Cooking the Books, including the Supper Clubs, go to Gilly Smith, and follow me oninstagram @foodgillysmith and @cookingthebookswithgillysmith.


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Clare Finney: The Female Chef

This week, Gilly is with Clare Finney, author of The Female Chef. The book - and the chat - is a wonderfully multi-layered exploration of what it means to be a woman in a professional kitchen in 2021. With interviews from many of Britain’s biggest names in food, including Thomasina Miers, Zoe Adjonyoh, Andi Oliver and Ravinder Bhogal, and with a foreword from Sheila Dillon, it moves the conversation on from the hugely important subject of equality in the workplace to examine the many and nuanced notions of femaleness.







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Bettina Campolucci Bordi: Celebrate

This week, Gilly is with vegan queen, retreat chef and recipe consultant, Bettina Campolucci Bordi whose new book Celebrate is about flavours from around the world, influenced by her own peripatetic childhood and Skandi/Bulgarian parentage. But more, it’s all about wellness and conscious cooking, dressed up for a great big party.



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Dan Saladino: Eating to Extinction

This week, Gilly is with Dan Saladino, co-presenter of Radio 4 and BBC Sounds’ The Food Programme whose whopping 400 page debut, Eating to Extinction is a story of the world’s rarest foods and why we need to save them It’s a sweeping story of our relationship with food, of loss of diversity and its impact on humankind, our gut and our planet, woven through with wonderful tales of resilience and know-how of the food heroes, farmers and growers who hold the key to our future.


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Saliha Mahmood Ahmed:Foodology
This week, Gilly is with Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, Masterchef 2017 winner and author of Khazana, a history of the Mughal empire whose day job as gastroenterologist has inpsired her latest book Foodology, a food lover’s guide to digestive health.

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Dee Rettali: Baking with Fortitude
This week, Gilly talks the politics and culture of cake and bread with craft baker at Fortitude Bakehouse, Dee Rettali who was one of the first people to bring biodynamic, organic foods to London in the mid '90s. She's also made cakes for Madonna and Prince Charles, so famed is she for the sustainability and craft she puts in the mix. She founded Patisserie Organic in 1998 and her Soho-born coffee and sandwich shop Fernandez & Wells blazed a trail way before the boho bakeries and hipsters made real bread cool. Her book, Baking with Fortitude takes its name from her bakery chain, Fortitude Bakehouse but decribes a woman with grit in her belly.

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Claudia Roden: Med
This week, Gilly is with surely everyone’s food hero, Claudia Roden who brought Jewish and Middle Eastern food to the world. Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam and Sam Clarke at Moro are among the many chefs who say that it all started with Claudia. Now, at 85, she’s got a new book out, Med which brings her personal stories and inventive flourish to the flavours of the Mediterranean. And she's still FULL of stories.

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Tim Hayward: Loaf Story

This week Gilly is at the Abergavenny Food Festival with Financial Times restaurant critic and Kitchen Cabinet panellist, Tim Hayward. His latest book, Loaf Story is a love letter to bread, but tells a story of Britishness and class. 



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James Rebanks: English Pastoral
This week Gilly is with one of the most important voices in food right now, sheep farmer and award winning author, James Rebanks.  His books The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral beautifully and powerfully remind us of the connection between what we eat, where it comes from and the relationship between humans, nature and climate change in a way that will make you punch the sky and cry your heart out. Here he gives us his four food moments from this year's Fortnum and Mason Food Book of the year award, English Pastoral.

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Gennaro Contaldo: Limoni

This week, we're staying in the Mediterranean as Gilly sniffs the lemons of the Amalfi coast with everyone’s favourite Italian, Gennaro Contaldo.


Since Gilly first met Gennaro, the conversation about food has changed: veganism, eating less but better to save the planet, regenerative farming for soil health, it’s a whole new language. But, as Gennaro shows us in his latest book, Limoni, it’s actually the very essence of the Mediterranean Diet. 


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Dr Simon Poole: The Real Mediterranean diet

This week, Gilly is with GP, Dr Simon Poole whose latest book The Real Mediterranean Diet shares the latest science behind the world’s oldest and healthiest diet.



