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A Rosie Outlook

Chef and food writer Rosie Sykes is the new festival patron for Eat Cambridge and will be hosting the opening dinner.

Rosie Sykes. Picture: Stella Pereira
Rosie Sykes. Picture: Stella Pereira

You and some culinary friends are presenting the festival’s opening dinner. What can we look forward to?

I am very excited to be presenting a historical feast based on the recipes from the first ever food manuscript from 1390 called The Forme of Cury. Polly Russell, food historian and British Library curator, introduced myself and the wonderful Itamar Srulovich and Sarirt Packer of Honey and Co – the owners of two restaurants and one deli in Fitzrovia, London, and authors of three cookbooks and regular contributors to the FT Magazine – to this manuscript and we chose to cook a meal using several of these fascinating recipes.

Polly will give diners a little talk while they eat some interesting 14th century treats alongside a delicious drink created by my dear friend and clever cocktail maker, Charles of Gimlet Bar fame, based on his interpretation of something from that era.After drinks everyone will sit down to a two-course feast of medieval deliciousness cooked by myself and Itamar and Sarit. We will all be around to chat with our guests too.It will be a tremendous evening and the Honeys will be at the festival’s Main Event the following day with books to sign.

Having developed menus at Fitzbillies and Pint Shop, what do you make of the current food and drink scene in Cambridge?

I am lucky enough to have had some great chefs pass through my kitchens since I have been in Cambridge and it is wonderful to see them go on and flourish and I think there is a lot of great stuff going on. There is a burgeoning coffee scene with the likes of Rubiaceae on Mill Road and the Bould Brothers, on Round Church Street, which are both a pleasure to frequent for that proper attention to detail and a very good product.I also love Restaurant Twenty-Two where they are cooking wonderful dishes paired with great wines and I am super excited about Alex Rushmer's new restaurant Vanderlyle. I think we are also really lucky to have butchers like the Art of Meat, in Arbury Court, and Mill Road Butchers, and incredible veg growers like Tyler Cotton, and Cambridge Organic Food company bringing together many other local growers. It’s great as well to see a thriving food programme on local radio led by the dedicated and endlessly interesting Alan Alder.

We hear you’re busy setting up a food-centred charitable organisation? Anything you can share with us?

Not much to tell yet but I am very excited about the idea of working to help, support and educate people through food. I would like the organisation to have a social enterprise side and if possible be involved in food from field to plate.

To book for the opening festival dinner see eat-cambridge.co.uk

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