Tales from the kitchen

Tales from the kitchen

A brigade of formidable female chefs will take centre stage as part of this year’s Mayfair and St James’s Literary Festival.


Kenyan-born chef and food writer Ravinder Bhogal will head a line-up of some of the best chefs in the UK.

Be inspired by British-Chinese chef and author, Ching-He Huang and celebrated Mexican chef Martha Ortiz.

Learn culinary secrets from English chef Angela Hartnett and Spanish chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho.

Over cocktails at Ella Canta, at the InterContinental Park Lane hotel restaurant, the panel will discuss the recipe books that inspired them.

They will also talk about their culinary heritage and what it takes to make it in the industry. 


Ravinder, who was born in Kenya to Indian parents, runs much-loved Marylebone restaurant Jikoni.

Inspired by the abundance of quality ingredients in Kenya, Ravinder serves a refined version of home cooking in her Blandford Street restaurant


She made her name when she was referred to as “the new Fanny Craddock” by Gordon Ramsay on his TV show, The F Word.

“A quote I love, from one of my favourite authors Jean Rhys, is ‘reading makes immigrants of us all’.

“It takes us away from home, but more importantly it finds homes for us everywhere.

“I really relate this quote to the London restaurant scene and how diverse it is. It makes immigrants of us all and takes us away from home, while giving us all a home.

“This quote is key to our philosophy and how we cook at Jikoni.”


Mexican food

Meanwhile Martha said the event would include “some of the most talented and interesting culinary female forces from across the globe in association with the Mayfair Times“.

“Literature has played a major part in my journey through food – from the cookbook about Frida Kahlo’s favourite Mexican recipes to the classical work The Mexican Cook published in 1888.

“Not only do stories inspire my creations, but they also continue to educate me about the endless possibilities existing in narratives, through the melody of poetry and colours of novels,” Martha added.


Chinese food

Ching-He Huang will discuss her latest book Wok On. She will also tell what inspires her to keep on writing about Chinese culture and developing recipes.

She said: “Through my recipes and writing cookbooks, I am able to recreate and reconnect with a part of my family history, identity, memories, culture and my values.”


Italian influence

Angela Hartnett was a protégé of Gordon Ramsay.

She now owns the Michelin starred Murano restaurant in Mayfair, as well as a string of other restaurants in London and one in France.

Her Italian style cooking was influenced by her Welsh-born mother whose own parents were Italian.

Angela rose to prominence after appearing on TV shows. She then worked with Ramsay at the Connaught Hotel, in Mayfair, gaining her first Michelin star in 2004.


Spanish style

Nieves Barragán Mohacho grew up in Spain's Basque country, cooking with her mother from a very early age.

She was executive head chef at Fino and Barrafina, in Soho, when the latter was awarded a Michelin star in 2013.

Just two years ago, she opened her own restaurant Sabor in Heddon Street, Mayfair. Sabor was awarded a Michelin star in 2018.




Tales from the Kitchen, 4pm-5.30pm on Friday, November 1 at Ella Canta, One Hamilton Place.
Tickets cost £15 and include a cocktail.
See our Events Listing to book and to find out about other events at the Mayfair Times & St James's Literary Festival.

You may like to read about the film strand of the festival in Ink On Screen

Or hear from legendary fashion artist David Downton in Tales from Couture.


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