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Kylee Newton: The Modern Preserver

This week, Gilly is with Kylee Newton whose fermenting and pickling masterclasses were featured in the Guardian and The Times.  Formerly a fine purveyor of presrves and pickles, her brand Newton & Pott has morphed from production to media as Kylee’s latest book The Modern Preserver hits the shelves.   

A serial entrepreneur and all-round creative, her story of making it up as you go along will be familiar to many listeners who’ve always wanted to turn their hobby into their world.


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Nik Sharma: The Flavour Equation

This week, Gilly Smith talks to scientist, Guardian food writer and finalist for a James Beard food photography award, Nik Sharma. He argues that his Flavour Equation is about the emotion, sight, sound, mouthfeel, aroma and taste of food which add up to the only way to eat.




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Orlando Murrin: Two's Company
This week, Gilly talks to Orlando Murrin, former editor of BBC Good Food magazine, founder of Olive magazine, Waitrose columnist and president of the Guild of Food Writers about his role in creating modern British food culture back in the 90s and 2000s. And as a seasoned trendsetter, he tells us how his new book Two’s Company tackles the issue of waste.

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Gilly Smith: Taste and the TV Chef

This week, we’re on a bit of a summer special when Gilly is in the hot seat for a change. Food writer Bee Farrell chats about her book, Taste and the TV Chef, which recently won a clutch of awards including the International Impact Award. Bee is currently doing a PhD in the anthropology of food in the C21st and is fascinated with the rituals and performance surrounding eating, regenerative gastronomy and food storytelling, and asks Gilly if influencers really can save the planet



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Sophie Grigson: A Curious Absence of Chickens
This week, Gilly is off to Puglia to catch up with adventuress-in-chief and legendary food writer, Sophie Grigson two years after she upped sticks and left the UK for a brand new post-kids adventure in Italy. Her new book, A Curious Absence of Chickens is an immersion into the heart of her new world, and a set of goals for anyone who wants a taste of a more delicious way to live.

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Zuza Zak: Amber and Rye

This week, we’re off to the Baltic with Polish food writer, Zuza Zak whose latest book Amber and Rye takes us to Estonia, Lativia and Lithuania, an arty new Europe where food has so much to say. 


Zuza tells Gilly how her trip to the Baltic cities of Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga was a journey back through her childhood memories to a place made magical through separation and storytelling.  Through Lithuanian and Greek mythology, traditional dishes and a renaissance in food culture, we go deep into this magical world and find something rather precious.


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Emily Scott: Sea and Shore

This week, Gilly is Zooming down to Cornwall to meet the woman of the moment,Emily Scott, one of only two British chefs chosen to feed the leaders of the Western World at this summer’s G7 summit. Her debut cookbook, Sea and Shore is an ode to the simple life, something she's finally managed to balance with feeding Joe Biden.



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Towpath
This week, Gilly heads down the Regent’s Canal to Hackney’s favourite café, The Towpath with owners and authors of the book of the cafe Lori de Mori and Laura Jackson. It's a place which Keira Knightly, no less, says is the reason she lives in London and, as Gilly explores why it is a ' jewel-like dream of a place', she stumbles across the meaning of life.

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Rachel Roddy: The A-Z of Pasta
This week, Gilly Smith Zooms to Rome to talk about the the jigsaw puzzle of pasta shapes that make Italy what it is for Guardian food columnist and multi award winning author, Rachel Roddy. 

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Uyen Luu: Vietnamese

This week, Gilly Smith is off to Vietnam through the memories and food of film maker, supper club host and food writer, Uyen Luu to talk about her new book, Vietnamese.  Uyen arrived in the UK aged 5 with her mother and brother, part of a mass exodus of over 800,000 boat people who fled Vietnam between 1975 and 1995. By 2010, she would become the word on Vietnamese cooking and a contributor to Observer Food Monthly after huge success with her London supper clubs.

 


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Honey and co: Chasing Smoke
This week, Gilly Smith is with Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovitch from Honey and co. as they chase smoke and cook over open fire around the levant.

