Young Chef’s Award: A Winner’s Experience!

From Keelin Tobin, recipient of the 2014 Friends of the Oxford Symposium Young Chef’s Grant:
“The Oxford Symposium – ’tis a weekend not to be missed! It was a great honour for me to have been awarded the 2014 Young Chef Award. This award offers an assisted place at the weekend, in addition to the chance to work behind-the-scenes alongside established visiting chefs.

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The Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery’s 34th annual gathering

This is what we ate for lunch and dinner at
The Oxford Symposium on Food Cookery this year.

Menu-cards by Trustee Jake Tilson.

All meals thanks to Head Chef Tim Kelsey and the team at St. Catz.

1.Allegra's menu 1

1. allegra's menu 2

Allegra McEvedy’s scene-setting Market Dinner on Friday evening

Allegra and her team served a fabulous eat-with-the-fingers feast of porky things – well, she’s to be found flipping the hot pans at Blackfoot in Exmouth Market when not writing her column in The Guardian. Here’s her finger-licking menu:

Nibbles for drinks were chorizo, lomo and croquetas de bacalao
Peas, broad beans and radishes
Manaquish flatbreads
Sheep’s cheese with herbs and spices
Pig sarnie
Porchetta rolls with salsa verde
Crispy pig’s ears and crackling
Cime di rape & tallegio pizza
Strawberry, mint and hibiscus jelly cups

Allegra used produce generously donated by New Covent Garden Market (raw veg), Riffel, Ultracomida & Ubago (bacalao), Dingley Dell Pork, Iberiflavours (lomo and chorizo) and our wines were provided by Foods and Wines from Spain.


2. russian lunch 1

2. russian lunch 2

Saturday’s Russian Street Food Lunch with
Karina Baldry and Katrina Kollegaeva of Russian Revels

Karina and Katrina’s inspirational Russian lunch using local ingredients was prepared in honour of Saturday’s Plenary Speaker, Anya von Bremzen, author of “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking”.

Cold beetroot okroshka soup (with Organic Bio-tiful kefir)
Potato and caraway bread (from Karaway Bakery)
Gherkins in pastrami blankets
Anya’s beef kotleti
Hawberry ketchup (from Foraged Fine Foods)
Summery Olivier Salad (with mayo from Birchgrove Eggs)
Curd cheese with apricots and sunflower seed butter
Rose petal preserve (from Foraged Fine Foods)

We drank Kvass (Russian Soda). Their website is

3. Nordic menu 1

Trine Hahnemann’s Nordic Summer Banquet

Trine – cooking with her sister Silla Bjerrum – sets the scene for our Saturday evening dinner: “Imagine you are sitting in my kitchen on a summer evening in Denmark; this is what I would be cooking for us:” 

Lightly cured salmon with lovage, radish, cucumber, horseradish and cress
Rye focaccia
Black barley from Skaertoft Molle, spring cabbage, cauliflower
Lamb with fennel, fennel seed, white wine and elderflower cordial
Baked celeriac
Cheese from Knuthenlund in Lolland and fruit compote
Crisp bread from Peter’s Yard
Cold Buttermilk soup with strawberries and kammerjunker biscuit
Danish chocolate from Mikkel Holm

Trine used produce generously donated by Skaertoft (Rye flour and black barley), Peters Yard (crisp bread), New Covent Market (fruit and veg).  First course wine was 2013 Riesling Mayer am Pfarrplatz, Vienna. Second course wine was 2012 Wiener Gemischter Satz Nussberg Alte Reben Wieninger. Cheese course wine was 2011 Merlot Cobenzl, Vienna. Dessert wine was 2013 Traminer Kirchberg Christ, Vienna.


4. leftover lunch 1

Pepe’s Social Stew of Leftovers in homage to Food Artist Alicia Rios

Sunday’s Leftover Lunch was prepared and presented by food performance artist Joseph Pepe Patricio aided and abetted by Head Chef Tim Kelsey and the staff at St. Catz. Materials for the feast arrived in procession on trolleys preceeded by trumpet (voluntary) – and the cooking was finished at High Table, You had to be there to know how delicious it was and no, I don’t know how he did it (but I’ll ask!). All was eaten with the fingers (challenging but educational).  This is how Pepe explains the process of redesigning what went before: 

A collective rumination of nourishments past and future; an edible tribute to Food Artist Alicia Rios.  

