Epsom-based food blogger and supper-club host, Laura Scott, reveals the secrets to her success.
So tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m Laura, an ex-chef who’s now back in the kitchen running The Epsom Supper Club. I’m also a freelance cookery tutor and a food blogger at How to cook good food. I live in Epsom with my husband and three children.
And we understand you just won a rather important award!
Yes, I was contacted by Pinterest to say I had been shortlisted for Best Bake of 2016, for my Raspberry & Rose Bundt Cake recipe, only to find out a couple of weeks later that I’d actually won the award! They were judged by top chef Tom Aikens, the BBC food team and the food editor of Time Out, so you can imagine how pleased I was, and I was up against top names in the food world too!
How did you first get into cooking?
I trained at Westminster College and then went on to do an apprenticeship at Claridge’s Hotel under John Williams (now executive chef at The Ritz). The hours were exhausting and I soon decided I would move into the world of freelance cooking, which is what I did for about ten years before having kids and moving out of London.
What do you most enjoy about it now?
I love the creativity and freedom of being a self-employed chef/teacher. I am constantly trying out new recipes and techniques and am loving my bread-making, patisserie work and fresh pasta creations.
And you also have your own allotment locally as well?
Yes, it’s used mainly for growing fruits, such as redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries and gooseberries, which all get made into jams. Plus, all the wonderful blackberries that are abundant in the autumn. There always seems to be far too many courgettes to get through in the summer too!
Do you have an all-time favourite restaurant in Surrey?
The meal I have most enjoyed lately was at The Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot. I also love Jin Go Gae, a wonderful Korean restaurant in New Malden. Friends of mine run The Percy Arms in Chilworth and I am dying to try out their Sunday lunch, which is supposed to be one of the best in Surrey.
Any other foodie faves in the area?
I love Surrey Hills Coffee, a local artisan coffee-roaster based in Forest Green and run by a lovely Swedish couple, Christian and Monica. They have a coffee shop now, based in Chapel Street, Guildford, that stocks their coffee plus amazing cakes.
And tell us more about your supper club…
I run a monthly supper club with a changing seasonal menu based upon either a cook or cookbook I particularly love or a type of cuisine that I enjoy to cook. You will see lots of Middle Eastern influences in my food but I also like to include at least one dish that really represents the time of year. This often manifests itself in my desserts, which I spend ages researching and concocting. I make my own ice cream, breads and after-dinner treats, as well as the four courses, all for £35 and based in my dining room.
How about your cookery classes?
I host private cookery classes from home, which are either on a one-to-one or a small group basis. I also run children’s pop-up bake club parties and the junior Bake Off theme is a resounding hit with all! I’m currently planning a pasta course; there always seems to be lots of interest in this subject from all ages.
Finally, what would be your top tip in the kitchen?
I am never without garlic, good olive oil, Maldon sea salt, lemons and dried chilli flakes. With these ingredients, you can make all manner of wonderful dishes.”
For more information on Laura Scott and to discover her winning recipe, see her blog at www.howtocookgoodfood.co.uk