The Poetics of Food – 5th October, Hackney Wick

I’ve just been invited to speak at this event about the poetics of food. I’ll be talking about my experiences of the deeper meaning that food can evoke, how cooking connects people to their roots and how food can build connection between cultures.

If you fancy coming along you can book your tickets here



A day of food talks, discussions and demonstration at The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick.

Curated by Daniel Vais // @daniel_vais

Food experts, chefs, supper-club hosts and food philosophers to discuss the poetics of food, cooking, kitchens, hosting and to share their knowledge and passion with an audience.


Patrick Hanna – Head chef, L’Entrepot

Charles Michel – Food philosopher

Dominic Dromgoole – Artistic director Shakespeare’s Globe, owner Maeve’s Kitchen

Rafram Chaddad – Culinary expert, Artist

Cristine Leone – Head chef, Ivy’s Mess Hall & Little Ivy

Alicia Watson – Parkholme Supper Club

Felicity Spector – Food writer, Channel 4

Atsuko Ikeda – Japanese food expert

Gillian Riley – Food historian

Yasmin Khan – Persian food expert

Further info:

Charles Michel – Charles is a Franco-Colombian professional cook who graduated from Institut Paul Bocuse. After a classical training in France and Italy, including two years at the three Michelin-starred restaurant “Dal Pescatore”, his work took a turn to collaborative research with Professor Charles Spence, applying neuroscience insights to culinary creations, understanding the senses and emotions to design multisensory experiences.

He is interested in how neuroscience research and sensory science can inform creative processes and immersive experience design in fields such as gastronomy and art. This approach could play a crucial role in designing better foods for the future of mankind.

Since 2013, Charles has worked with the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford’s University department of experimental. Lately, his research has been focused on flavour perception, multisensory integration and experience design. He is collaborating with artists, scientists and chefs from different backgrounds.

After training in Europe, he worked in Colombia researching culinary traditions while travelling through the countryside, as well as managing his own consulting and culinary services brand. For 4 years, he taught cooking classes, developed restaurant concepts and delivered private high-end dinners. Together with a group of creative talents, named 401B, Charles has been experimenting with a series of immersive multisensory art events involving food and drink. This group worked as a creative think tank, collaborating with local marketing agencies on communication strategies for brands.

Patrick Hanna – Head Chef L’Entrepot, Patrick is the very accomplished head chef of L’Entrepot, who brings people from all around the city to eat at his restaurant outside Hackney Downs station. He is considered one of the most unique chefs working in London today.

Rafram Chaddad – is a visual artist and a food expert, interested in questions of immigration and locality as well as craftsmanship and aesthetics. He has been travelling throughout the Mediterranean and studied the local customs. He contributed to Ottolenghi’s books and has been collaborating with Claudia Roden. In art he has exhibited all around Europe, and collaborated with the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. 
In 2010, he was kidnapped from a hotel room in Tripoli, Libya and was subjected to six months of torture and solitary confinement. He only escaped with the help of the son of Colonel Gaddafi (Self al Islam) and the Austrian billionaire Martin Schlaff.

Felicity Spector – Food writer Felicity Spector has worked in national television journalism for 24 years, covering everything from the Velvet Revolution in Prague in 1989 to the inauguration of President Obama, but has combined her day job with an increasing interest in food writing in her spare time. Over the last six years she has been a judge for the Great Taste Awards and has been privileged to meet loads of fabulous producers, food writers and chefs.

Dominic Dromgoole – Dominic is an English theatre director and writer about the theatre. In 2005, he took over from Mark Rylance as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. In January 2014 he directed The Duchess of Malfi, the opening production at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre (the Globe’s indoor counterpart).His other directing credits include revivals of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London, Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, with Rik Mayall, George Bernard Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island at London’s Tricycle Theatre, and Eric Schlosser’s Americans at the Arcola Theatre. He has also directed plays in the US and Romania. He recently opened Maeve’s Kitchen in Clapton in honour of novelist Maeve Binchy.

Cristine Leone is the Head Chef & Creator of Ivy’s Mess Hall & Little Ivy’s in Hackney.

After graduating in Visual Arts in Brazil, She spent 5 years working in restaurants in Australia before moving to London in 2010. Her passion for food, people, art and fresh organic ingredients has taken her from Baking homemade organic cakes, gluten free goods for local businesses to running her own Pop Up Supper and opening Three Restaurants in a space of Three years.

Atsuko Ikeda – Atsuko has been sharing her knowledge of Japanese cooking with a series of courses, which introduce family favourites, alongside Shojin Ryori dishes, a Japanese Buddhist devotional culinary tradition. Her passion for food and her love of teaching transpires in her classes at Atsuko’s Kitchen, which are amongst the most popular in London. Also she works with Divertimenti and Sozai cookery schools. Her classes are informal and hands-on, resembling more of a dinner party with friends than a classroom lesson. Her down-to-earth and unpretentious approach to cuisine combined with her talent to create delicious, simple-to-prepare, fashionable meals will make you experience the Japanese philosophy of elegance and simplicity.

Alicia Weston – trained as a biologist but went to work in investment banking for 18 years.  In this time she was heavily involved with charitable activities including teaching cooking at Crisis, the homeless charity, and award-winning educational work.  She also founded Parkholme Supper Club in 2010, to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres.    In 2012 she left the City to work for the New Economics Foundation, a progressive think tank, where she is currently still thinking about housing and how to increase the amount of social rented housing we are building.  Parkholme Supper Club continues to go from strength to strength (nominated “London’s #1 supper club” by London Live TV) and to date has raised well over £50,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres.  It operates with a large and varied team of volunteers from photographers to IT, cooks and washer-uppers.    It was the tight budgets that PSC works with (yet delivers highly rated food) that inspired the concept for Bags of Taste.  It is clear that the barriers to cooking at home are many, but include budgets—many of us know that it seems to be cheaper to buy a ready meal than to cook from scratch.  This made no sense and so we have been working to change this by providing truly affordable meals on budgets that almost anyone can afford (75p a portion), and systematically trying to break down the barriers to cooking at home for the students.  It is now formally incorporated as a not-for-profit company and has received some charitable funding.

Yasmin Khan – ‘Saffron: Tales from the Persian Kitchen’

Yasmin Khan is a food writer, cookery teacher and supper club host with a passion for Persian food. Last year, armed with just a notepad and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, Yasmin travelled through Iran asking a cross-section of Iranians to share their favorite recipes with her. From farmers to fisherman, teachers to tradesman, carpet makers to cab drivers, Yasmin asked the people she met to share the stories behind the food they love and the country they call home. The resulting project, “Saffron: Tales from the Persian Kitchen” is a collection of recipes, portraits and stories celebrating Iran, her food and her people. The project aims to get behind the usual media stereotypes to give audiences a taste of the real Iran.

When not immersed in the Persian kitchen, Yasmin manages Made in Hackney, a community eco-kitchen that teaches vital food growing and cooking skills to vulnerable and low income groups in Hackney.
Gillian Riley
Free lance food historian writhe a particular interest in food in art. My publications include ‘The Oxford Companion to Italian Food’ and the National Gallery cookbook ‘A Feast for the Eyes’. A work in progress is ‘Food in Art’ to be published soon by Reaktion Press.


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