a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Teaching cookery classes


Chefs are inspired by my cookbook
Claudia Roden Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Much later, Marks and Spencer were doing... Much later, Marks and Spencer asked me to – several years later – could I come to taste some foods. Their humus, to see if it's right. And I say that they had my book there. And they had the company that was making it, a Cypriot company, there as well. And they had made it. They wanted to hear what I said. And I just realised that they were using my book. And giving their... that's why my mother found that it was the same phyllo. I don't think it is now probably. Because there's so many millions of books. And also, so many people cooking, they don't need my book now. But originally, this is how that book had an influence.

I must say that now, I know that it has an influence on chefs. Because I keep being told by young chefs, who no longer so young, telling me that that is how they started with this book. And perhaps the first chef who told me that, was Alastair Little, who died just a few, I think last week, or two weeks ago. He had a restaurant called Alastair Little in Soho. And... maybe Dean Street, I'm not sure. But he got my phone number. He said, 'Come for lunch'. And I went for lunch. And he was known to have taught himself cooking. He was one of the first chefs who didn't go and learn French cuisine, which was what all chefs who wanted to be great chefs... or earn a living being a great chef, or a good chef, would go to Paris to learn. And he taught himself from books. And I remember he gave me sardines with a stuffing. Two sardines fried together, stuck together. It was like stuffed sardines. And I was, 'This is wonderful'. And he said, 'It's yours. It's from your book'. It was from a book on Middle Eastern food. But he also... by then he was using the Mediterranean Book as well. I think.

But early on, Samuel Clark, who started Moro with his wife, Samantha. He said that when he was 14, he was cooking from that book. And so many other chefs have told me, that's how they learnt. Because it was the first book of that cuisine. And so, for many, many years I was the only one they could use.

Claudia Roden (b. 1936) is an Egyptian-born British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist of Sephardi/Mizrahi descent. She is best known as the author of Middle Eastern cookbooks including A Book of Middle Eastern Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food.

Listeners: Nelly Wolman

Claudia Roden talking to her granddaughter Nelly Wolman about her life in food.

Tags: Alastair Little, chefs, cuisine, Middle Eastern food, sardines

Duration: 3 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023