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Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith is the winner of The Guild of Food Writers' Best Broadcast or Podcast Award 2022, and was shortlisted for Fortnum and Mason Best Podcast 2022 and 2024. It's about all of life from climate change to culture and politics to people through the prism of food. It's for foodie book lovers who want to hear something more profound about the way we live, making the link between delicious food and the impact of food production on the land - through books. Hear how A- ...
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The Gillyweed Girls

Kayla Rogers and Sarah Predmore

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Have you ever caught yourself gazing up at a willow tree hunting for fairies? Daydreamed about stumbling upon a mermaid whilst in the water, or maybe pretended to be a mermaid so thoroughly that your eyes were chlorine burned? Then you've come to the right place! Here at the Gillyweed Girls Podcast, every week we slooth the sea stories that inspire our dreams and haunt our nightmares. If you like mermaids, ocean lore, magic, and laughing over stupid H2O references, this is the podcast for you.
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This week, we’re off to Menorca on a bit of an Eat Pray Love story with New York Times journalist, Yasmin Fahr. Her latest book, Cook Simply, Live Fully is about the options in life. It’s about cooking consciously, taking time to think about what you really want to eat, and being a little kinder to yourself – and the planet. Following your nose, tu…
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This week, Gilly catches up with the queen of Turkish cuisine, Ozlem Warren. We’ve met Ozlem already on Cooking the Books to talk about her 2020 book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, but this time she’s talking about the side of Turkish cuisine that perhaps we don’t know so well, the vegetables, the sebze, inspired by thousands of years of diverse food histo…
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In this extra, special episode, Gilly is with Angela Clutton, who, with Itamar Sulovitch from Honey and co and Leyla Kazim from the Food Programme, was one of the three judges of this year's Fortnum and Mason Awards. By the time you hear this, the glitz and glamour of these Oscars of the food world will be over for another year. The mass of talent …
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This week, Gilly is with award winning travel writer, Caroline Eden. Her Cold Kitchen in Edinburgh is where we find her comfort cooking up the recipes she remembers from her travels. Her memories take us on the Trans Siberian Railway, through the dark back streets of a winter in Istanbul and the political chaos of a coup in Kyrgyzstan, and remind u…
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This week, Gilly is with Georgina Hayden, our favourite Cypriot food writer to talk about Greekish, her everyday recipes with Greek roots. This is about the mash up of all that she is – North London, 2nd generation Greek Cypriot, who with full support from her yiayia, her grandmother, has cooked up a whole story of her family life in the kitchen. G…
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This week, Gilly is off to stunning Welbeck country estate in the heart of Nottinghamshire to the School of Artisan Food to meet head baker, Kevan Roberts. His book Baking Sourdough takes us on a sensory journey to the roots of traditional bread making, and as the School prepares for this years’ summer school courses, Gilly finds out why sour dough…
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This week, Gilly is with Nicola Lamb, one of the nominees of this year’s Jane Grigson Trust Award for best debut food writer. Her book Sift is an extraordinarily accomplished first book by a pastry chef trained in London and New York by the best - Ottolenghi, Dominique Ansel and Little Bread Pedlar. Her Substack, Kitchen Projects was praised as an …
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This week, Gilly explores art, philosophy and food with third generation British-Chinese photographer and Instagram superstar, Michael Zee His Symmetry Breakfast account featured his photographs of symmetrical breakfasts every day for 10 years and has 667k followers. In his latest book Zao Fan, Breakfast of China, it's with his anthropological eye …
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This week we’re off to North Macedonia via Crawley with Spasia Dinkovski Spasia’s book, Doma, meaning home, is one of Gilly's favourite journeys, back to where it all started. She may have been born in Crawley, but her heart, she finds out through her cooking and her writing, is with the women who fed her soul in Macedonian summers. Already spotted…
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This week, Gilly takes us back to last week's Jane Grigson Trust Awards for debut food book writers to meet the winner, Chris Newens. He may still be writing his book, Moveable Feasts: Paris in Twenty Meals, but Gilly helps him unpack four food moments which open a door on Parisian food through its 20 arrondissements. Check into Gilly's Substack to…
