Australian-born London-based food writer and editor Bre Graham is all about one binding ingredient for her culinary creations: love! Having published her debut cookbook ‘Table for Two: Recipes for the Ones You Love’ in January, Graham showcases 80 recipes perfect for that special someone in your life, whether that be your mum, a good friend, or a partner.
In Part I of her book, titled ‘Easy To Impress’, she explores the uncomplicated tasty classics, which accompanies a ‘Just To Delight’ Part II illustrating how to impress guests with skilled organisation. She relishes every taste from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert, and tears apart a foodie’s love language into digestible chunks for you to try at home. The goal is to walk away feeling like “I love you, let me feed you something that will make you feel good”.
Finding her voice when writing the hit weekly newsletter ‘Dishes to Delight’ over lockdown, Graham has earnt herself a dedicated following through the likes of hosting podcasts, panels and supper clubs. Here, Graham sits down at her own ‘Table for Two’ with HUNGER, to chat all things love and cooking…
Hey Bre! What was your first memory of food, and how did that influence the start of your career?
Making pancakes and standing on a stool in the kitchen with my Mum was my first memory of cooking and pancakes are still what I make most weekends. I love the ritual of it and the idea of rituals, comfort, and love are what influence my food and writing the most.
After living in different places, like Australia, Singapore, and London, can you name your favourite cuisine?
It’s impossible to choose just one, but living in global cities like Sydney, Singapore, and London means that we can eat a different cuisine every night of the week and never get bored – I love that.
How did writing ‘Table for Two’ come about?
For a long time, I wanted to capture the feeling of cooking for someone and what makes that special. ‘Table for Two’ includes over 80 recipes and six menus throughout the book, but the essays and stories included are integral to the way that it’s read and how I want someone to feel when using it. Writing it came out of my weekly newsletter, ‘Dishes To Delight’, and the way I wrote about food and love there.
Who is your favourite person to cook for and why?
My Mum, because she taught me to cook and it’s a conversation that never ends.
What is one recipe in the book you think everyone should try and make and why?
The collapsing chocolate cake is without a doubt the best thing to start with. Even if you hate baking, you can’t go wrong with that cake.
You use a lot of alcohol-based recipes. What is your favourite drink and food accompaniment?
A glass of champagne and oysters, or a martini with a plate of french fries.
You started ‘Dishes To Delight’ over lockdown. How did this influence the way you approached ‘Table for Two’?
It completely changed the way that I wrote about food and how I saw the act of cooking for someone. The lockdown was a period of such intense emotion that found its way into the pages of this book.
What recipe of yours have readers of the books loved the most?
The Smoked Chilli and Vodka Rigatoni is 100% a reader favourite. I get tagged in many photos of that dish laid out on a table for two.
What seasonal ingredient can you not get enough of right now?
British Asparagus and Jersey Royals are so special and all I want to eat right now (covered in butter!)
A restaurant you can’t get enough of right now?
An escape from the office for a lunchtime bowl of noodles at Koya Ko on Broadway Market is so soothing.
What’s on your weeknight rotation right now, food-wise?
Now that it’s starting to warm up a little, I’m cooking a lot of seafood and salads. Crisp greens with mustard dressing and crab cakes are on the menu this week.
Could you list your desert island meal?
A platter of Sydney rock oysters on ice, spaghetti vongole, and a perfectly ripe peach for dessert.
What would you pick if you could choose a roast dinner or a fry-up?
Roast dinner for sure, because the use for leftovers feels endless!
Do you listen to music when dining?
Absolutely. Music is essential!
What’s next for you with your food and writing ventures?
I’ve just started working on another book project and have a summer of fun food events coming up!