Honest Pride and A Homey Touch

A heartfelt and multi-media love letter to good food and beautiful people, Rosie Birkett and Helen Cathcart’s book East London Food, published by Hoxton Mini Press, is a celebration of the best restaurants, recipes and gastronomic talent in one of the coolest parts of the capital.The book is a journey through the multicultural cuisine of East London, an area of the city that has been experiencing a culinary boom in recent years, and features in-depth interviews with food enthusiasts from Michelin-starred chefs to wild foragers, via urban beekeepers.

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Pavilion Café

Accompanied by tantalising photography and a pull-out booklet with 17 recipes, the whole book comprises a hub for international gastronomic dialogue. Engaging, informative, and heart-warming, East London Food is a guide for locals and travellers alike, with restaurant recommendations for the best joints in this somewhat enigmatic corner of the capital, including what dishes to try, and how to prepare them at home afterwards. This is not a recipe book, but a frank and proud insight into the East London food scene, in all its varying rusticity and panache.
With photographs of steaming coffee, mouthwatering dishes, and candid cookery, the book is a tempting coffee-break morsel in itself.

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We spoke to Helen to hear her thoughts on the whole satisfying concoction.

The Plus Paper: How did you come up with the idea of the project?
Helen Cathcart:
Hoxton Mini Press wanted to expand their East London Book collection to include a book on food, and approached myself and Rosie to do this for them as they knew we lived in the area and had photographed and written about the food scene extensively. They wanted us to pick our favourite producers and places to create this book.

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TP: Do you have a favourite recipe among those listed in “East London Food”?
HC:
The chicken and girolles pie by the Marksman

TP: How did you decide on your collaboration for this book?
HC:
Rosie and I had worked together a lot, meeting each other at the very start of our career’s when we were both working for free! We started test shooting together when Rosie got into food styling and had been on lots of trips together writing and photographing about food. The main thing is we have a lot of fun together so when Hoxton Mini Press approached me there was only one person to recommend!

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TP: What was the most exciting challenge you faced in the book’s production?
HC:
Whittling down the list of places to include. There are just so many diverse food scenes in East London that we were never going to be able to include them all, so in the end we had to just go with those that we genuinely loved ourselves and would be happy to recommend to others.

TP: There’s a lot of diversity in East London cuisine, but is there anything in particular by which it is characterised?
HC:
I think the fact that people are not scared to try new things, and launch innovative and carefully thought out food.

TP: If you were to make a sequel, what London neighbourhood would you explore next?
HC:
Ah good question! It’s so tough, as I don’t think that anywhere else in London has the same innovative food scene as East. so I would say a sequel to East London Food would be most likely, and would allow us to include all the places we couldn’t fit in!

E5 Bakehouse, London Fields
E5 Bakehouse

Hill & Szrok
Hill & Szrok

Lardo
Lardo

Verden
Verden

Violet Bakery
Violet

East London Food is available now from Hoxton Mini Press.