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This week, Gilly Zooms over to the Clare Valley just outside Adelaide in South Australia to catch up with food writer, TV presenter, sustainable living advocate, urban farmer, entrepreneur and the queen of Granny Skills, Rebecca Sullivan to talk about her book, with partner Damian Coulthard, First Nations Food Companion. Gilly first met Rebecca in …
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This week, Gilly is discussing Easy Wins with the award-winning and best-selling queen of vegetarian food, Anna Jones. Her latest book is packed with stunning recipes and ideas for getting so much more taste and less waste on our plates. Easy Wins has 125 brand new recipes around 12 hero ingredients, all designed to make our lives easier. But with …
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This week, Gilly is with Angela Clutton to talk about her latest book, Seasoning. This is so much more than a bit of salt and pepper. It's about how climate is changing our seasons with its earlier springs, longer summers, warmer, wetter winters and the role we play. It has all the hallmarks of a modern classic, a book packed with the rigour we ass…
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This week, Gilly is with Charles Clover, author of Rewilding the Sea to dive deep into the world behind our fish. Charles is a seasoned environmental journalist, super campaigner, co-author of King Charles’ Highgrove: Portrait of an Estate. And as co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, he’s bringing life back to our oceans. Margaret Atwood calls his…
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This week, Gilly is with nutritionist, Karen Newby hot on the heels of an Instagram live with the Queen of the Menopause, Davina Mcall, on her new book The Natural Menopause Method. It’s a book for our times. Since Davina’s documentary about HRT, everyone’s talking about menopause. Karen's book is all about food, but it’s not a recipe book. This is…
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This week, Gilly is with one of the main players in the story of modern British food, Michel Roux Junior His Mayfair restaurant, le Gavroche is a London legend, and its closure last month 57 years after his father and uncle, the Roux Brothers changed the game in British food, is a milestone in the way we eat. At 63, he’s ready for the next chapter,…
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This week, Gilly is with Ashia Ismail- Singer to talk food identity and how food culture travels across borders. Her books Ashia’s Table and Saffron Swirls and Cardamon Dust, and her 3rd, The Laden Table which comes out in April, are about her Indian food culture, born in India, brought up in Malawi and the UK and fused with the best of New Zealand…
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This week, Gilly is with the word on Omani food, Dina Macki. Her first book, Bahari: Recipes from an Omani Kitchen and Beyond is out today, but it’s been a long time coming; the Jane Grigson Trust Award which she won in 2023 is the annual pointer to the best of the brand new food writers before their books are even finished, and the world has been …
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This week, as part of a new season for the New Year on how to live, be and do better, Gilly is with plant-based chef and author, Gemma Ogston to talk about how to get well enough to be your best self. Gemma's journey through dis-ease led to a career in addiction counselling and nourishing DJs and 24 hour party people back to health in her temporary…
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This week, Gilly is with Lynn Cassells who with her partner Sandra Baer are two of the most inspiring women you’re likely to hear on Cooking the Books this year. Our Wild Farming Life is their story of following a dream, moving from South East England to the Scottish Highlands to regenerate an 150 acre farm. It was more than a dream – it was a call…
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This week, Gilly is with food writer and photographer, molecular biologist, multiple James Beard award-winner, Nik Sharma. His latest book Veg-Table is all over the Best of the Year lists for his original scientific take on vegetables which has opened up a whole new way of eating. Check out Gilly's Substack for Nik's Extra Bites Hosted on Acast. Se…
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To kick off a brand new year of life through the prism of food, Gilly is with the Head of Communications and Marketing at Veganuary, Toni Vernelli to talk about the 2024 edition of the Official Veganuary Cookbook. It's 10 years since Veganuary first made January its own, encouraging people all over the world to try out a meat free month for the sak…
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This week, Gilly is with Alex Jackson, Noble Rot chef, former restaurateur at Sardine and author of Frontieres. He talks about his long love affair with France, and particularly with its food, but it’s the edges that we’re after here, The Italianness of the French Riveiera , the spices of Provence, melting pot of Marseille. It’s about an adventure …
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This week, Gilly's with a man after her own heart. There are very few people who write about TV chefs and their place in British food culture, but Kevin Geddes, author of Keep Calm and Fanny On and Gilly, who wrote Taste and the TV Chef (2020) are two of them. Channel 5 is showing an hour long documentary on December 28th called the 70s Dinner Part…