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Ben Tish: Sicilia
This week, Gilly Smith is off to Sicily with Norma chef, Ben Tish via the four food moments in his latest book Sicilia.

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Bill Buford: Dirt; Adventures in French Cooking

This week, Gilly is zooming into Manhattan with Bill Buford, the former fiction editor of The New Yorker and author of Dirt to hear how he uprooted his family and immersed them for five years in an epic adventure in French cooking. Through his four food moments, he tells her how he went in search of the roots of great French food and found the heart of food culture in Lyon, gastronomic centre of the world.





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Raymond Blanc: Simply Raymond and The Lost Orchard
This week, Gilly is with Raymond Blanc OBE, and it's been a big year for him. His beloved mother, known affectionately as Maman Blanc died while suffering from COVID, he survived a very serious dose of COVID  himself through which he learned, finally, to meditate. And he’s released not one but two books – The Lost Orchard in which he lovingly reintroduces us to the apples and pears of our British heritage, and Simply Raymond an homage to his mother and her simple but delicious rustic cooking. As Gilly zooms into le Manoir, she finds him in reflective mood, celebrating the legacy of Maman and Papa Blanc, the role of Le Manoir in British culinary history and planting trees with Prince Charles.

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Kim Duke: Weekly Provisions
This week, Gilly is with Kim Duke, co-founder of Life Kitchen, the cookery classes and book for people living with Cancer which are all about working with super-flavour to learn to taste again when in chemo. Her debut cook book, Weekly Provisions comes three years after this collaboration with her best mate, Ryan Riley and hot on the heels of COVID which also ripped the pleasure of taste from so many of its victims. The result is an extraordinary book which hits us over the head with flavour as Kim remixes her original dishes with the chutzpah that characterises the story of this pair of Newcastle’s have-a-go cooks. 

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Anna Jones: One Pot, Pan, Planet
This week, Gilly is with Anna Jones, vegetarian queen of simple, creative, delicious sustainability in the kitchen on the four food moments from her latest book One Pot, Pan, Planet, how Jamie Oliver helped to light her fire, cooking for the Obamas and how a simple life really is the way to save the planet.  

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Anas Atassi: Sumac

This week, Gilly is in the Syria of Anas Atassi's childhood which inspired his book Sumac. He and his family left the country before the war began in 2011 which has left more than 380,000 people dead and devastated its ancient cities and their cultural heritage. But as Syrian refugees spread across the world, its food has become its identity, and as Anas takes us through the food from the old country, he tells us why it matters so much.



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Rob Howell: Root
This week, Gilly talks with Rob Howell whose book Root tells the story of one of the new stars of the Bristol sustainable food scene. Root the plant-focussed restaurant, comes from the stable of Josh Eggleton, a long-time advocate of the field to fork movement at the Michelin -starred Pony and Trap, and co-founder of the Eat Drink, Bristol Fashion festival which promotes the importance of food sustainability. Rob talks through the four food moments from the book which bring us up to date with one of the UK's most exciting food cultures.

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Laurie Woolever on Anthony Bourdain

This week, Gilly Smith remembers the late great Anthony Bourdain, surely the most exciting storytelling in food who shocked the world by taking his own life in 2018. His assistant, lieutenant, gate-keeper and co-author is Laurie Woolever who had just begun to put together their next book, a travel guide to some of Bourdain’s favourite cities. As she talks through her four food moments from World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, the book that it became, we journey into the mind of a man who had so much to say about food and the world. 

 


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Grace Regan: Spicebox
This week, Gilly is with the star of the future of the British curry house, vegan cook and serial entrepreneur Grace Regan, a Young British Foodies street food finalist, a Red Magazine Women of the Year short-lister and long-lister for the BBC Food Rising Star Award. Her street food stall, curry house and now book, Spice Box draws on her great aunt Dolly’s food from the old country and her annual trips travelling off the beaten track in India.

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Naved Nasir: Dishoom

This week, Gilly is walking through the back streets of old Bombay with Naved Nasir, executive chef at Dishoom to find the Irani Cafes which inspired the book and the restaurant chain, and to talk about nostalgia, cultural appropriation and how to save a restaurant in a Pandemic.