First course: a window of opportunity opens as the marketplace closes.
Second course: The view widens as the chefs work magic with last-minute bargains.

Dessert: The Symposium reborn!

Trine Hahnemann


Trine Hahnemann – chef, teacher, author of 9 cookbooks (3 published in English) – is the founding-mother of caterers Hahnemann’s Køkken, a practical cook’s response to the need for high quality, well-balanced meals cooked by trained and talented chefs in staff restaurants and in-house canteens including those of the Danish government.

She remains very much a home cook and sees good food prepared with respect and care not only as source of enjoyment and method of communicating with others but as an instrument of social betterment. As author of The Nordic Diet and The Scandinavian Cookbook, her menu for our Saturday dinner, “A Nordic Summer Banquet”, is based on traditional Danish home-cooking: expect nettle-cured salmon, black barley and fabulous rye-bread.

Her writing has appeared in The Observer Food Monthly, Good Housekeeping, Food and Travel, Red Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller and she’s a regular contributor to the on-line magazine Zesterdaily.

Russian Revels

contrasted KatrinaSaturday’s Russian lunch in honour of our Saturday Plenary Speaker, Anya von Bremzen, will be masterminded by a couple of Londoners who set up a catering company, Russian Revels in 2012 with the modest aim,  they say, of revolutionising the image of Eastern Europe by showing that Russian food can be light, luscious and chic.

Karina Baldry is  Muscovite by birth and author of ‘Russia on a Plate’, and anthropologist Katrina Kollegaeva’s roots are in Soviet Estonia.   is an exploration of Russian culture and cuisine in the 21st century rather than simply replicating the traditional dishes while using ingredients and techniques which are recognisably Russia.

Their website is and you can follow them on Twitter: @RussianRevels (Natasha Nestman took the pic).

Joseph Patricio

Sunday Lunch at The Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery.

 “Pepe’s Social Stew of Leftovers


For Sunday’s Leftover Lunch at the Oxford Symposium,” says performance artist Joseph Patricio, “I transpose the sense of immediacy that takes place in the closing moments of any market-place – whether in Istanbul or Madrid or Oxford – with a ritual that celebrates the many ways in which food unconsumed and saved throughout the weekend of the Symposium can be reborn in the form of delicious dishes to give pleasure to all.

The event reflects the state of emergency which happens a few minutes before the vendors close shop, whether in a Turkish weekly street market in Berlin or a feira in Rio de Janeiro, when unsold goods are given leftover status. Within this small window of opportunity, customers scramble to make last minute bargains. As with the mood of the marketplace before closing time, our meal invites participants to ruminate on the nourishment of times past and give thought to the future of our own accumulated leftovers.”

 About the artist:


Joseph Patricio – friends call him Pepe – is a performance artist and social ethnographer born in Manila in 1981 and currently based in Berlin and Madrid.  Since 2012, Pepe has been creating situations designed to investigate the meaning of social interaction in contemporary rituals, delivering performances in Madrid, Berlin, Bilbao, Asturias, Rio de Janeiro and Munich. To produce these rituals, he uses ‘old’ and ‘used’ objects such as food-leftovers, mementos and  already-owned clothing placed in ordinary contexts which lead to extraordinary incidents, serendipitous happenings and the weaving-together of connections. From 2003 to 2010 he worked as a dance-performer and researcher of rituals and oral traditions in the Philippines. Awarded a master’s degree in International Performance Research from the Universities of Warwick and Amsterdam, and in the Performing Arts and Visual Culture from the National Museum of Reina Sofia in Madrid, Pepe loves to cook and to dance. For more information, go to

Darina Allen


And our Friday evening speaker is the great Darina Allen – author, tv presenter, teacher and founding-mother of Ireland’s farmers’ market movement.  She’ll be with us on the evening of 11th July, along with Trustees – and courtesy of – The Jane Grigson Memorial Trust. Born in 1951, Darina has written around a dozen cookbooks and has presented the nineth series of her own tv programme, Simply Delicious.


In 1983, she established the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, with her brother, Rory O’Connell,  after coming to Ballymaloe to join Myrtle Allen, undisputed grande dame of Irish gastronomy, as her daughter-in-law. A graduate of hotel management in Dublin, she was an early champion of organic, seasonal and local and is Ireland’s representive on Council at the Slow Food Movement in Turin. When not teaching, she practices what she preaches on her own organic farm, and chairs the Midleton Farmer’s Market. She is the moving force behind the network of farmers’ markets in the Cork area and runs a programme for local primary schools to help children learn about food from garden to plate.