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This week, Gilly is with private chef, Jane Hodson, food writer, Lucas Hollweg and probably the most influential of social media food influencers, photographer Clerkenwell Boy to discuss These Delicious Things, a charity cookbook featuring recipes and childhood food memories from the likes of Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Stanley Tucci. The idea…
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This week, Gilly is with Dina Begum, whose book, Made in Bangladesh celebrates the food and folklore and of the old country which she left when she was four years old. It was first book, Brick Lane which first opened the door on what was happening in the kitchen of our East End curry houses, and propelled her into pole position as authority on Brit…
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This week, Gilly is on Hove seafront with an old friend of the podcast, Joe Woodhouse to talk about More Daily Veg. A lot has happened since they first met on Zoom to talk about his first book, Your Daily Veg. While the Ukraine war has rocked his family life – his wife is the Ukrainian food writer and Cook for Ukraine champion, Olia Hercules, their…
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This week, Gilly is talking to Alexina Anatole about the least pleasant of our five tastes: bitter. Or is it? Alexina's series of cookbooks on the five tastes: Bitter, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Umamia is a step-by-step exploration of flavour, and an impressive start to a what looks like a masisve career for this bright young spark who swapped the trad…
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This week, Gilly is with Russell Norman, the award-winning restaurateur, writer and broadcaster who brought Italy to the British high street, first through Polpo, the book and chain of Venetian style restaurants which gave us small plate food culture, and now Brutto, the Florentine trattoria next to London’s Smithfield market. Brutto, the book, is …
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This week, Gilly is talking about what home means to Irish TV chef, Donal Skehan. Donal has moved a lot in his massive career on TV, from Eurovision to Saturday Kitchen and on to Food Network in LA. Now, with wife Sofie and their two young boys, he’s come home to Ireland. His 11th cook book, Home Kitchen, is a meditation on home, nostalgia and who …
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This week, Gilly is with one of Britain’s very best food writers, the author of First Bite and The Way We Eat Now, Bee Wilson. After years of writing about the psychology and history of food, this is Bee’s very first cook book. It’s packed with recipes for an easier life in the kitchen, as the sub title suggests, but the Secret of Cooking is not ju…
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This week, Gilly is digging deeply into the construction of identtiy through the food with multi award-winning Russian writer Anya von Bremzen. National Dish is a fascinating book which explores how certain foods become the cultural signifiers of France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and Turkey. Mixing academic rigour with chats at bars and cook ups…
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This week, while Gilly is talking about the roots of Italian cuisine, Cucina Povera Giulia Scarpaleggia began her food writing career as a blogger and photographer before becoming one of the most respected writers on Italian food. Her book Cucina Povera is all about her respect for the inguity of peasant cooking which reveals the soul of Italian fo…
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This week, Gilly's with the king of Tik Tok, the idol of Insta and star of channel 5’s A Taste of the Country, Julius Roberts. His debut cook book The Farm Table is a beautifully written story of a young man following his dream from cheffing to farming, with goats who think they’re dogs, pigs begging for a tummy tickle and an idyllic walk through t…
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This week, Gilly is with one of Britain’s very best food writers, Diana Henry. The new edition of her 2005 book Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is a lyrical walk through the autumn leaves and winter wonderlands of her favourite food places in the world as she shares the delicious finds that have made her one of Britain’s most well-respected and award-winnin…
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This week, Gilly is at Knepp with the queen of wilding, Isabella Tree. The Knepp estate is an extraordinary pioneering wilding project to restore nature which Isabella captured so beautifully in her 2019 book Wilding. Chris Packham called it ‘A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land'. Now, The Book of Wilding breaks that…
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This week on Cooking the Books, Italian-Kiwi gardener and cook, Bri DiMattina tells us how she’s grown a food forest using permaculture principles in her garden in New Zealand. Her book Nostrana, meaning ‘home grown’ is also an extraordinary story of Italian food heritage in New Zealand. It’s the legacy of her grandparents growing a new world for t…
