Searcys at The Gherkin are hosting a sparkling series of chef and wellness events celebrating The Art of Being. The perfect opportunity to reboot for 2019 and try something new, it will be held across the top two floors of London’s architectural landmark. Searcys have invited an all-female line-up of artists, cooks and yogis to share their own take on how to live lie to the full.
January sees a special guest menu from The Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Bhogal; a supper club and Q&A hosted by renowned nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, watercolour classes in collaboration with aperifit Lillet artist in residence, Clotilde Lataille and biweekly panoramic yoga classes with Yogashphere.
Our beauty editor, Kelly Andrews sat down with Ruby and Rhiannon to talk wedding health, nutrition and the occasional treat!
What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?
Ruby: I have so many ingredients I love cooking with, but because I’m a baker by heart – a staple and favourite is eggs. I know, they’re nothing wildly exciting or exotic but eggs fuel my everyday: poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with some smoked salmon and avocado for a post gym refuel breakfast or eggs making up the batter for a cake or part of an enriched dough I am working on. They are incredibly versatile, full of protein, incredibly quick and easy and can really bring a dish together like the Jerusalem artichoke soup with burford brown egg we have on the menu at Searcys this January.
Rhiannon: I am a big garlic fan, it adds so much flavour and I love anything with roasted garlic and vegetables in olive oil and rosemary.
What inspires your cooking?
Ruby: I’m fortunate to come from a background so rich in culture with such amazing diversity when it comes to food. My mum grew up in Punjab, India and my Dad in Uganda so I love nothing more than including the spices and seasonings I grew up with, in both my cooking and baking. I may be a little biased when I say Indian food is definitely the best cuisine about, but there really is something for everyone – the vegetarian options are endless and equally, if not more, delicious than the plethora of meat-based dishes we have. Plus the spices used within the cooking have amazing health benefits: turmeric was huge last year and we saw the rise of it in everything from lattes to daily tablets to biscuits!
Rhiannon: I feel my day often dictates what type of cooking I embark on and what I want to eat, so really my inspiration is what I’m doing and where I am. Equally when I am on holiday I often come home wanting to introduce new and exciting spices!
What advice would you give to someone looking to begin the new year on a healthy note in the run up to their wedding?
Ruby: Food has this unhealthy stigma attached to it these days – every week there seems to be a new diet or a new way of eating, but I’m a firm believer and advocate for eating a balanced diet and nurturing your relationship with food. I lean more to intuitive eating, listening to my body and feeding it well through a balanced diet rich full of proteins, healthy fats and carbs and combining that with regular exercise. My advice to anyone looking to embark upon a healthier lifestyle, whether it be in the lead up to a wedding or any other special occasion is to be mindful of what you are eating and how it will benefit your body. Do I still eat cake? Of course, and plenty of it, but that makes up part of my healthy relationship with food. Don’t entirely restrict, you will make yourself (and those around you) miserable!
Rhiannon: Lots of brides-to-be come to me for various reasons: improving sleep patterns, energy, weight loss, glowing skin and the best tip I could offer would be to think about how they want to feel on their big day.
Regardless of any ailment or specific concerns, what I ask every client of mine in clinic is to see food as nourishment and something that affects both your mind and body. With many of my clients leading active lifestyles, above all else I ask them to follow four easy to remember principles, which I see as the corner stones to optimal health.
You and your body deserve the best, so make it a priority to see eating as an opportunity to nourish. If you treat your body right, it will treat you right.
Don’t waste your time being active without refuelling your body with nutrition. You really can’t out train a bad diet.
The majority of the human body is actually water so it makes perfect sense that we need to keep our levels topped up. All too many of us are simply not drinking enough.
Recovery encompasses more than just muscle repair. Recovery involves restoring your chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system, mental state, and so much more. Don’t ignore your body when it asks to be rested.
If there is one food or food group you would advise we stop eating immediately to improve health, what would it be?
Rihannon: In my opinion we should be changing our mindset and focusing on what we put in out diet instead of what to take out of it, all food and food groups have a place. I explain this further in my book: Re-Nourish, A Simple Way To Eat Well, that building a balanced plate is very important in order to maximize our nutrition daily.