Award-winning cookbooks include 30 Years at Ballymaloe (Irish Book Awards 2013); Forgotten Skills (André Simon, 2010); and the best-selling series from Simply Delicious. A passionate and committed teacher, recent awards include Good Food Ireland’s Cookery School of the Year 2012/2013 and IACP Cooking Teacher of the Year in 2005.

As member of the Taste Council of the Irish Food Board, Chair of Ireland’s Artisan Food Forum of Food Safety, Trustee of Irish Organic Centre and Patron of Irish Seedsavers, Darina has plenty of practical experience to share with us on what it takes to bring food to market. In 2013, Darina helped establish the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, an international gathering of food-writers and chefs designed to share expertise and expand understanding of her favourite subject, bringing together all the strands of her life’s work.

Allegra McEvedy

And our Friday chef is the multi-talented Allegra McEvedy MBE.  Columnist, author and chef-proprietor of small-is-beautiful restaurant Blackfoot in Exmouth Market, Allegra has agreed to join Tim Kelsey in the kitchen at St Catz cook for us on Friday 11th July at the Oxford Symposium this year. Apart from the day-job, she writes on cookery in The Guardian and has made a cookery 6-parter for BBC2.


“My dad,” she says in a recent quick-fire interview in The Independent, “Was a consultant psychiatrist by day and historian by night. Our mum had a background in advertising but after having us, turned her hand to lots of things, from running a wine bar to writing radio plays.” Allegra was born in 1970, raised in West London and her academic ambitions were foiled (she wanted to be a barrister) when she was expelled from St Paul’s Girls’ School at the age of 17, shortly after the death of her mother.

After completing her training in classic French cuisine at the Cordon Bleu in 1991, worked at the Groucho Club, River Café and earned  her first head-chefship at Tom Conran’s The Cow in Notting Hill. During a spell in the US, she worked at Rubicon and Jardinière in San Francisco, and ran the kitchen at Robert De Niro’s New York restaurant Tribeca Grill, serving 500 covers a night. In 2003, she launched the healthy fast-food restaurant group, Leon, with Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, remaining a shareholder but leaving for tv work and writing.

Five books – the score so far – include Leon: Ingredients & Recipes (2008), Economy Gastronomy (2009 – from the tv series co-hosted with Paul Merrett); and the latest, Big Table, Busy Kitchen (Quercus 2013). Her popular weekly column has appeared in The Guardian since 2007, and she hosts a live internet “cook-along” with readers every month.

She was awarded an MBE in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to the hospitality industry and lives in Shepherd’s Bush with daughter Delilah, though you’ll find her at Blackfoot working long hours most days of the week. If she hadn’t been a chef, she says, she’d have been a London cabby. The only thing she doesn’t do is puddings (if she can help it)…expect a market-menu based on delicious porky stuff, frivolous things with salt-cod and – well – something simple but surprising for afters…pigs

D.H. Lawrence explores a market in Sardinia in the 1920’s

Found tucked away in Topography in the London Library, a young D.H. Lawrence writes of the market in Cagliari in Sea and Sardinia (Secker 1923)

“It was Friday: people seemed to be bustling in from the country with huge baskets…Thereafter we follow Madame going marketing…followed by a small boy supporting one of these huge grass-woven baskets on his head, piled with bread, eggs, vegetables, a chicken and so forth…and find ourselves in the vast market house, and it fairly glows with eggs: eggs in these great round dish-baskets of golden grass: but eggs in piles, in mounds, in heaps, a Sierra Nevada of eggs, glowing warm white.  How they glow!  I have never noticed it before. But they give off a warm, pearly effulgence into the air, almost a warmth.  A pearly-gold heat seems to come out of them. Myriads of eggs, glowing avenues of eggs.”