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This week, Gilly is with Conor Spacey, chef, culinary director of Food Space Ireland and one of the movers and shakers behind the Chefs' Manifesto, a community of over 1000 chefs in 110 countries making real change in the world of food His book Wasted is packed with recipes for the kitchen waste we all have in our homes, and it’s ingenius. Check Gi…
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This week, Gilly is with Adriana Cavita, the brilliant Mexican chef and, now author of Cocina Mexicana, whose journey from her grandmother’s street food stall to top international restaurants like Pujol and El Bulli has brought the real flavours of Mexico to London. Have a listen to the resilience of this woman – she’s like a hurdler, jumping the b…
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This week, Gilly is with the Indonesian chef behind her last sell out supper club, Petty Elliott. Her book, The Indonesian Table is a seminal work on the food of this archipelagic state of 17000 islands. We might think we know the flavours of Bali, Java, maybe even Sumatra, but Minangkabau? Manado? Banda Island? Probably not. Petty brought Indonesi…
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This week, in the last of this mini series on Matrescence, Gilly is with Helen Rebanks, farmer, businesswoman, teacher, conservationist and a working mother of four. She's also wife to Britain’s most famous farmer, James Rebanks whose phenomenal success with his books The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral (as featured on Cooking the Books), chan…
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This week, Gilly is with Emiko Davies, the Australian born, half Japanese writer on Italian food who lives with her family in Florence to talk about Japan. Her book Gohan is the story of her childhood food, fed to her by her Japanese mother in Australia and by her grandparents in Japan. It's the Japanese word for rice, but it also means ‘family mea…
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This week, in the third in a special series this summer on Matrescence, Gilly is with Tara Wigley, co-author of the award-winning Falastin, in-house writer of Team Ottolenghi, Yotam’s co-author on eight of the biggest food books, including the million-seller, Ottolenghi Simple.. and mother of teen twins and a tween. Her hilarious and often biting d…
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This week, in the second in a special series on matrescence, Gilly is talking about morning telly, cook hacks and motherhood with TV chef, Shivi Ramoutar. Shivi is the Caribbean Queen of Morning TV. She’s the chef on Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show, she was the TV Chef on Garraway’s Good Stuff and cooked with the Kemps on Martin and Roman’s Weekend Bes…
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This week, Gilly's at the home of award-winning recipe writer, author and YouTuber, one of Bake Off’s most celebrated winners and mother of 2, Chetna Makan to talk about her new book, Chetna’s Indian Feasts. But in this first episode of a special series this summer, we’re talking about food through the prism of matrescence, the raw ingredients whic…
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This week, Gilly is with Maria Bradford, author of Sweet Salone, the first book to tell the story of the food from her homeland of Sierra Leone. Maria came to the UK as a student and grew up with her guardian in a village in Kent, far from the colourful food culture spreading through London’s West African communities. But it was her sense of being …
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This week, Gilly is with Syrian chef, restaurateur and charity pop-up king, Imad Alarnab, whose story has become a symbol of hope for so many migrants fleeing their war-torn homelands. His book, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is so much more than a book of recipes from Syria. It’s the story of gritty determination to make a better life for his family, of me…
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This week, Gilly is with cook, gardener and beekeeper, Amy Newsome. Her book, Honey: Recipes From a Beekeeper's Kitchen takes us through the beekeeper’s year, arguing the case for less but better honey from inside the bee hive. Her holistic approach takes us from terroir to table via a garden designed for bees, while her four food moments capture t…
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This week, Gilly is with the woman who cooked for Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, the late Queen and the leaders of the Western world at the G7 conference in 2020. But as she opens up about what drives her, she reveals that she didn't always feel such a superwoman. Her restaurant Emily Scott Food, perched on the beach at Newquay, has settled into the ex…
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This week Gilly is with journalist and author, Clare Finney whose new book, Hungry Heart is a memoir which unravels a tricky relationship with food. As she explores her own story with food, she unravels the complexities of British food culture in conversation with famous friends, Diana Henry, Bee Wilson and Gurd Loyal, academics and school friends.…
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