Julia Turshen

2 minutes with Julia Turshen
Occupation: Author, recipe writer
Latest Book: Small Victories (Released September 2016)
City: More like a hamlet in Ulster County, New York (2 hours north of NYC)
Age: 31


You studied poetry in college, how did you transition into recipe development and writing cookbooks?
I’ve always loved to cook and loved food, so I’ve been writing about food since I was really young.  For school reports, I used to write about the food in whatever book we were reading. In college, food came into my poetry so much.  So the transition into writing about food and writing recipes wasn’t really much of a transition, but more of an extension.  I also have this theory that every recipe is a little poem.  You have to be similarly economic with your words and as descriptive as possible without being overly-descriptive.  It’s all about word choice for forward movement.

Small Victories is a bible of instructions and inspirations for the home cook, how did the idea for the book come about?
I can only describe it as a slap-your-forehead, Oprah-esque aha! moment.  I had been thinking about the recipes for so long and then one day thought that identifying the small victories in each one would work well as an organising principle and also a title.  I have always looked for the small victories in every situation, even if it’s just finding a great parking spot.  Identifying them and celebrating them isn’t just a great way to approach life, it’s a wonderful way to become a confident home cook.

Which recipe from the book would you recommend for all home cooks to add to their repertoire?
It’s so hard to choose just one! But I would start with the No-Sweat Vinaigrette, which consists of putting a few things in a jar and then shaking it and then you can dress anything.

What's a normal work day for you involve?
What’s normal?? Every day is different for me, but it usually involves at least a few hours in the kitchen (whether I’m developing or testing recipes, or just making a meal for my wife Grace and myself) and a few hours on my computer either in my home office or at the kitchen table.  I am always writing down notes for recipes and stories and also answering email.  A lot of email. 

What cookbooks are on the shelf in your kitchen?
I actually don’t keep cookbooks in my kitchen, I keep them in my home office and by the bed.  I’ve always read cookbooks at night, ever since I was little.  I find them so relaxing! And I’m always consulting them while I’m writing…way more than when I’m cooking.  Anyway, I have so many! Two of my old favourites are Lee Bailey’s Country Weekends and Edna Lewis’ The Taste of Country Cooking.  A new favourite is Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots (it’s almost out!).

24 hours in NYC, where should we go?
Breakfast at Eisenberg’s in the Flatiron, lunch at Via Carota in Greenwich Village, and dinner at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  If you have time, wait in line for a slice of pizza at DiFara’s. 

Follow Julia on Instagram @turshen


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Patricia Niven

Photography by Sarah Winman

Photography by Sarah Winman

2 minutes with Patricia Niven
Occupation: Food and Portrait Photographer
Age: 40
Lives: London


You're a Brisbane girl, how did you end up in London?
Since I was 12, I knew I would end up in London! So many stories from my parents who lived in London in the late 1950s & 60’s somehow burnt their way into my fate.

I studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Photography in Brisbane & did work placement in Sydney in between my first & second years of study. This practical environment gave me incredible clarity & helped me understand everything I’d been learning in the previous year in such a practical way. I did another year of study but at the end of the second year of the degree moved to Sydney to take up work opportunities with the studio I’d interned at (thank you Richard Peake!). This soon led to me running another studio (thank you Richard Ludbrook!) which had a lot of international people passing through…  I had a UK passport thanks to both my parent’s ancestry & came to understand the freedom this allowed me to travel & find my way in the world.

What was the light bulb moment where you decided food photography was want you wanted to do?
There really is a moment! In 2012, I was coming back from a weekend in the beautiful Bunya Mountains with my parents & we popped into the Mary Ryan Bookshop in Toowoomba. I picked up (& bought!) ‘Antonio & Lucia - Recipes and stories from my Australian - Calabrian kitchen’ by Riccardo Momesso published by Plum with incredible images by John Laurie & fantastic design by Michelle Mackintosh. This book changed everything for me! I saw images that I could relate to & text I believed in & realised there might be the possibility of finding a path for me in this wonderful world of food.

Describe a typical day for you on a shoot for a cookbook?
Usually quite an early start (especially if shooting in Australia!) with some coffee & great local bakery treats. The amazing team of home economists & stylists make glorious food appear on wonderful plates & bowls & I climb up ladders & down ladders & move the camera in potentially satisfactory positions & at the end of the day we have created 8 or 10 beautiful images!

