Journal

Beaufort & Blake Meets Alexandra Dudley

Self-professed ‘serial dinner party host’, Alexandra Dudley is a voice of authority on all things food and entertaining. With a relaxed approach in the kitchen and a focus on zero waste cooking, it’s no surprise that her debut cookbook ‘Land & Sea’ was a success. Fingers in many pies, she’s also podcast host of the brilliant ‘Come For Supper’, in which she interviews artists, authors and chefs, including the likes of Bake Off’s Prue Leith and comedian Ed Gamble. Alexandra shares her tips, kitchen catastrophes and silver linings. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, have you always been a foodie?

I was obsessed from an early age. I remember standing on a chair so that I could see what my mother was stirring on the hob. I used to create the most hideous concoctions for my siblings to eat - think mushed up Weetabix with a Ribena Jus and a fillet of cold toast…

When I was at Art School, I was on the go a lot and saw a bit of a gap in the industry for a healthy snack, so I launched Superseeds. We made seasoned seed mixes with flavours such as Coconut Brownie and Chilli Smoke, and they were delicious. We did well and the business grew from just me at my kitchen table to a team of four and a small production kitchen. We supplied the likes of Selfridges, Wholefoods and Ocado but somewhere along the journey I realised my heart wasn’t in it, I felt so disconnected from the actual physicality of making something. I knew I needed a change. I wanted to be more involved with food again and those who made food too. I love nothing more than chatting to people about it, so I Iaunched my podcast Come For Supper. I was 26 at the time and had just landed my first cookbook deal so it seemed like the right thing to do.  


Alexandra wears the Ellie Breton
Have you found any silver linings to lockdown life?

I’ve read a lot and loved it. I am currently midway through ‘Diary of a Drag Queen’ by Crystal Rasmussen. I also read ‘The Truants’ by Kate Weinberg, which was fantastic. 

Any recommendations on how to make an at-home date night that bit more special?

Set the table! It’s something we rarely do when we are just having a lazy midweek supper and it really makes the evening special. Light the candles, get out some napkins and always start with a cocktail (or mocktail). It just sets the tone and elevates the evening. Find some good tunes too. I love a bit of Nina Simone or Billie Holiday.

Have you been listening or watching anything good recently?

I love ‘How to Fail’ by Elizabeth Day and ‘The Power Hour’ by Adrienne Herbert. I am also re-watching Greys Anatomy and fully obsessed with Patrick Dempsey all over again. 

 

Alexandra wears the Bibury Flannel Shirt
We’re wanting to host a dinner party (for our bubble of course!) - what are your top tips?

Prep. There is nothing worse than a flustered host. Keep it manageable and stick to dishes you know you can create well. At the end of the day remember, the best dinner parties are rarely about the food. They are about the people.

Have you had any kitchen catastrophes?

More than I care to remember. I had a catastrophic New Year’s Eve where I had promised above and beyond. I’d planned on creating a tower of raspberry infused meringues with a boozy raspberry cream. I forgot to put baking parchment down and I knew as soon as I opened the oven that the meringues were not going to come off. Cue five minutes of me crying over a tray of smashed meringues after trying, without success, to tease them off with a spatula. I was so gutted I chucked them and arrived teary eyed with my tail between my legs and a sad box of M&S meringue nests. What I should have done was turn it into an Eton Mess. I’ve learnt that now. Never apologise for when things go wrong because usually your guests have no idea.

Alexandra wears the Witney Jumper

How would you describe your personal style?  

Fluid - is that a word to describe style? I definitely don’t have a set style. I love using clothes to change my mood and set the tone of my day. I love a bit of vintage and anything velvet, but I also love softer, neutral tones and comfortable fabrics for every day.

Quick fire questions:
  • Champagne or cocktails? Martinis

  • Starters or canapés? Canapés

  • Sunday roast or summer salad? Summer salad.

  • Favourite London restaurant? It changes all the time but my top two are The River Café and Duck Soup. I also love ROKA

 



Recommended Reading