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Ollie Hunter: Join the Greener Revolution
This week, Gilly is with Ollie Hunter, activist chef and hyper local champion whose restaurant The Wheatsheaf near Hungerford won the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Business of the Year award in 2019. A former Masterchef finalist, he’s a philosopher. an alchemist and a revolutionary, and his latest book Join the Greener Revolution is his manifesto to eat to save the planet.

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Emiko Davies: Torta della Nonna
This week, Gilly's in Florence with Australian-Japanese food writer, Emiko Davies who has made Tuscany her home. In her latest book, Torte della Nonna, she digs deep into the culinary and family history of Florentine sweets to find a tradition sticking deliciously to what it does best.

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Durkhanai Ayubi: Parwana

This week, Gilly is with Durkhanai Ayubi whose book Parwana tells the story of her family’s memories and recipes from her native Afghanistan set against a sweeping history of a country ravaged by power plays and unwelcome international interference. 


To access the recipes from Parwana as well as a curated collection of hundreds of the world's greatest cookbooks with over 87,000 recipes, CKBK  is offering listeners a 25% discount if you use the code cookingthebooks on checkout.




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Katie Caldesi: The 30 Minute Diabetes Cookbook
This week, Gilly is with food writer, Katie Caldesi who wrote The 30 Minute Diabetes Cookbook with her husband, the Italian chef Giancarlo Caldesi after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. With a foreword by Dr David Unwin, the pioneering low carb GP whose diabetic patients have seen astonsihign results, and expert nutrition advice from Jenny Philips, it’s a must read for anyone with a tell-tale big belly. 

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Theo Randall: The Italian Deli Cookbook
This week, we hop into the back seat of chef Theo Randall’s parent’s car and head through 1970s Italy, stopping at markets and stalls, delis and trattoria to find the inspiration behind some of the best food in London and Theo’s Italian Deli Cookbook. 

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Brad Carter: Staff
This week, Gilly is virtually in Birmingham with chef Brad Carter whose book Staff tells the story of his journey through DJing and all-night raves to his Michelin starred restaurant, Carter’s of Moseley. 

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JP McMahon: Food on the Edge and Lessons from Lockdown
This week, Gilly is with JP McMahon, chef patron at Michelin-starred Aniar and the brains behind Galway’s food symposium, Food on the Edge. His activist influence is vast, and even in a pandemic he’s doing his bit with a new book, Lessons from Lockdown, an anthology of thought-provoking letters to an imaginary young chef from his vast network of brilliant chefs around the world.

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Dan Barber: The Third Plate

This week, Gilly is at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, chef Dan Barber's restaurant deep in the countryside of New York.  In his 2014 book, The Third Plate, Dan wrote a new manifesto in food, taking us right back to its roots to tell a story which has changed the way many chefs all over the globe are thinking about the way we eat.


And this month at the top of the show,  we’re finding out about SuperLooper, the children’s clothing rental business that could save the planet.




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Pen Vogler: Scoff
This week Gilly Smith talks British food and class with food historian, Pen Vogler in a romp through etiquette and faux pas, dysfunction and obsession around food in her new book, Scoff.

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The Seafood Shack: Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick
This week, Gilly Smith talks to Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick about winning the Jane Grigson Trust award for new food writers with their debut cookbook The Seafood Shack. As they take her through their four food moments, the stories of the sea, the local fishermen and the scallop divers set against the 80 delicious recipes reminds us that food is much more than what’s on the plate.  

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Sam Rice: The Midlife Method
This week, Gilly talks to Sam Rice, co-author with Mimi Spencer of The Midlife Kitchen whose new book The Midlife Method offers a more holistic approach to the way we eat as we get older.

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Sam Gates: The Batch Cook

This week, Gilly is with Sam Gates’ whose Batch Cook Book went straight to number one on Amazon when it came out at the end of last year. It's a sure sign that people are desperate for tips on how to get the most out of their Lockdown cook ups but also, perhaps it's an indicator of an interest in reducing waste.


