March 2022

Update from our Chair, Elisabeth Luard, on Keynotes and Guest Chefs

Greetings and good news, Symposiasts, old and new!  We’ll be back at St. Catz July 8-10, 2022 (all things being equal) for the first time since our gathering in 2019.  Although we’ve had to increase the price of the in-house weekend to a level that allows us to cover rises in costs beyond our control, the Trustees have no doubt that our weekend proposed programme of invited speakers and guest-chefs will be as inspirational as ever.  In addition, the two-week on-line Conference, July 15-31, will feature all the accepted papers and panel discussions with all the presenters, as well recordings of the keynote speakers and some social get-togethers. 

A taste of what’s in store: this year’s scheduled Speakers – always remembering things can change – are our President, Claudia Roden (Middle Eastern Food et al), fresh from receiving rapturous reviews for her new cookbook, Med; who will be discussing traditional al-fresco feastings in the lands of the Mediterranean. Historian and lecturer on gastronomic science Professor Lizzie Collingham (Imperial Bodies, Hungry Empire, Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, and The Taste of War) will talk of travellers’ stores and other foodstuffs on the move. Journalist, editor, restaurant critic and author Corby Kummer (Senior Ed. The Atlantic, Aspen Institute’s Exec. Director, Food and Society Policy Program, The Pleasure of Slow Food) will take a long hard look at commercial fast-food outlets in the big wide world. 

The Symposium’s meals, as always, are designed to expand our understanding of the year’s subject (and to experience them – you’ll have to book your place at St. Catz!). Marcia Zoladz and Scott Barton plan a menu of African-Brazilian-Portuguese-Amerindian street food – think acarajévatapá, malagueta hot sauce, popcorn with green coconut.  Chef and activist Joshna Maharaj (Take Back the Tray) will treat us to Canadian hospital tray-meals you’d never imagine in your wildest dreams. Then it’s all aboard the Darjeeling Express with chef, restaurateur, writer and activist Asma Khan (you’ve seen her on Netflix’ The Chef’s Table) for childhood memories made real – and while you’re along for the ride, grab a copy of her latest, Ammu, for what to cook when you get home. On Sunday, wear your prettiest florals and head out into the garden (weather permitting) for an al-fresco Mediterranean feast prepared to Claudia Roden’s favourite recipes by this year’s Young Chefs under the benevolent eye of St Catz head chef, Tim Kelsey.

See you there!