Some of you may be wondering why my latest TV series and new book is called ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook’, so I thought I’d share the (simple) reason why with you all. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go; in it I sketch pictures, write notes, stick mementos and photos…you get the picture. So I thought, why not bring these notebooks to life? And that’s where the idea came from.
To me it’s an essential part of the creative process, I tend to plan recipes visually and am always inspired by things I see when I’m out and about, whether I’m in London, Austria, Sweden, Malaysia, Australia or anywhere else in the world.
For those of you who don’t know, I studied art while I was at uni at Central Saint Martins in London. To me cooking and food styling is just another way of expressing my creativity, and adding in my planning, ideas, illustrations and sketches to the book seems like a natural extension of this.
I started illustrating my recipes when I was working on The Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. I wanted to simplify the recipe and thought if I could draw it and people understood my drawings then that would mean I had succeeded. John Hamilton, my Art Director loved the drawings and decided that they had to go in the book. Ever since I’ve always incorporated my illustrations into both my books and TV shows.
I still feel I have a lot learn and practice in regards to my illustration. Last year I took a couple of short courses at Central Saint Martins to improve and develop my work. I have a tendency of working on a small scale, hence my choice of using watercolours, pencils and pens. Believe me I’ve tried going big, using oils, acrylic…but nothing has stuck like watercolours have.
I also try and have a sneak peak in other people’s sketch books. The house of illustration had a fantastic exhibition on Quentin Blake’s work last year which gave me a very interesting insight into his work. Reading Judith Kerr’s fantastic ‘Creatures’ book, another one of my favourite illustrators, was also very revealing.
The illustrating part of creating a recipe is often the part where my brain can take a moment to process everything. It often sparks different ideas and gets the creative juices flowing. I couldn’t imagine not using a notebook.
So there you have it…a sneaky peek into the way my mind works, how I plan recipes and the reason why my new book got its name! Remember you can pre-order the book now if you’re in the following locations:
And don’t forget I’ve teamed up with Books for Cooks, who are currently taking orders for signed copies of all of my books!
The book is out on the 12th of February here in the UK, Australia and New Zealand; in March in Germany and the Netherlands; and later on in the year in the states.