Plus the last of the soundbites from this year’s online version of the Oxford Real Farming Conference which you can now watch for free at orfc.org.uk, Dr Vandana Shiva, a modern day revolutionary who takes on the biggest companies in the world in her fight against Big Tech in the food industry. 




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Razzak Mirjan and Tom Cenci: From Beder's Kitchen

This week, as we head towards Blue Monday, the day when the credit card bills hit the door mat and midwinter can feel very bleak indeed, Gilly meets Razzak Mirjan whose recipe book From Beder’s Kitchen raises awareness around mental health as a tribute to his brother, Beder who took his own life. Razzak and chef,Tom Cenci talk about food and mood, mental health in the professional kitchen and the outpouring of love from the food community for the project.


And listen in to Anna Lappe at the top of the show. Anna is one of the most influential and inspiring speakers on climate and food in the world, and previews her talk at this year’s online version of the Oxford Real Farming Conference: Spinning Food: PR Tactics Industry Uses to Shape the Story of Food. You can watch the whole conference after Jan 13th on the ORFC youtube channel or by going to orfc.org. And do find out all abhut Anna and her extraordinary work at annalappe.com


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Pinch of Nom: Quick and Easy

This week, Gilly talks to Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, two former restaurant owners from the Wirral who have made simple, healthy food accessible to millions of people who never learned to cook. What started as a WeightWatcher’s blog has became a triple whammy cookbook sensation, and here they take us through their four food moments from the latest in the series, Pinch of Nom: Quick and Easy.


And throughout this season, we'll hear from the Oxford Real Farming Conference where the most inspiring speakers in the world on food and climate like Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Guy Singh-Watson and Anna Lappe join the dots of an increasingly food-shaped world.




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Carolyn Steel: Sitopia
This week, Gilly talks with the visionary writer, architect and philosopher, Carolyn Steel whose book Sitopia was one of 2020’s most important reads. Through four food moments tracing right back to the beginning of civilisation, Carolyn redraws the lines around a food-shaped world, joining the dots in the history of how we eat, and pointing out where the breaks began which left us fighting to save the planet.

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Trine Hahnemann: Scandinavian Green
This Christmas week, Gilly talks with Danish food writer and activist chef, Trine Hahnemann about a gloriously plant-based, uncommercial hygge Christmas in her latest book Scandinavian Green.

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The Rangoon Sisters: Authentic Burmese Home Cooking
This week, Gilly talks to doctors, food writers and supper club hosts Emily and Amy Chung, aka The Rangoon Sisters about the four food moments from their debut cookbook, which is number 8 in the Observer Food Monthly’s top ten food books of 2020.  The sisters have been cooking up their Burmese family food since their first visit back to the old country in 2012, and find the food from their diaspora has hit the spot with a much wider community.

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Lara Lee: Coconut and Sambal


This week, Gilly is off to Indonesia with Australian caterer and food writer, Lara Lee to explore food and identity in her debut cook book, Coconut and Sambal.


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Christine Smallwood: The World Vegetarian - Italy

This week, Italian food expert, Christine Smallwood takes Gilly Smith through the markets and osterias of Puglia to the cool new restaurants of Milan and childhood memories of Ischia as she discusses the place of the vegetable in Italian cuisine.



This season is sponsored by Odysea whose range of Mediterranean foods are just what we need to get through a COVID winter. This week, home mixologist and Bake Off star, Tom Gilliford talks us through why molasses are a delicious alternative to refined sugar in your cocktails this Christmas.


Music by Willy Zygier


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The Pie Room: Calum Franklin

This week, Gilly Smith chats to Pie Man, Calum Franklin about the four food moments in his new book The Pie Room. We learn how he pulled out pies from the depths of British culinary history and turned them into a story that has captivated his 120k followers on Instagram, had super star chef Thomas Keller send his teams over from California to watch and learn and beaten Jamie Oliver to the top spot on Amazon Books.


This season is sponsored by Odysea whose range of Mediterranean foods are just what we need to get through a COVID winter. This week, Susana Perez of Susana and Daughters on the Cowdray Estate tells us about the health properties of kefir, and we learn about the goats from the foothills of Menikio mountain in Northern Greece who produce the milk for Odysea's kefir.


