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The What's Cooking Podcast
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The What's Cooking Podcast

Author: Elizabeth Kerr and Kat Wood

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Beth and Kat are two lovers of all things food who bring you weekly insights into the adventures of fellow epicureans and their businesses. Focusing on the journey and not the destination, they will explore what gets their guests out of bed in the morning and what life looks like when you’re starting from scratch in this competitive sector.
53 Episodes
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For this episode, we spoke with Saima, founder of The Hampstead Kitchen. Saima is a private chef, philanthropist and activist who cooks for private events all over the world. We hear the story of how a chance meeting with and opportunity to cook for her now mentor, Warren Buffet, led to her starting the business. Saima talks us through The Hampstead Kitchen's approach to food -  telling stories through their menus and creating events which provide a three dimensional experience - from the drinks and the table linen to the ingredients and where they are sourced. Through this, they encourage guests to connect the food they are being served with a bigger picture and Saima now speaks at most events, supporting this approach and highlighting her charitable causes. We also discuss the zero waste philosophy within the company – redistributing leftovers to the homeless and cooking meals for food banks and others in need. Saima’s commitment to her causes and the integrity with which she conducts her business is unfaltering. Towards the end of the conversation, we hear the story of her first visit to a refugee camp and how this experience has changed her approach to life. Other topics we touch on are Saima’s mentorship of new businesses, employment of refugees and ex-offenders and commitment to giving a percentage of profits to charity. Find The Hampstead Kitchen on Instagram @hampsteadkitchn and via their website www.thehampsteadkitchen.com. Find us on Instagram @whascookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or drop us an email thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com. 
For this episode, we chatted to Nikki, COO of City Harvest. City Harvest are a London-based charity who redistribute surplus food to over 300 organisations, food banks and charities every single week. We debunk the myth that surplus food is only for the homeless. 1 in 4 Londoners are dealing with food poverty and City Harvest are acting as a crucial connection between retailers and the organisations who are feeding the hungry. Nikki talks us through the story of City Harvest so far; starting with 1 van and three passionate individuals, the small team have built the organisation to an enormous scale - at the time of writing they rescue and deliver 70,000 meals every week. Having reached this milestone in such a short space of time, City Harvest are working to restructure and expand the operation so they can meet ever increasing demand. Recently appointed to the role as COO, Nikki brings with her a wealth of experience in the food sector and we discuss how she is channelling this into her new role. City Harvest totally relies on funding for their operation - they receive food donations and distribute at no cost to the organisations that are receiving the food. We chat about the different types of funding they receive including one funny story about an enormous cheque from Metallica!There's a real buzz around City Harvest and the work that they do. We chat about the charm of City Harvest, how it draws individuals in who stay committed to working, volunteering and going the extra mile to ensure everyone hears about them.We recorded this episode in the summer and City Harvest had just hit a huge milestone of 6 million meals donated. We are now just a few months on and they have just celebrated their 7 millionth meal! This just goes to show the huge difference they are making and how rapidly they are growing. Find City Harvest on Instagram @cityharvestlondon or via their website www.cityharvest.org.uk where you can find out more about donating and volunteering.
For our first episode of season 6, we spoke to the founders of Form Nutrition - Damian and Natalia. Form provide products to support holistic nutrition for body and mind – all plant based and backed by scientific research. The company was launched to fill a need for a different kind of nutrition brand and through their design-led branding, strong research based content and an obvious love of what they do, Damian and Natalia give a high quality, functional, great-tasting product. We discussed Form’s charitable actions, environmentally friendly packaging and their desire to offer a solution with positive value – not just highlighting a problem but creating a way to solve it. We also spoke about the different uses of their protein range and about nootropics – the other side to the Form product offering. This conversation was inspiring, insightful and endlessly interesting – we hope you learn as much as we did! Find Form Nutrition on Instagram @formnutrition or via their website www.formnutrition.com. Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or drop us an email: thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.  
