Food Feast and Taste at the British Library

Join the foodie crowd this Spring at the British Library. Featuring writers, historians, food experts and chefs, the British Library Food Season (1 April – 31 May 2019) will involve talks, tastings and workshops inspired by the Library’s extensive food-related collections.

food season 2019_BritishLibrary

We know what we like, but what shapes our preferences? Yotam Ottolenghi joins food writer and founder of TastEd Bee Wilson and professor of genetic epidemiology Tim Spector to ask: how do we learn to taste? What influences our taste? And what role do upbringing, genes or gut microbes play in shaping how we take pleasure in food?

Yotam Ottolenghi is a cookery writer and chef-patron of the Ottolenghi delis, NOPI and ROVI. He writes a weekly column in The Guardian’s Feast Magazine and a monthly column in The New York Times. Yotam published seven bestselling cookbooks: Plenty and Plenty MoreOttolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem co-authored with Sami Tamimi, NOPI: The Cookbook with Ramael Scully, Sweet with Helen Goh and his latest award-winning cookbook Simple co-authored with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth. Yotam has made two Mediterranean Feasts series for More 4, along with a BBC 4 documentary, Jerusalem on a Plate.

Tim Spector is a professor of genetics and director of the TwinsUK registry at King’s College London. His current work focuses on the microbiome and diet. He also runs the crowdfunded British Gut microbiome project. Having published more than 800 research articles, he is ranked in the top 1% of the world’s most cited scientists by Thomson Reuters.

Bee Wilson is a food writer, historian and school food campaigner. She is the author of 6 books on food-related subjects including The Way We Eat Now: Strategies for Eating in a World of Change, First Bite: How We Learn to Eat and Consider the Fork. She writes about food and other subjects for a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and The London Review of Books. She was named Fortnum and Mason food writer of the year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. She is the chair of TastEd, a new organisation offering sensory food education for children in U.K. schools as a way to help this generation build a wider palate, especially for fruits and vegetables and a healthier relationship with food.

The British Library’s Food Season is supported by KitchenAid. Tickets will be on general sale from 8 March 2019. The event is chaired by Polly Russell and hosted at the Knowledge Centre – The British Library, London. When: Thursday 25 April 2019, 19:00 – 20:30.


Tickets: (Limited Places)


  • Chef Heston Blumenthaland award-winning composer Dominic Murcott contemplating the relationship between food and music through live performances, micro experiments and tastings
  • Chef and restaurant owner Yotam Ottolenghiexploring the role upbringing and genes play in shaping how we enjoy food
  • Food writers Nigella Lawson, Bee Wilson and Ella Risbridger exploring the role of voice, narrative and storytelling in cookery books
  • Restaurant critic Grace Dent and food writer, journalist and activist Jack Monroe discussing food inequality and poverty in contemporary Britain
  • 2015 Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussainand presenter Sara Cox talking about food, cooking and what it means to be a working woman in the public eye
  • Restaurant critic and Master Chef judge Jay Raynerhosting a special recording of the BBC Radio 4’s culinary panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet
  • Award-winning Chocolat author Joanne Harris reflecting on the sensuality of food in fiction