How a homeless child grew up to become the most inventive chef in history.
Tagged with “cooking” (104)
Aleks Krotoski takes her seat at the table to explore the amazing world of fictional food made real.
Food is not a new force in fiction, but increasingly fictional food is finding its way onto the table. And fan communities from the new breed of modern cultural canon aren’t just nibbling on Laura Esquivel’s devastating quail in rose petal sauce from Like Water for Chocolate, but also tucking in to fried squirrel and raccoon from The Hunger Games, Sansa’s lemon cakes from Game of Thrones, or downing a frothy glass of butterbeer from Harry Potter.
Now Aleks gathers together three people who know a lot about fictional food to discuss its appeal for fans, authors and food creators alike. Together, they will make, and eat, a meal of food from fiction, and discuss some of the interesting questions it raises.
Joanne Harris is author of several novels where food is almost a character in its own right - most famously Chocolat, which was turned into a film of the same name; she also co-created a cookbook, The Little Book of Chocolat, for the many fans desperate to make the concoctions they had read about in her novels. Sam Bompas is co-founder of creative food studio Bompas & Parr, who recently helped create Dinner At The Twits, inspired by Roald Dahl’s book. And Kate Young brings together her passion for food and literature in her blog The Little Library Café, where she creates recipes for food found in fiction, and many of them will be included in her first cookbook, The Little Library Cookbook.
The programme also includes music played on the flavour conductor - a working cocktail organ, conceived by Sam Bompas for Johnnie Walker. The music is composed by Simon Little.
Recommendation engines are everywhere. They let Netflix suggest shows you might want to watch. They let Spotify build you a personalised playlist of music you will probably like. They turn your smartphone into a source of endless hilarity and mirth. And, of course, there’s IBM’s Watson, recommending all sorts of “interesting” new recipes. As part of his PhD project on machine learning, Jaan Altosaar decided to use a new mathematical technique to build his own recipe recommendation engine.
The technique is similar to the kind of natural language processing that powers predictive text on a phone, and one of the attractions of using food instead of English is that there are only 2000–3000 ingredients to worry about, instead of more than 150,000 words.
The results so far are fun and intriguing, and can only get better.
Charles Green. Chas to his family, ‘cook’ to his colleagues. A young baker whose sense of adventure drew him to a career cooking on the sea. You may never have heard of Charles, but you certainly will have heard of an expedition on which he played a crucial role…
Charles was cook for the crew of the 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. A disastrous expedition which ended up lasting for more than two years. The men were forced to camp on moving ice flows, and eventually a remote Antarctic beach on Elephant Island. But against all odds, every man on Shackleton’s ship The Endurance survived. In August 1916, the men were rescued. They were on the edge of starvation.
During their time on the ice, Charlie Green cooked tirelessly using his creative flair to concoct meals out of exceptionally meagre means. His food kept the men alive. He went back to the Antarctic with Shackleton on the expedition which would be Shackleton’s last. But then, despite living until the 1970s, he faded into obscurity. Known only for slide shows that he gave locally with the well-known images of the expedition.
One hundred years on, another Antarctic chef Gerard Baker, uncovers the extraordinary life led by Charles Green and his version of two years cooking for the men of the Endurance. One of the greatest survival stories of all time.
Spain’s Basque region exerts a powerful influence on global cuisine, Dan Saladino finds out why. Heston Blumenthal and writer Harold Mcgee provide insights into this food culture.
We’re bringing together a professional vegetarian and a professional carnivore.
And not just any vegetarian—Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of the celebrated restaurant Dirt Candy on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Without braising a single pork belly since it opened in 2008, Dirt Candy remains one of New York’s hottest restaurants. Our other guest, Adam Danforth, isn’t your everyday carnivore. A butcher by trade, Adam has written a James Beard Award-winning guide to meat cutting and worked at New York culinary temples Marlow & Daughters and Blue Hill. Despite his food’s popularity, he’s the butcher who thinks we should all be eating less meat. Plus: Smoothies! Reality TV! Pig tails!
This week Sue Lawley’s castaway is the award-winning cookery writer Claudia Roden whose Book of Middle Eastern Food revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East. Her Book of Jewish Food has been described as ‘the richest and most sensuous encyclopaedia of Jewish life ever set in print’. She chooses eight records to take with her to the mythical island.
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the chef Heston Blumenthal. He is one of only three chefs working in Britain today to be awarded three Michelin stars and last year his restaurant, The Fat Duck, was named the best in the world by a panel of 5,000 food experts.
His speedy rise to the top of his profession is little short of extraordinary. He has only ever spent a week in a professional kitchen and taught himself classical French cookery. He became fascinated by the science of cooking and has become the Willy Wonka of modern cuisine - dishes he’s created include mango and douglas fir puree, salmon poached with liquorice and, most famously, snail porridge. But he acknowledges his success has been largely due too to his wife’s support and now wants to change the balance of his life towards spending more time with his young family.
Chef Michael Solomonov sees his mission as connecting people to the food of his homeland. "That, to me, is my life’s work," he says. Solomonov’s new cookbook is Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
How do our assumptions about people affect our assumptions about their food? And how do their assumptions about our food affect how we feel about ourselves? What happens when chefs cook a cuisine they weren’t born into? And what happens when there’s a backlash? Our friend Dan Pashman, host of WNYC Studio’s The Sporkful, has launched a special series of episodes called "Other People’s Food," which aims to explore exactly these questions. Dan talks with Brooke about the project so far.
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