Where do you take your friends from out-of-town to eat in London?
Pretty much every time St. JOHN Restaurant. My partner Sarah & I live around the corner from the Smithfields restaurant & it is our default setting for good days, bad days, birthdays, holidays… Also, the wonderful Honey & Co. on Warren Street in Fitzrovia, The Marksman on Hackney Road, The Quality Chop House in Farringdon and Portland on Great Portland Street.

What's your tips for aspiring photographers to get noticed?
In the wise words of Grayson Perry - Be nice, put in the hours & turn up on time. And from David Bailey - Be yourself & wear comfortable shoes.

You travel a lot for your work, what is always in your suitcase?
Power adaptor plugs (ideally for the country I’m travelling to!), Bose noise cancelling headphones, barley grass powder & Mokosh moisturiser (it’s Australian & amazing!).

You can follow Patsy on Instagram @patricianiven



Rebecca Sullivan | Warndu

2 minutes with Rebecca Sullivan
Occupation: social entrepreneur, author, teacher and sustainable food advocate
Company: Warndu and Granny Skills
Lives: Adelaide
Age: 35


Tell us about yourself, how do you describe what you do?
The million dollar question. Ask my partner of 3 and a half years he still does not know (laughing). I am a social entrepreneur, Author, Teacher and Sustainable Food Advocate. I basically, for want of a better word, curate all things food and sustainability.

If there was one granny skill that you could teach all Australians, what would it be?
How to use their leftovers and not waste so much perfectly good food.

Native Australian seems to be a buzz word these days, how does Warndu have a point of difference in supporting the legacy of Aboriginal culture?
It sure is but our goal is to collaboratively grow the industry sustainably, not for it to just be a trend as it has been in three separate time periods in the past 40 years. Our difference, well I guess Damien (my partner) Is Aboriginal so we have a great opportunity to be doing things culturally the right way. Also, it took me working in sustainable food for ten years championing local and seasonal food to realise I was as food racist as the next person. It does not get any more local than Australian Natives, so I am on a mission...

The Cook and The Farmer is the current book you are writing and shooting with our fav photographer Patricia Niven, what's the story behind this book?
Well I grew up in rural SA and sadly was privy to a lot of struggle with friends parents who were farmers. Over the past decade farmers and producers have not only been my career but also my life work and passion. I have met hundreds and hundreds of farmers’ world over and almost every one of them has had/has depression or knows someone who has or even worse knows someone who took their life. Rural communities need our support more than ever and farmers are not great at talking - men (which they typically are) of a certain age grew up in the ‘she’ll be right’ Aussie battler era. I wanted to tell the non air-brushed Coles version of the farmers’ story, the real one. The book is a beautiful story, amazing portraits and images (by beautiful Patsy) from farmers, then a recipe by me using their produce. Its farmers the width and breadth of the country big and small but all of them have a wonderful story and focus on sustainability and next generation.

I am also writing my next book on from Like Grandma Used to Make – it’s called The Art of the Natural Home with Kyle Books in the UK - comes out May 2017. It is the entire home natural cleaners, skin care all of the things homemade.

Your work across different projects all heroes heritage, sustainable thinking and ethical eating. What was the lightbulb moment for you that made you work only on projects with social impact?
Realising how much I had offended an entire table of Italians (in my past life working in sport) at a dinner to celebrate the win our cycling team had (I was a press officer for a Pro-team). Said Italians threw this impromptu feast they only way they knew how, local, seasonal magical food. Ten courses in, the cheese came out and it was called Cazu Mazu. It had live maggots in it. Naive, 23 year old me in my loud Aussie voice yells “ew how bloody gross I am not eating that”. In an instant I had offended 20 plus people whose entire culture, tradition and heritage was based on moments like eating this cheese. It was outrageously delicious and I just knew that I had to work in food and it had to be the ethical kind with some tradition. I joined Slow Food the next week.

Do you have any tips for wannabe entrepreneurs?
Failure is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. Every failure is the greatest learning and I can almost guarantee will bring you your next great idea…..Once you embrace the fear of potential failure, you will be unstoppable.

You can follow Bec on Instagram @grannyskills and @warndu

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