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Tom Kerridge: The Hand and Flowers Cookbook

This week, Gilly Smith talks to Tom Kerridge about the four food moments from his brand new book, The Hand and Flowers Cookbook. Expect insider tips on getting a first Michelin star, Instagram’s influence on curious young chefs and for a masterclass in Elizabeth David’s original crème brulee. 


This season is sponsored by Odysea whose range of Mediterranean foods are just what we need to get through a COVID winter. This week, honey sommelier, Sarah Wyndham Lewis at Bermondsey Street Bees tells us about Odysea's raw honeys, Pine and Fir Tree and Greek Oak Tree raw honeys which have both been certified as high sources of the mineral manganese which boosts the metabolism and keeps your bones in good nick.


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Mimi Aye: Mandalay

This week, Gilly is transported to Burma and the deeply exotic hills of the land of rubies through the childhood memories and family stories in MiMi Aye's beautiful book, Mandalay.


This season is sponsored by Odysea whose range of Mediterranean foods are just what we need to get through a COVID winter. This week, we learn about Odysea's Extra Virgin Olive Oil, produced from polyphenol rich olives from groves in Messinia in the Kalamata region, where the olives are still harvested by hand. The oil is cold extracted within hours of the olives being picked to ensure the flavour and health benefits remain. Served with food, the pepperiness and the slightest almond skin bitterness is a delicious and vital part of your healthy diet.


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Theo Michaels: Rustica

This week, Gilly Smith is back in the Mediterranean – virtually of course - with Theo Michaels whose latest book Rustica explores the recipes of his family's village life in Cyprus.


It's all sponsored this month by Montezuma’s, Britain’s greatest little chocolate company who believe that their beautifully produced and packaged chocolate is positively good for the planet. The ethically-sourced ingredients in their bars, buttons, bites and truffles are all free from gluten, GM, colourings and preservatives and every product is also delivered in packaging that’s either recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable, making this a chocolate company with a conscience.


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James Strawbridge: The Artisan Kitchen

This week, Gilly escapes to the Cornish countryside (virtually, of course) with TV presenter and eco chef, James Strawbridge whose BBC series It’s Not Easy Being Green with dad, Dick Strawbridge of Escape to the Chateau fame, was way ahead of its time. 


It's all sponsored this month by Montezuma’s, Britain’s greatest little chocolate company who believe that their beautifully produced and packaged chocolate is positively good for the planet. The ethically-sourced ingredients in their bars, buttons, bites and truffles are all free from gluten, GM, colourings and preservatives and every product is also delivered in packaging that’s either recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable, making this a chocolate company with a conscience.


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Rukmini Iyer: The Roasting Tin Around the World

This week Gilly is with the food writer who has sold more food books than anyone else in the UK after the Pinch of Noms, Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry and Joe Wicks.  Rukmini Iyer’s Roasting Tin series does just what it says; it roasts in one tin the kind of inspiring and easy flavours that look and taste so good that the country can’t get enough. She gives Gilly her four favourite food moments from the latest in the series, The Roasting Tin Around the World.


CTB is sponsored this month by Montezuma’s, Britain’s greatest little chocolate company who believe that their beautifully produced and packaged chocolate is positively good for the planet. The ethically-sourced Fair Trade ingredients in their bars and buttons are all free from gluten, GM, colourings and preservatives and every product is also delivered in packaging that’s either recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable, making this a chocolate company with a conscience.


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Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage: Flavour

This week, the king of vegetables, Yotam Ottolenghi and his test kitchen princess, Ixta Belfrage teach us some of the secrets of the alchemy behind the recipes in their latest book, Flavour


CTB is sponsored this month by Montezuma’s, Britain’s greatest little chocolate company who believe that their beautifully produced and packaged chocolate is positively good for the planet. The ethically-sourced ingredients in their bars, buttons, bites and truffles are all free from gluten, GM, colourings and preservatives and every product is also delivered in packaging that’s either recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable, making this a chocolate company with a conscience.


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Isabel Losada: The Joyful Environmentalist
Author Isabel Losada talks through the four food moments in her latest book The Joyful Environmentalist, a romp through how low we can go with our carbon footprint.

