BBC Good Food Placement & London Part 2

Day 3- Tuesday 30/06/15
Day two in the BBC Good Food offices, and I’m more confident (only slightly) as I walk into the office this morning. I make another iced coffee stop and also pick up some lunch for later on the way in. I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this, but it is unusually warm even for London this week, and our room has no air con whatsoever. As a result it’s a relief to get into the office where there is fully functioning aircon, and cold water. As the “cold” water in our room is verging on the right temperature to poach an egg.

On my desk as I walk in a weird looking bag of sawdust has been left. Naturally I am highly suspicious of this sawdust, until I find an email from Holly asking me to later use the test kitchen and a few simple recipes to test it out. It’s called Tiger Nut Flour, and is made from (I do my research), a root. It’s a sort of tuber- a vegetable, and not actually a nut. It has a sweet taste and is gluten and lactose free, and suitable for Paleo dieters. Following several other little jobs I take my lunch break in the park (we have a small park across from the office, enclosed with trees. You can almost forget that there’s a main road, and a lot of people tend to take lunch time picnics here), and read Madame Bovary. When I return I am shown around the test kitchen. It is amazing; every ingredeint the cooking team would ever need is at their disposal here. Hundreds of spices, loads of fancy crockery for photo displays, and six fridges. There is also a gargantuan bunch of dried chillies hanging up, and state of the art ovens. I get to cook in here. All alone. I’m not sure if that’s excitement or rising nervous vomit.

 If I set the kitchen on fire I doubt they’ll ever let me come back. The pressure is on. We don’t have any bananas, so banana bread (my plan for the flour) is out. Thinking on my feet I make some substitutions in the recipe and instead create honeyed apple and bramble muffins.

 They actually smell great, and so confident I won’t poison anyone, I take them around the office. In doing so I am introduced to Keith, the editor of Easy Cook, a sister publication, and Vegetarian Christmas. Both being northerners we get on, which is great as we’ll be working together tomorrow. Keith also has a blog with some fantastic recipe ideas for self-confessed carnivores, over on WordPress:

That evening mum and I toddle to Whole Foods to get a drink. I have a  make-your-own-juice with kale, spinach, cucumber, and pear, and mum has a Prosecco. It’s great to spend some quality time together just chilling out and catching up. My last meal out with mum was meant to be at a restaurant called Saigon Saigon, the menu online looks great. However once sat waiting for a table it just doesn’t have that same appeal- and we end up at Potli. The staff recognise us and hand us the much loved menu. This time we share a stuffed pepper to start, and I order a baby aubergine curry, made with pickles and five spice. It’s unusual and like nothing I’ve tried before. And I like unusual. All finished up with a fresh mint tea, which believe me, is the best way to do it. I also enjoy talking to the waiter about how amazing sweet fruits like sultanas taste in savoury dishes. I have to say, I’m bowled over by just how many foodies I’ve met this week. It’s like being in heaven, only here the food makes its way to areas you don’t want it to. In heaven it would distribute itself to all the right places.

Day 4- Wednesday 01/07/15
It’s Wednesday morning and today after breakfast I swerve the caffeine and opt for a carrot juice at the other café, Raffaello, across the street. It’s a few shops up, separated from Drink Me Eat Me by a little corner shop with a rainbow of fresh fruit and veg outside, that’s open (it seems) all hours. That’s my kind of shop.

At work today I have a few different jobs: I have to seek out recipes for Keith, and mark up old copies of the magazine. I then have to use the online system to sort these recipes and see which have been used previously. The system is called D.A.M. Which amuses me way more than it should. Holly and an IT person have to fix the computer for Keith and I though, as she’s the technology whizz and we are not.
In the afternoon a HUGE green box arrives on Gillian (the editor’s) desk. I cant help but exclaim “Is that from Clipper?!” before the delivery man has even left. There is the trademark spoon logo, and a bumble bee buzzing about on the front (the number of freebies that arrive in the office is astonishing over the few days I am there. In that time alone tea, ice cream, biscuits, beer, and some cake all arrive). Gillian lets me watch as she opens it and inside is a travel mug, and all of the new green teas Clipper had released. I bought a mango packet last week, and they’re actually lovely. Gillian asks me if I would like one. I can’t believe my luck as I’m given the ginger and lime packet, which tastes stunning. I open the packet that afternoon and take a whiff before using them. The smell of those tea bags is incredible. They blew the mango ones out of the water.

Does anyone else watch Ugly Betty? If so, do you remember the episode about “The Book”? The mock up of all Mode‘s feature for the coming issue? Well. Today I get to see the BBC Good Food equivalent of “The Book”. They call it a “flat plan”, and my job is to order the pages as they come in from the different sections. Then Gillian and Elaine can see how the magazine will look in August and make any necessary adjustments. It’s all highly top secret guys, and so I can’t say anything more than that… 
This evening I decide to finally make my way to Whole Foods’ salad bar. I was eyeing it up on Sunday, and today is the only day I’ll get a chance. I walk the 30 minutes, in the 36*c (it’s the hottest day on record- ever.). Only to be disappointed. I load up my box, only to have to pay just over £14 for it. That’s okay, I can treat myself, I think. I’m not buying a drink or any dessert anyway. But, in the bottom of the box, when I move aside my tofu, is half an inch or so of oil. The napkin in the box on the picture was one of THREE oil saturated ones.

It is disguising. Especially for a health focused shop. Beware guys: healthy ingredients only remain healthy depending what you do with them. I was planning on buying some stuff to form a Whole Foods haul, but wandering around it all seems to have lost it’s charm and I leave empty handed. I can’t stop thinking that I could have enjoyed a considerably nicer, and cheaper meal, in one of the cafes, or at Potli. But, I tell myself, it doesn’t matter. I pick up some Total yoghurt and a pear and berries on the way home (not from Whole Foods on principle), and enjoy these to finish off my day. Tomorrow Holly has asked if I would like to go to the press event for Sainsury’s with her, and I can’t wait. The magazine is beginning to work on Christmas now, and that means that all of the press events are going to have a Christmas-y feel to them, as this is where brands showcase their new products…


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