How Food Frames Stories

A Series of Conversations

In these fractured times l wanted to continue to look at how stories and food can overcome the distance between people and enhance our shared experiences so earlier this year I spent time exploring storytelling through food writing.

I interviewed some very talented writers who tell stories through their food writing to find out why how food has shaped their writing and in what ways food enhances their storytelling. They have all had different experiences around food which has influenced how they write and the subjects they write about. In their own ways they use their writing to break down barriers through stories and food. I hope you find these conversations as fascinating as I did.

6 September 2022 – Aaron Vallance

In my first interview I would like to introduce Aaron Vallance, who as well as being a talented food writer, is a psychiatrist, working in Community NHS child and adolescent mental health service. He has pieces in food publications such as Vittles and Lecker, but also publishes on his blog which has twice been shortlisted by the Guild of Food Writers.

13 September 2022 – Olivia Potts

In my second interview I would like to welcome Olivia Potts, writer of two outstanding books, the first A Half Baked Idea which is ‘a heart-breaking, hilarious, life-affirming memoir about dealing with grief, falling in love and learning how to bake a really, really good cake’. She is the winner of the 2020 Fortnum & Mason Debut of the Year Award and the 2020 Guild of Food Writers Food Writer of the Year Award. A Half Baked Idea is truly wonderful and I would recommend it to everyone.  

Her next book, Butter, a joyous immersion in all things butter, revelling in its alchemical power to transform almost any dish is published on Thursday 15 September and I can’t wait to read it. She also is the cook whose recipes provided me with a perfect recipe for pancakes, sausage rolls and cheese straws. She also helped to keep me (and many others) sane through her practical instructional how to videos on instagram in the early days of lockdown. My gorgeous picture of a lockdown hot cross bun can be laid solely at her door.

Robbie Armstrong

My third interview is with Robbie Armstrong. Robbie is an audio producer, writer and broadcast journalist based in Glasgow. He has reported stories for BBC News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland, produced for The Food Programme, Feedback and Podlitical, written for The Guardian and Vittles, and worked as a restaurant reviewer for The List Magazine’s Eating & Drinking Guide. He can be found on Twitter/Instagram @robbiejourno and his website is

Anna Kharzeeva

Anna is the author of the remarkable cookbook, The Soviet Diet Cookbook, which is not just that but also a fascinating anthropological, historical analysis of the Soviet regime. She is a political refugee and had to flee Russia at the outbreak of the war against Ukraine or face the possibility of decades in jail for protesting against the actions of the current regime. We had arranged to do the interview before the war broke out and eventually managed to do it once she arrived in Australia after fleeing Moscow via Istanbul. We stuck to my original questions which predated the awful events in Ukraine as we wanted this interview to work with the rest of the series. As you will hear however, naturally the war and its effects aren’t far from her thoughts.

You can find Anna on Instagram and you can buy her book here
Cook for Ukraine –

Featured Image: Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing-Wax. 1889