Anna Hedworth – The Grazer

I first met Anna the week she opened her amazing new venture Cook House (in 2 adjoining shipping containers!) back in August last year. I popped along with my mum for breakfast, you can read about that here.

Anna started out by writing a food blog, The Grazer which has become, in Anna’s words, her ‘food-life journal’. In addition to running Cook House, which serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, Anna also runs her own dining events from supperclubs to pop-up kitchens and markets. Cook House is also home to a small Food School programme. As part of the Food School, I saw Charlotte from Charlotte’s Butchery break down a full lamb, which was amazing.

Anna has been featured in Marie Claire, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and Living North to name a few and has been shortlisted for too many awards to mention. Busy girl! I was chuffed to bits when she kindly agreed to take some time out of her hectic schedule to feature on my blog.

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started with The Grazer?

I started writing The Grazer in 2011, I began it as an online archive of recipes that I made and enjoyed. I still use it as that myself, looking things up on it when I want to cook, so from my point of view it is very useful! Other people seem to think so too which is nice, and it currently gets about 10,000 views a month, so hopefully people find it useful and cook from it, which was always the idea. Sometimes people send me pictures of things they have made from it and I love it! It has led to all kinds of other food projects since I began too, such as my seasonal Graze markets, starting supperclubs, working with the National Trust and loads of other interesting people…

2. How did Cook House become a reality – how long was this in the making?

In my head I have been planning it since around the time I started my blog, but it was always a bit of a pipe dream. I still had a lot to learn and financially opening a restaurant is a huge undertaking, which I couldn’t afford. In reality it was last February that I decided to leave my job in architecture and set up in the shipping containers on Ouse street. It was a way of starting out that didn’t cost much and didn’t involve huge overheads and suddenly it all just fell into place. I left my job in May and opened in August. Then people actually came, which was a relief! The cafe has a steady trade, of people working in and around the Ouseburn or people coming specifically to visit me, and the supperclubs are hugely popular, I have bookings well into the year now.

cook house the grazer 08 Cook House - Anna Hedworth (8)
3. You change your menu daily – what’s been the most popular Cook House lunch so far?

People seem to like pretty much everything I’ve put on so far, thankfully. Things like game terrines and potted meats are popular, and the salt beef bagels; they go down a treat. The salads are popular too, I make 2 or 3 hearty imaginative salads everyday, which I think you struggle to find elsewhere. People love the homemade cordials too, especially the ginger one.
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4. Your blog, Cook House, supperclubs, pop-up kitchens, markets, food school – how do you manage to fit this all in and still have time for friends/family?

Well I do struggle, I work hard and a lot of hours but I enjoy it and I want to be successful at what I do so it’s worth it. Since opening Cook House I’ve had a lot less time to socialise, but luckily people can come and see me at work and have lunch, and my friends and family love eating and drinking so it all works out ok!

5. What advice can you give to budding food bloggers – where should they start?

With reading, other well written blogs, and books in general. The importance of really good writing is overlooked sometimes I think. A blog might be chatty and quick and daily, but it still needs to be informative and well written. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are all hugely important in my eyes. Lovely pictures too, I think good photography makes a huge difference to a blog. I looked at lots of other blogs and websites before I began mine, taking note of which sites I liked and why and then incorporating those ideas. I love Recipe Rifle at the moment, a very entertaining good read…

cook house the grazer 02 cook house garden
6. Tell us about teatime at Anna’s – what’s your favourite thing to cook?

I’ve been cooking a lot of Chinese food recently, from Fuscia Dunlop’s book, Every Grain of Rice. It’s not a style of cooking that I have dabbled in much, but I’m really enjoying it. Dumplings, stir fried Chinese greens, braised belly pork with ginger and star anise and a chicken and peanut dish have all been delicious. I go to the big Chinese supermarket in town and stock up every week or so.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Is anyone else hungry now?

*Photographs provided by Anna*

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    *drooling whilst typing*… This all looks amazing, I defo need to eat here soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha I’m not surprised with the drooling Sarah! Attending one of Anna’s supperclubs is next on my list!

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  2. A fantastic, truly inspiring read from both you and Anna! Thank you for sharing, I love Anna’s ethos and that she uses The Grazer as her own cookbook too. A real North East success story and such a talented lady with a vision I’m so glad she chose to share with Newcastle through Cook House and her supper clubs etc xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, so glad you liked it Chloe! Totally agree with everything you said about Anna, she’s so talented & focused. Love her passion for good food. One of her supper clubs is next on my list! xx

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  3. It’s 9.30am and I’m dying for that beef bagel, looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks so good doesn’t it?! GIS IT! 🙂 We should go to one of Anna’s supperclubs!

      Like

  4. Ooh I’ve never heard of this before! The Cook House is definitely up my street! 🙂 Will have to visit! Thanks for the great interview! 🙂

    http://www.gingerbreadsmiles.co.uk
    xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it Danni! Cook House is so good, I see Anna’s lunch menus posted on Facebook daily and feel like rushing to the Ouseburn instead of eating the lunch I’ve brought to work! x

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