Meet our ambassador - Rosie Birkett
Tell us about you – who are you, what’s your mission and how did you get started?
I'm a food writer, cookbook author and food stylist on a mission to improve the way people cook and eat through inspiring them to celebrate, cook and share great food. I started out as a journalist, landing a job on a trade magazine for the hospitality industry (Caterer and Hotel Keeper). I was reporting from inside some of the best restaurant kitchens in the country at an incredibly exciting time for British food, and realised I wanted to learn more and become involved.
It was 2008 and things were beginning to change, we began to see the democratisation of food and many really amazing chefs opening more informal/accessible restaurants. I was so inspired by what I saw, speaking to hugely talented chefs who were pioneering a seasonal approach to food and championing really humble ingredients. I decided that to be really informed about my subject as a food writer I should train in cookery, and I caught the bug for creating recipes there.
This led on to food styling (cooking for the camera), and then to writing my own cookbook, but I've always cooked (and been a big feeder), and was lucky to grow up in a family where food was at the centre of our life. Now food is my job - writing about it, cooking it, shouting about it, and I absolutely love it, but I do think there is a massive gulf between the food revolution that's going on in the world of restaurants, and the way people approach cooking at home, and that's something I want to try and work on and improve.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Publishing my books and, I hope, raising awareness around important issues within food through my work.
What are you working on at the moment and what are your ambitions for the future?
I'm regularly creating seasonal recipes for BBC Good Food and Borough Market's Market Life Magazine, and I hope to continue to raise awareness around seasonality and good food ways throughout my career through my writing, cooking and pop ups.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing our food systems?
There are so many threats to food security and the increasingly worrying question of how we will feed a population of 10 billion people when there is decreasing availability of land, energy and water. That is why we need to overhaul the way we produce food and challenge widespread unsustainable agricultural practices that degrade the soil and damage biodiversity and the natural order of things.
I think one of the biggest problems is that people have become disconnected from ingredients and where they come from, dependent on big corporations for food and distanced from growing and cooking their own food, and also a sense of what they should be eating, and when.
"I want my ingredients to be produced in a sustainable and natural way because they taste better, but also because they've been farmed in a way that's having a positive impact on the world around us."
Why do you feel so strongly about organic?
Organic farming is focused on preserving and promoting the health of the soil, which produces healthier, more nourishing food but also promotes biodiversity by not spraying everything with damaging chemicals and pumping antibiotics into the water supply.
It's a no-brainer for me because I want my ingredients to be produced in a sustainable and natural way because they taste better, but also because they've been farmed in a way that's having a positive impact on the world around us, rather than a detrimental one, at a time when there are so many threats to food security.
Who inspires you?
Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Sky Gyngell, James Lowe.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Knowledge is Power.