The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

In the Kitchen with Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

In the Kitchen with Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

In the Kitchen

April 30, 2014

Chris and Carolyn Caldicott are the husband and wife team that owned and ran the World Food Café in London’s Covent Garden for over 20 years, where they cooked and served delicious vegetarian food. Now the co-authors of three Frances Lincoln vegetarian cookery books, the duo continues to travel the world, collecting and adapting recipes from different cultures. Known as the “Godparents of global vegetarian cuisine,” Chris has also been an official photographer for the Royal Geographical Society since 1991. We talked to Carolyn about demystifying the vegetarian lifestyle.

What is the main focus of your cooking?

Our aim is to recreate an authentic taste of the many countries we have been lucky enough to travel to. The source and inspiration of the recipes are just as likely to be a market street stall as a Maharaja’s kitchen. Our criteria for including a recipe is that it must be exciting and unusual.

Is there a particular nutritional focus of your menus?

As most of our books are vegetarian we feel it is important that recipes are nutritionally well balanced with a well-proportioned combination of protein and carbohydrate.

What is your relationship with local farmers?

The town where we live has one of the largest Farmers markets in England, and this was the inspiration for our latest book Rosehips on a Kitchen. The relationship with the producer is key to the book, which features recipes using seasonal locally sourced items from the market, and foraged ingredients from the hedgerows.

Are you incorporating locally grown foods into your dishes? How? 

Our cooking celebrates the joy in using locally grown seasonal foods. One of the main questions we overheard regularly when shopping at the Farmers market was “What on earth do I do with this?!”, so we decided to include a chapter in our new book to encourage shoppers to use all the weird and wonderful ingredients they might not be familiar with.

What are the major concerns today of your readers when it comes to eating vegetarian? And how are you addressing them?

I think vegetarian dishes often have a reputation for being bland and boring, so we aim to inspire our readers with recipes full of flavor by combining clever spicing with fresh herbs. We aim to prove that being meat free isn’t an issue.

How important is sustainability?

In our small way we hope to encourage the use of ethically sourced produce with good ecological credentials, and also aim to encourage our readers to shop little and often to avoid waste and overconsumption.

What steps does you take toward conservation in your meal planning? 

We always encourage the use of seasonal produce that is grown locally and hopefully available in the Farmers market, giving suggestions for seasonal variations whenever possible.