This month we had the pleasure of visiting the lovely Alexandra Dudley in her home in London. With her recently released cookbook Land & Sea we couldn't wait to hear all about her inspiration and get a sneak peek at her delicious recipes. Read on to find out more about Alexandra's work & to see her favourite Wrap pieces.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
I am a private chef, food writer, food and creative consultant. My work varies day to day which I love. I could be catering for a big birthday party one day or working on an exciting food launch the next. There is nothing I love more than cooking for people so I host a lot of supper clubs too at various locations around London. I've recently started offering cooking classes and cooking parties too which is rather fun.
How do you stay creative while working in the food industry?
My background is in art and I have a BA HONS in Fine Art - painting. For me cooking is an incredibly creative process so I find it easy to be creative working with food especially when recipe creating. If I'm ever feeling a little static in life I'll usually get back into the kitchen and play around with a few ingredients to create something new.
What inspired you to write your recently released book Land & Sea?
I've been a creature of the kitchen since I was young and always dreamed of writing a cook book one day. I love cook-books, to me they are extensions of the writers' personality. Land & Sea is just that. I am a big believer in eating seasonally; strawberries in the summer, asparagus for a brief few weeks in late spring and all the comforting root vegetables when the weather turns cooler. Sustainable eating too deserves a conscious effort and I wanted to incorporate a bit of that into the book. I was brought up on lunches of leftovers and scraps upcycled into feasts and still today I have a firm rule to never throw anything away. Food waste is a real problem and I find so many people are unaware of the 'bits' that we can eat. I love to turn my broccoli stalks into mash or salads and making pesto from my carrot or radish top leave for example. My hope is that Land & Sea can be seen as a spring board with recipes that inspire the readers and cooks to get creative. I think recipes should be seen as recipes rather than rigid instructions. Often the best recipes come from happy accidents or substitutions.
If you had to pick one, what would be your favourite recipe from Land & Sea?
Oh tough. It would probably be the figgy breakfast tray-bake, chargrilled romaine hearts or my toasted almond, rocket and parsley salad. It's delicious with pretty much anything.
As well as being an author you run supper clubs and cookery classes! What's the best part of your job?
Cooking! I just love it and especially cooking for people. I love watching people really enjoy food. Outside of work I am always throwing supper parties. I am actually a bit geeky when it comes to hosting and love getting everything prepared and organised for the evening. I enjoy the element in my work too. Menu planning is always lots of fun but the best thing is to see the whole thing come together whether it be a supper club, chef work or a project with another company or restaurant.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
Tough one as it changes often but I usually like to get my body moving in the morning so will head to the gym for a bit of a boogie on the mat with a medicine ball or a spin class. I love the vibe of a spin class and the place I go to plays great old tunes - Fleetwood Mac and such. If I am working from home I will head back and have breakfast there otherwise I will head to Soho House in town and enjoy a good pot of Earl
Grey and plate of scrambled eggs. I'm usually split half between meetings in central and real work at home. I try to spend one day a week in the kitchen. I've usually got an upcoming job to prepare for so it's a good time to experiment and perfect any recipes I've got going.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I'm definitely what one would call a relaxed dresser. I walk a lot so I don't wear fancy shoes and you'll usually catch me in a pair of beaten up plimsoles or Birkenstocks. I love a pair of dungarees or comfy jeans but I love to wear organic cottons and soft fabrics where I can. I think cashmere is one of life's little luxuries that makes all the difference. I love Wraps Alana sweater especially with its three-quarter sleeves which are incredibly useful if you often have your hands in pastry or washing up.
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
I have a pair of Current Elliot soft grey denim dungarees that are close to a teddy bear. If I'm ever feeling iffy I put them on and feel immediately comfy. Cotton t-shirts and tops are a must too and I love anything with stripes. I have far too many stripy tops for one person. I've got a few cashmere jumpers that I pull out time and time again too.
My favourite London hangout is...This changes, but I love Good & Proper Tea on Leather lane. It has a warm and cosy feel with the smell of delicious cakes wafting up from their kitchen below. They serve the most delicious tea and a warm oat milk chai that is divine!
My guilty pleasure is... Popcorn. I love it. There is something blissfully naughty and childish about it. I've always loved the cinema so perhaps it's that association. My siblings and mother love it too.
Words to live by... Never grow up!
My favourite holiday destination is...The Greek islands. I often go to Leros or Lipsi which are part of the Dodecanese islands. They are a lot less touristy than most and very low key. I love the Greek lifestyle. Everyone seems so happy and appreciative of time. I always feel like I come back to myself and connect whenever I manage to get away there. I genuinely believe they are magic!
My day isn't complete until I've... Spent some time in the kitchen.
My favourite ingredients are... Miso paste, any fresh herbs and eggs. They are so wonderfully versatile.
|Anca Jacket >||Alana Cashmere Sweater >||Lula dress >|
|Leila T-shirt >||Stevie Kick Flares >|