sardinia illustrations 2

“This is the meat and poultry and bread market. There are stalls of new, various-shaped bread, brown and bright: there are tiny stalls of marvellous native cakes, which I want to taste, there is a great deal of meat and kid: and there are stalls of cheese, all cheeses, all shapes, all whitenesses, all the cream-colours, on into daffodil yellow. Goat cheese, sheep’s cheese, Swiss cheese, Parmigiano, stracchino, caciocavallo, torolone, how many cheeses I don’t know the names of!  …And there is lovely ham…there is a little fresh butter too…There are splendid piles of salted black olives, and huge bowls of green salted olives. There are chickens and ducks and wild-fowl; there is mortadella, the enormous Bologna sausage, thick as a church pillar…a wonderful abundance of food, glowing and shining.”

sardinia illustration“We…saw more baskets emerging from a broad flight of stone stairs, enclosed, so up we went – and found ourselves in the vegetable market. Peasant women, sometimes barefoot, sat in their tight little odices and voluminous, coloured skirts behind the piles of vegetables, and never have I seen a lovelier show.  The intense deep green of spinach seemed to predominate, and out of that came the monuments of curd-white and black-purple cauliflowers: but marvellous cauliflowers, like a flower show, the purple ones intense as great bunches of violets. From this green, white, and purple massing struck out the vivid rose-scarlet and blue crimson of radishes, large radishes like little turnips in piles.  Then the long slim, grey-purple buds of artichokes, and dangling clusters of dates, and piles of sugar-dusty white figs and sombre-looking black figs, and bright burnt figs: basketfuls and basketfuls of figs.

A few baskets of almonds, and many huge walnuts. Basket-pans of native raisins. Scarlet peppers like trumpets: magnificent fennels, so white and big and succulent: baskets of new potatoes: scly kohlrabi: wild asparagus in bunches, yellow-budding sparacelli: big, clean-fleshed carrots; feathery salads with white hearts; long, brown-purple onions and then, of course, pyramids of big oranges, pyramids of pale apples, and baskets of brilliant shiny mandarini, the little tangerine oranges with their green-black leaves.  The green and vivid-coloured world of fruit-gleams I have never seen in such splendour as under the market-roof in Cagliari: so raw and gorgeous.”

Anya von Bremzen

The fabulous Anya von Bremzen, author of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, will be Saturday’s plenary speaker on markets as a means of survival – provisional title, The Double Market in Soviet Russia

anya_picAnya knows of what she speaks. Soviet Cooking, subtitled a memoir of food and longing, was described by the New York Times as ‘a meticulously researched history of the Soviet Union’, while Leslie Chamberlain, no less, has just reviewed the book at full length with great enthusiasm in the Christmas double issue of the TLS.

Anya is a wise and witty woman, winner of three James Beard awards – cookbooks include The New Spanish Table and Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook (co-authored by John Welchman). She spent her childhood in Moscow and Baku as the daughter of a well-connected but dissident Russian mother. Mother and daughter emigrated to the US in 1974 with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Dissidence runs in the family: Anya’s great-great-grandmother – another Anna – was a famous Bolshevik feminist who ended up in a gulag and was responsible for freeing Muslim women in Soviet Tajikistan from their full-length horsehair veils.  Anya lives and writes in New York and Istanbul, contributes regularly to magazines and newspapers in the US, and is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. Our Saturday lunch will be based on Anya’s choice of Soviet-era recipes – surprisingly delicious – from her memoir.

Tom Jaine in ppc 99 on the Symposium 2014. “The website is the gateway to enlightenment.”

Ursula Heinzelmann’s Viennese market

Trustee Ursula Heinzelmann works up an appetite for Vienna’s Naschmark. Vienna’s largest open-air market is situated in the 6th district of Mariahilf, between Secession and Kettenbrückengasse. While the market itself dates back to the 1780s, early activities were confined to the sale of milk and butter.

vienna mkt cafe


Naschen actually means nibbling and snacking on delicious tidbits – is’nt that a great name for a market? – although it didn’t actually acquire this name till 1905. By then the market had long been used for the sale of fruit and vegetables. Today it has developed into an appetising mix of shops and street stalls offering all kinds of delicacies, with most of the stalls housed in permanent wooden structures.

cheese shop_One of the most attractive elements of the market today is the wide variety of goods on sale: you can buy fresh sauerkraut directly from the barrel, then move along to the stall selling Indian spices who’s next door to the seller of mountain cheeses whose neighbour is selling fresh fish or game. After the new millenium, many of the stalls began to offer food and drink for consumption on the spot, a very popular option amongst locals at weekends, when the flea market at the far end of the Naschmarkt provides an additional draw.

man with liquor_