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Tom Hunt: Eating for Pleasure, People and Planet
Eco chef Tom Hunt’s root to fruit philosophy has made him the king of sustainability in the food world. His restaurant, Poco Tapas in Bristol is a showcase of sustainable cuisine and his new book, Eating for Pleasure, People and Planet is a manifesto for getting our climate balance right. Gilly Smith whose book Taste and the TV Chef: how storytelling can save the planet is out this month, finds out how to make the changes we need to make save the world.

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Felicity Cloake: One More Croissant for the Road

This week, in the last of our summer holiday listens, Gilly Smith saddles up for Felicity Cloake's four food moments in her book One More Croissant for the Road, and a deep dive into the best of French gastronomy...by bike.


This month Cooking the Books is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. With 7 stores across London, they offer a huge range of products that lead the way in quality, specialty and vegan diets. Head over to @wholefoodsuk or check out @alexandradudley for more information on the Mindful Moments campaign. 


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Irini Tzortzoglou: Under the Olive Tree

This week, Gilly Smith is, virtually, in Crete with MasterChef 2019 winner, Irini Tzortzoglou whose four food moments take us through her debut cook book Under the Olive Tree. Packed with stories of family and feasting, this is her extraordinary journey from rural Crete to the City of London and back to the food of her home, but this time as a champion. 


This month Cooking the Books is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. With 7 stores across London, they offer a huge range of products that lead the way in quality, specialty and vegan diets. Head over to @wholefoodsuk or check out @alexandradudley for more information on the Mindful Moments campaign. 


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Skye McAlpine: A Table for Friends

This week we’re off to Venice with food writer and columnist and Venetian local, Skye McAlpine to hear her four food moments from her latest book A Table for Friends.



This month Cooking the Books is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. With 7 stores across London, they offer a huge range of products that lead the way in quality, specialty and vegan diets. Head over to @wholefoodsuk or check out @alexandradudley for more information on the Mindful Moments campaign. 

 



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The Official Giffords Circus Cookbook: Ols Halas

This week, Gilly runs away with the circus as Ols Halas, chef at Gifford's Circus restaurant Sauce and co-author with Nell Gifford of its official cookbook walks her through the glittering capes and pointy-toed ponies to peak behind life in the big tent.


This episode is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. With 7 stores across London, they offer a huge range of products that lead the way in quality, specialty and vegan diets. Head over to @wholefoodsuk or check out @alexandradudley for more information on the Mindful Moments campaign. 


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Ana Ros: Sun and Rain
This week, Gilly Smith takes us - by the magic of remote recording - on a summer holiday to Slovenia, to the magical land of turquoise rivers and Dalmatian montains to visit top chef Ana Ros at her gourmet restaurant, Hisa Franko.

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Gill Meller: Root,Stem, Leaf, Flower
This week, Gilly talks to food writer and River Cottage chef Gill Meller about the four food moments from his new book Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower that ponder on his relationship with food and the land.

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William Sitwell: The Restaurant

This week William Sitwell, restaurant critic at the Telegraph, host of the podcast Biting Talk and author of The Restaurant takes us through the history not just of eating out but the story of human life through the prism of how we’ve learned to eat.



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Ravinder Bhogal: Jikoni
Award-winning food writer, journalist and chef Ravinder Bhogal gives us her four favourite food moments from her new book Jikoni: proudly inauthentic recipes from an immigrant kitchen. Expect clucking aunties in dusty sandals and ancient pickle-makers with guard geese, wronged widows and the glee of ghee. Glorious stuff.

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Olia Hercules: Summer Kitchens
Olia Hercules, author of the award-winning Mamushka and Kaukasis takes us through four food moments from her latest book Summer Kitchens and paints an evocative picture of her Ukrainian childhood.

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Priya Basil: Be My Guest
This week, Gilly Smith talks food philosophy with novelist and essayist, Priya Basil whose book, Be My Guest was shortlisted for this year’s Fortnum and Mason best debut food book award and is an evocative exploration of food, race and memory. Sponsored by http://www.city-books.co.uk

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Jeff Gordinier: Hungry
This week, Gilly is (virtually) in Manhattan in the home of Jeff Gordinier, former New York Times journalist and author of Hungry, to retrace the footsteps of what must be one of the best food journalist gigs ever,  a rock ‘n’ roll road trip with Rene Redzepi, the greatest chef in the world.

