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Persian Cuisine With Chicory Kitchen

Persian-inspired food with mother daughter duo Chicory Kitchen

With Mother’s Day on the way TOAST caught up with catering duo Chicory Kitchen to hear more about their mother and daughter dynamic and the inspiration behind their delicious Persian-inspired food.



It is often said that the kitchen is at the heart of any home; families cook together, skills and techniques are gleaned from Granny and generations after generations pass down age-old recipes filled with nostalgia and tradition. Eve George and her daughter Hannah Plimmer launched their catering business Chicory Kitchen together in 2015, but they have been cooking together for a lot longer than that…

“My mum and my grandma would cook the most amazing feasts for dinners and parties,” Hannah remembers fondly.

“ They were a huge inspiration and as I grew up. I definitely inherited their love of cooking. So we have always cooked together! ”

Even as a little girl Hannah loved new tastes and was always interested in what was going on in the kitchen!” explains Eve, proudly.

And much like Hannah’s inherited love of cooking, Eve’s passion for all things Persian is also something that been passed down to her. Her father was Armenian and brought up in Persia, and her mother was English, but learnt how to cook Persian food before going on to teach Eve the same skills.

“One of our main sources of inspiration is my grandma Jake!” explains Hannah. “At 93 she’s still cooking big family meals. She has an amazing recipe repertoire and spent lots of time in the Middle East learning to cook, and she’ll often pass her recipes to us”

“There are wonderful tastes in Persian food - dried limes, sweet and sour barberries, saffron, rose and sabzi which is a fabulous mix of green herbs, and rice is the centre of any Persian meal! These are filled with delicious tastes such as dill, broad beans, oranges, barberries and pomegranates...” adds Eve.   

“But we try and bring the flavours of the Middle East and combine it with our own home British cooking" adds Hannah, “which I think is what makes us unique.” 

Persian Rice With Saffron Chicory Kitchen

Grandma Jakes Meatballs

After more than 20 years in the demanding role of Picture Director for You Magazine, Eve decided to take voluntary redundancy two years ago, and uncertain of what to do next, it was in fact daughter Hannah that suggested they should take their mutual love of cooking and turn it in to a business.

“I’d been working in the restaurant industry for a while and I always knew that at some point I’d like to branch out on my own. My mum was there at the perfect moment and she was also up for a new challenge!” explains Hannah.

“We really see our cooking as an extension of what we do in our home kitchen, when we cook for our friends and family, and we believe it’s important to make the food look beautiful as well as taste delicious!” she adds

Since Hannah’s light bulb moment Chicory Kitchen has gone from strength to strength. They’ve dished up their tasty Persian inspired plates at various events from large weddings to bijoux cocktail parties, and when it comes to private dinners this dynamic duo can deliver a feast to your door for you to serve up yourself, or they can do that part too. They’ve catered across the UK and this year they are also venturing abroad to cook up a storm at a wedding in France. 

“Once we have agreed a menu for an event we will spend a day scouring the markets for the freshest seasonal produce; we always go to our local Middle Eastern supermarket for the harder to find products. We’ll start an intensive day of prepping and cooking at 7am right up until we leave to deliver the food - there’s usually no time for lunch! At the event we’ll lay the food out making sure it looks beautiful before it is served. We often get home late exhausted but happy with a night cap in hand!” explains Eve

“But the best moment is when everyone is eating our food and you can see how much they are enjoying it!” she enthuses. 

As well as the catering business, there is also their recent series of successful London supper clubs with more planned this spring; for several nights in April mother and daughter will be taking over the kitchen of popular neighbourhood restaurant Brother Marcus in Balham. Their pop up menu includes sharing meze to start, traditional Persian mains including slow cooked meats and fragrant herb stews accompanied by homemade breads, pickles, spiced yoghurt and Persian jewelled rice. Puddings are also filled with Middle Eastern flavours like saffron, rose, pistachio, cardamom and chocolate.

“When we do our supper clubs I love the buzz of service and the wonderful feeling of achievement afterwards. Cooking deadlines are a nightmare for me and I try not to panic, but always have one melt down and Hannah has to calm me down!” Eve laughs.

And with dishes such as jewelled stuffed vine leaves, cumin whipped feta, caraway cracker, smoked aubergine with pomegranate and garlic peppers and Grandma Jake’s Persian meatballs, it’s easy to see why Chicory Kitchen’s imaginative style Persian inspired cooking has proven to be such a success.

“My 10 hour roast lamb with pomegranate molasses is also a huge hit!” says Eve. “Another dish we get asked to do a lot are my saffron onion bhajis with homemade mango chutney. We want to serve up tasty seasonal produce with everything cooked from scratch, as well as bringing in new tastes in our Persian cuisine that perhaps people have not had before”

Persian Slowed Cooked Lamb With Pomegranate Molasses Edited 1

“I love baking and desserts. The crunchy pistachio chocolate tart I make is always popular and my cardamom ice cream goes down well at the supper clubs!” explains Hannah.

Chicory Kitchen

Chicory Kitchen Dessert

So it sounds like Hannah and Eve are a foodie match made in heaven – but as most of us know family relationships are often a joy but can also be prove to be quite challenging at times, particularly in a professional environment as well as the intensity of a busy kitchen!

 “We compliment each other!” explains Eve. 'Hannah is a great baker and pastry maker and I cook the mains. I am quite impatient if things get fiddly but Hannah is fantastically patient and makes everything she does look perfect.”

“And Mum is great at making sure all our events are organised well and we tend to agree on most things and come round to each others ideas quickly,” adds Hannah. “We don’t really argue which helps. If there’s a disagreement we are quick to rectify it!’

Sounds like good news, especially with Mother’s Day just around the corner. Speaking of which, Hannah and Eve have shared two of their mouth-watering recipes with TOAST for you to cook up at home and wow mum with, as well as their top tips for dishing up a tasty and beautiful Mothering Sunday lunch. You can see their Inspire me over on TheEdit now.

“This Mother’s Day we’ll be having a big lunch at mum’s house with my brother and grandma.” Explains Hannah.  “I’m sure we will all be cooking together, and no doubt we will end up on the sofa with a film and a glass of grappa!”


For more information on Chicory Kitchen take a look at their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book.  Their latest supper clubs at Brother Marcus in Balham can be found on their wesbite here: visit www.brothermarcus.co.uk

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 20 March 2017

  mothers day, persian catering, supper club

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