Growing a high impact business, drawing on Silicon Valley experience and foreseeing a new way of eating with Grace, founder of Spice Box.  For our final episode of the season and our fiftieth episode, we spoke to Grace, founder of SpiceBox. SpiceBox serve delicious, innovative food that “happens to be vegan.” Starting out selling from her front door, Grace has grown SpiceBox to a Walthamstow restaurant which serves brunch, lunch and dinner on site as well as delicious take aways - made all the better using their reusable Tiffin tins. We heard about Grace’s previous experience running a tech company in Silicon Valley and how she has drawn on these experiences to create a business focused on both micro and macro goals. Grace also told us about the sustainable thread that runs through the business and the nuances of becoming and staying environmentally friendly. We really hope you enjoy this final episode of season 5!Find SpiceBox on Instagram @eatspicebox and on their website www.eatspicebox.co.ukFind us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or email us on thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
Demystifying kombucha, the learning curve of scaling up and building a business with friends - with Adam, co-founder of JARR Kombucha.For the penultimate episode of the season, we spoke to Adam - co–founder of JARR Kombucha. JARR are an East London based kombucha brewery who have based their business around creativity, connection and innovation. They create delicious kombucha in their classic flavours – original, passion fruit, ginger and recently launched raspberry – along with collaborations which allow them to further explore the possibilities of this amazing fermented tea. We discussed the benefits of building a business with your friends and the trust that goes along with this, as well as the importance of splitting roles between co-founders to play to the strengths of each team member. We also talked about the challenges of scaling up, finding the right investment partner and the thinking behind their toned back packaging and their journey of creating a new identity for kombucha within this growing category.Find JARR on Instagram @jarrkombucha and on their website www.jarrkombucha.com.Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or email us on thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
 Street food, supperclubs and launching a product with Dixie - chef and creator of Aphrodite’s FoodFor this episode we spoke to Dixie about her seriously impressive experience within the food industry. From growing up around artisan food at an early age to moving to London and starting a course at a catering college, Dixie has so many interesting stories to share from her career so far. A refreshingly honest insight into the highs and lows of working within food, we talk about the different avenues she has explored within the industry. We spoke about how her innovative pomegranate ketchup came to be, the process for designing the beautiful packaging, and the decision to keep the production at a small scale. Dixie also talks us through her experience on The Taste - a TV programme where chefs design the ultimate tasting spoon for Anthony Bordain, Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre. This episode is packed full of stories as we also hear about working in street food, starting a supperclub and we learn more about the projects Dixie is currently focusing on.  You can find Dixie on Instagram @aphroditesfood and on her website www.aphroditesfood.com  Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or via email thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
Raising awareness of food waste, creating value from surplus and what it takes to run a crowdfunding campaign, with Jenny - founder of Rubies in the Rubble.For this episode, we sat down with Jenny, founder of Rubies in The Rubble – makers of “condiments with a conscience.” Rubies in the Rubble make delicious relishes, mayos and ketchup from ingredients which would otherwise be wasted. We heard about Jenny’s no fear approach - starting the business through her passion for raising awareness of the amount of food being wasted everyday and not being afraid of what people thought of her decisions. We also talked about their crowdfunding campaign, which was in full swing at the time of recording and ended considerably above target. We learned about the hard work and preparation that goes into a crowdfunding campaign and that it’s definitely not as easy as it sometimes appears. Jenny has been getting people to think about food in a different way since launching and continues to do so with all her products, celebrating food and taste. Find Rubies in the Rubble on Instagram @rubiesintherubble or online at www.rubiesintherubble.com. Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast on Twitter @whatscookingpod or via email thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
Maintaining trust, longevity and relevance in a 15+ year career and leading a successful multi-hyphen business with Dale - chef, nutritionist, presenter and author of 14 booksFor this episode we spoke to Dale about all the different elements of The Medicinal Chef, including: books, TV, podcasts, online programmes and Instagram. It's fascinating to hear how Dale's interest in nutrition started from such a young age and how this passion and drive for the subject propelled him into sustaining a career for over 15 years. We find out how the industry has evolved since then and how social media has increased accessibility and reach to give value to a much wider audience. We explore Dale's ethos around food and cooking and how this practical and accessible approach is woven throughout his work and the information he gives out. It's fascinating to hear how Dale has developed and continues to develop, many different strands of the business, allowing him to reach a wider audience. You can find Dale on Instagram and Facebook @themedicinalchef and on his website www.themedicinalchef.co.uk/Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or via email thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
Winning MasterChef, writing a book and campaigning for better NHS meals with Saliha - cook, NHS doctor and author of new book Khazana.For this episode we spoke to Saliha about her experience as a contestant, and eventual winner, of MasterChef UK - we talked about the parallels between working in a high pressure kitchen and working as an NHS doctor and discussed how she balanced the two commitments during filming, alongside her family life. We also heard about her campaign for better NHS meals and better hydration in hospitals - why this is so necessary and what her plans are for bringing it to the forefront. Saliha talks about the amazing platform that MasterChef has given her and why she felt it so important to create a name for herself within the food industry to assist with her mission for change. Saliha also told us all about her book writing process - how the deal came about and the story behind Khazana. You can find Saliha on Instagram @salihacooks and on her website www.salihacooks.com.Find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod or via email thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com.
 Creating a network for chefs, promoting fair and equal working conditions in kitchens and what it really takes to put on an event - with Rav, founder of Countertalk. For this episode we sat down with Rav, pastry chef and creator of Countertalk – the new platform helping to connect chefs within an equal and supportive environment. We heard about the reasons behind Rav’s decision to start the Countertalk community and why it is so important to champion new talent in the food industry in a way that is inclusive and supportive. We also discussed the careers side of the site and talked about the criteria food businesses must meet to post a job. It was really inspiring to hear the passion Rav has for placing talented chefs into the right working environments. Countertalk also runs events - from supper clubs to talks and tastings – and we chatted about all the different elements that go into to planning and running these events, while keeping them affordable. Finally we discussed Rav’s work as a pastry chef, currently at Tart London’s new space, Wild by Tart, and the different consulting roles she has taken on around London. This is a really insightful conversation, possibly our most honest yet – a must listen for anyone who’s already a part of or is thinking of becoming a part of this exciting industry. You can find Rav on Instagram @ravneeteats and Countertalk on Instagram @countertalk and online at www.countertalk.co.uk. You can find us on Instagram @whatscookingpodcast, on Twitter @whatscookingpod. Get in touch via thewhatscookingpodcast@gmail.com. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, review and leave us a star rating!
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