We had a chat with Emma Bebb. Manager at London Cooking Project to find out all about this fantastic social enterprise!
From looking after the company’s marketing, sales and PR, to coordinating their supper clubs. Emma is a busy woman. Not to mention the general day-to-day running of London Cooking Project and managing relationships with charity partners.
Where is London Cooking Project?
London Cooking Project is housed in an old ice factory in Battersea. We’re on the Ethelburga Estate in between Battersea bridge and the park.
What’s the story behind London Cooking Project?
London Cooking Project is all about the love of food! The idea was to build a platform that would help foodies launch their businesses here in London.
We keep our rents low to support them in this whilst providing everything they may need in one place. Putting on a supper club is a lot of work and it can often be difficult to break even with venue hire on top of everything else.
We have everything you need to run a supper club so there’s no need to hire in glassware, crockery or equipment. This helps with overheads, but it makes the whole process more efficient without having to deal with the logistics of deliveries.
When you’re cooking for 40 people you’ve already got enough on your plate!
What is different about London Cooking Project?
I don’t think there’s another venue in London that uses our business model. We have resident chefs who run their catering businesses from the kitchen during the day. Then we rent it out in the evenings and on weekends for supper clubs, cooking classes, private events, photoshoots and more.
We also have dedicated evenings and mornings for our charity partners and the commercial arm of the business supports our social activity.
What inspired London Cooking Project mission?
London Cooking Project founder, Dickie Bielenberg, used to work as a school governor focusing on food, nutrition and health. Dickie was also a trustee of the Organic Research Centre, focusing on sustainable “field to fork” food production and distribution.
He wanted to bring all these aspects together into a cooperative style sustainable community-based project. With the aim to create a platform that would benefit many parties in both food and education.
What’s the most unique thing about London Cooking Project?
Apart from our business model, I would say the Space itself.
It’s a beautiful open-plan kitchen and dining space with four kitchen stations and exposed brick walls. The open-plan element means that Guests can see the chef cooking and really immerse themselves in the whole experience.
What brilliant things have happened within the Space?
So many! The Battersea Canteen takes place every week on a Tuesday evening. A team of volunteers picks up surplus food from local shops and supermarkets that would otherwise have been thrown away. They then use the ingredients to cook a veggie 3-course meal which is £1 for anyone in the local community or free if you’re homeless or living below the poverty line.
We also recently had an immersive theatre and dining experience called Scripts for Supper. It’s the brainchild of a Masterchef contestant, Annie McKenzie, and they did a retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with an Elizabethan-themed 5-course dinner.
Billy and Jack, Masterchef finalists in 2016, also run regular supper clubs at the kitchen and a new singles night called the Happy Lobster just started last month.
We’ve also got a beautiful Italian supper club called Alice’s Kitchen and some brilliant cooking classes on offer from London Paella School and Blu Top Ice Cream.
What’s next for London Cooking Project?
We’re also hoping to open a new kitchen so watch this space…
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