Where did your love of cooking come from?
My love of cooking came from my childhood. I was brought up in Somerset and my parents had an amazing vegetable patch. They cooked real food, straight from their veg patch to the table. We didn’t have food with additives and preservatives, so I’ve always found the idea of processed food strange. When I moved to London 17 years ago I had to cook for myself and started doing elaborate dinner and lunch parties for friends in my twenties.
What initially inspired you to start a supper club?
I met someone who had started a platform for supper clubs who suggested I should start my own pop-up, so I did! I’ve no formal training, but my favourite thing to do is testing recipes on my ever willing boyfriend. Last night we had a duck, dark greens and soba noodle concoction I’ve been playing around with.
What are your top tips for cooking for a big group?
Prep! Don’t stress yourself out. Think of cold starters and puddings that can be made in advance. I’ve got a really simple smoked salmon mousse recipe (smoked salmon, or trout, cream cheese, yoghurt, lemons and loads of pepper) which is a favourite and so easy to make in advance. Serve it with hot toast, cheese biscuits, salad – whatever you like and it’ll go down a treat. If you’re worried about timings put some nibbles on the table so you know your guests have something to eat if you think you’ll be late with the food. Posset is a great pudding. You can make it a day or two ahead and leave it in the fridge until the event. For mains, think sharing dishes – you don’t have to worry about plating up and it encourages everyone to talk to each other.
What are your favourite West London restaurants?
This is a tough one! I love good local restaurants as being able to walk home afterwards is the dream. I’ve also got a dog so dog-friendly is high on the list. Luckily I’ve got a plethora of amazing eateries near me. Tsiakkos and Charcoal is a hidden gem off Harrow Road. It’s incredible value and loads of fun – the burnt pork shoulder is unmissable. We’ve also got Hero of Maida and KPH (two excellent gastro pubs), The Cow (less gastro, more pub, excellent food) 7 Saints (a lovely little local bistro), MAM (Vietnamese BBQ), Sacro Cuore (pizza) and not dog friendly but worth a mention is Orasay, recently opened by Jackson Boxer just behind Portobello.
What are the best shops and markets for food in West London?
I love Farmdrop. Despite food shopping being the only type of shopping I prefer to do in real life rather than online, I fully trust that Farmdop will send the best produce available. They are an online grocer that source direct from farms – it’s like the Farmer’s Market version of any online supermarket. I get all my meat from HG Walter who are in Baron’s Court, and my cheese comes from Paxton and Whitfield. I love spending weekend mornings at Portobello or Queen’s Park Farmer’s Markets.
What are your all-time favourite foodie holidays?
Everywhere and anywhere. There is always good food to be found. I spend days reading and researching places I’m visiting and where we should eat when we’re there. Beautiful bistros in Paris where you can suck garlicky snails from their shells, tiny tapas spots in Barcelona where you have to hover at the bar and shout orders over tons of people to be heard but get rewarded with little plates of red peppers, prawns, honey and caviar and tiny toasts, Italian mamas cooking up pots full of wild boar ragu in the back on a trattoria. I was in Poznan in Poland and really wanted pasta and we found somewhere serving some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. I also love exploring local markets and taking local produce back to an AirBnb to cook up a feast inspired by wherever I am.
What foodie destination do you want to visit next?
China and the Southern States of America are both on my list. I go on a lot of adventure holidays (climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking across Jordan) so I think we might do a 3-week trek across China and Mongolia next. I also want to do a road trip across the Southern USA and explore all the amazing food I’ve heard about in New Orleans and Austin.
Rosie’s next pop-up supper club is on the 20th September. Buy your tickets here.