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Joanne Harris: The Strawberry Thief
This week, Gilly Smith talks to author Joanne Harris twenty years after she first fell in love with Vianne, Anouk and Roux in Chocolat and then couldn’t wait to find them again in The Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure and now The Strawberry Thief, the latest in the Chocolat series. Sponsored by http://www.city-books.co.uk

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Jo Thomas: Escape to the French Farmhouse
This week, Gilly talks to award-winning author Jo Thomas whose Escape to the French Farmhouse is the perfect Lockdown read to transport you to Provence this summer as our heroine Della reminds us of the lost art of cooking with lavender. Sponsored by http://www.city-books.co.uk

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Sara Paretsky: Dead Land


Guest presenter, Elizabeth Perry, aka E.C Reads on Instagram talks to Sara Paretsky about the food moments in Dead Land, the latest in the series to feature her private detective V.I. Warshawski. When Indemnity Only, the first, was published in 1982, Paretsky revolutionised the genre with this tough-talking female private eye, and in 2002 won the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. Elizabeth has been reading her since she was 14 and admits that she is massive nerd-level fan.  


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Benjamin Myers: The Offing
This week Gilly Smith chats (remotely) with award-winining author, Benjamin Myers whose success with his previous novels, particularly The Gallows Pole has given him the accolade of the most powerful new voices in literature.   In this, his eighth novel, The Offing, he tells a Homeric tale of Robert, a 16 year old boy who sets out across 1950’s Yorkshire to Robin Hood’s Bay and finds a gloriously long summer of food, poetry and an unlikely freidnship with an eccentric and artistic older woman called Dulcie. 

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Kate Young: The Little Library Cookbook
Australian food writer, cook and bookworm Kate Young talks to Gilly Smith about the four food moments in the most important books of her life. From The Chamomile Lawn to The Secret Garden, Kate remembers the food on the plates of the characters in her inner world.

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Henrietta Lovell: Infused
Henrietta Lovell takes us through the four food moments that add extra flavour to her book Infused, a story of rare tea, adventure, resilience, courage and deep, deep pleasure. 

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Ingrid Persaud: Love after Love
Short story queen Ingrid Persaud takes us through the four food moments in her debut novel, Love After Love, the much anticipated Faber super-lead written in Trinidadian prose which tackles the questions of who and how we can love. 

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Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley: Falastin
Gilly Smith has lunch with Ottolenghi's Executive Chef Sami Tamimi and his co-author of Falastin, Tara Wigley to find the four food moments that tell their story of their new book about Sami's homeland of Palestine.

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Miranda Gore Brown: Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can
Series 1 finalist of The Great British Bake Off, Miranda Gore-Brown chooses four recipes to talk through her adventures in baking. A bittersweet story about so much more than cake.

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Ryan Riley: Life Kitchen
Food entrepreneur and author of Life Kitchen Ryan Riley talks through the four food moments which brought taste, flavour and the joy of eating back to thousands of people living with cancer.

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Romy Gill: Zaika
Chef, author and new presenter of BBC's Ready Steady Cook, Romy Gill chooses four food moments that take her back to the childhood in West Bengal which inspired her debut cookbook, Zaika, and led her to become one of BBC TV's latest TV chefs.

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Melissa Hemsley: Eat Green
Green queen Melissa Hemsley gives us the four food moments from Eat Green that net zeroed her life, and shows us how clearing out the back of the fridge can be a delicious way to save the planet.

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Kiran Millwood Hargrave: The Mercies
Award winning children’s writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave tells us about the food that puts the flesh on the bones of the women in her first adult novel The Mercies, a story of love, evil, and obsession based on the 1621 witch trials

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Olivia Potts: A Half Baked Idea
Olivia Potts talks through the food of grief in her tender, funny and moreish memoir, A Half-Baked Idea.

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