Tell us about your dream wedding menu?
Ruby: Admittedly this isn’t something I have given much thought, I have always focused more on where I would love to get married. For me, my dream would be a destination wedding – somewhere hot and exotic, on a beach, with my closest friends and family. With this in mind, the menu would have to suit – so lots of canapés and cocktails and a menu rich in fresh seafood and exotic fruit. Guess that’s the menu sorted, better start focusing on finding the guy!
Rhiannon: I’m very fortunate to be getting married at my dream venue in Greece late this year, the sun, sea and amazing Mediterranean food. I can assure you there will be lots of fresh figs (my favourite fruit), Fresh fish, lots of roasted vegetables, grilled aubergine and of course, lots of greek salads!
What’s your favourite indulgent treat?
Ruby: This is a toughie, considering I will just about hoover up anything sweet! One thing I really cannot get enough of is pastries – whether it be a croissant, a pain au raisin or baklava. Some may not see them as indulgent as, say, a piece of cake drowning in a mountain of custard or a slice of chocolate torte but when you think of hundreds of pastry and butter layers baked to crisp, puff perfection and then filled with even more deliciousness, they are pretty indulgent and incredibly moreish!
What’s the best thing to eat the morning of the wedding?
Rhiannon: Anything you enjoy and if you have a long day ahead try and get a fibre and protein rich breakfast in. For example, porridge with fruit, eggs on toast or greek yoghurt and muesli, this will keep you full and satisfied.
What’s the best piece of take away nutritional advice you can give?
Rhiannon: In my experience, most people look to others to tell them what will work for their body instead of listening to their own. This is such an important thing to address and one of the most underestimated and challenging tasks within my clinic. No one is smarter than your own body when it comes to what you need. I teach my clients how to learn the skills to tune into your body’s needs putting emotion and judgment to one side. Learning about your body’s requirements, listening to your body and addressing its needs really does work.
What would the ultimate wedding cake be for you?
Ruby: Having finished the Bake Off, I made some incredible friends during my time on it – so my ultimate wedding cake would have to be made by a few of them. Bake Off has been such a life changing experience, much as I imagine my wedding day would be, so it would be a lovely idea to combine the two. In terms of flavours, I would love a fresh, zingy number – passion fruit sponge, with a passion fruit curd and a gorgeous silky coconut Swiss meringue buttercream filling. Deliciously light, summery and memorable.
Rhiannon: I am not a big cake girl so my idea of heaven would be a huge chocolate fountain with tons of fruit, marshmallows and goodies to dip into the chocolate fountain! However, if I had to pick a cake I’d go for a triple tier with a different flavour on each such as, almond with marzipan, white chocolate and raspberry and carrot cake!
A new healthy eating regime can be a stressful thing to embark on, especially when there’s so much else going on, like planning a wedding! How would you suggest making it as easy and uncomplicated as possible?
Ruby: As much as anything in life, everything is made a lot easier, a lot less overwhelming and much more manageable when you plan ahead. I’m more likely to stick to eating healthier foods during the week if I have used my Sunday evening to prep for the week. May sound like effort but it really does take away the daily stress and worry about what you have to cook and whether you are eating well. Social media is great these days for meal inspiration, or for finding like-minded people who can also share their experience; but it is important to remember that everyone’s journey is different. Listen to your body, nourish it well and exercise for your physical and mental wellbeing. And remember to enjoy what you are doing, do not make yourself and your body miserable…and the rest will be easy!
Rhiannon: In an ideal world, wouldn’t it be lovely to walk barefoot on beach, eat fresh and organic food in the sunshine but it isn’t always possible. Similarly, taking time out from our day-to-day lives is now increasingly challenging, finding a little ‘me time’ is just a one of so many sacred moments happening less frequently. So, I suggest doing whatever you can and at your pace, there is now more pressure than ever before to be healthy and we seem to have lost the concept of balance and any happy in between. We should all be encouraging each other to live a lifestyle that makes us feel great, avoid illness, supporting each other and feel comfortable with the food we eat every day.
Step by step and putting dates to discuss the wedding in your diary is a great starting point.
For more on The Art of Being, check out searcysatthegherkin.co.uk