Get To Know Kitty Coles - THE GLOSS Magazine's Contributing Food Editor - The Gloss Magazine

Get To Know Kitty Coles – THE GLOSS Magazine’s Contributing Food Editor

Kitty Coles joins THE GLOSS as a contributing food writer in the May issue. Katy McGuinness met her in Dublin to talk about her childhood, cookbooks, and moving to Dublin …

You might think, with a name like Kitty and a head of red hair, food stylist and cookbook author Kitty Coles would turn out to have Irish roots, but she only visited Ireland for the first time nine years ago, soon after she got together with her boyfriend Andrew, who is from Dublin. “We met in a ski resort. We were both chalet girls. We fell in love in the mountains and did long distance for the first year and then he moved to London.” The couple are currently conducting a long-distance relationship again – Andrew is in Dublin, where his business is based, while Kitty is subletting in London. They are looking for a house in Dublin. “I can’t wait to settle down and live a lovely life here in Ireland,” she says.

Kitty grew up in Marlborough in Wiltshire, where her parents – both chefs, now retired to Mallorca – had a restaurant for 25 years. “My mum did starters and desserts, and dad mains. My childhood memories are of towers of Tate & Lyle golden syrup tins – treacle tart was a signature dish – and mountains of breadcrumbs, meringues, and spun sugar on the island. I took it for granted, licking every bowl, playing PlayStation in the staff quarters, washing glasses and folding napkins.” When she left school, initially Kitty didn’t want anything to do with food. She did a brief stretch in film, working on costume research, and then went to art college, but soon decided college life was not for her. “Everyone was getting up late, doing a bit of work, then partying all night. I was getting up at 8am to walk on the beach.”

She landed a job doing live shows for Great British Bake Off, after which she went to work on the GBBO TV show and Saturday Kitchen Live. “I was the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ person,” she says. “Without really realising it, I had learned to cook from quite a young age. At art college, cooking for other students, I realised things I took for granted – making Thai curry paste or mashed potato from scratch – was not something many other people my age did. I loved cooking and I was good at managing a kitchen.”

A move into food styling followed. Kitty worked with authors such as the Hemsley sisters and Anna Jones on their cookbooks and began to ghost-write others. She recently worked with Theo Kirwan of Irish company Sprout on his first book, Saladology. “The great thing about working on cookbooks is that if you don’t know how to make something, you learn to make it perfectly. You learn how to make one type of gnocchi for one book; in the next book there will be a different type of gnocchi. Every chef has a different way of cooking roast chicken, so by the time I had been working on cookbooks for a few years, I had learned to make 15 types of roast chicken – from upside-down to stuffed with orzo to turning halfway through to slow-cooked.”

“Centring the book around a few basic ingredients allowed me to be quite inventive…”

Part of the job involved trekking around London looking for obscure ingredients, and Kitty found herself getting annoyed at how capital-centric so many cookbooks are, and how they ignore the ingredients that people can pick up at their local convenience store. So when the opportunity arose to write her own book, Kitty decided she wanted Make More With Less to focus on accessible ingredients, so that people new to cooking would not feel intimidated. “I thought, just focus on what is simple and good. Centring the book around a few basic ingredients allowed me to be quite inventive, to take the reader in different directions, and in the process make them a good cook.”

What does someone so immersed in the food scene in London make of what’s happening in Ireland? “I think the food scene here is on the cusp of something exciting,” she says. “London excels at places that feel as if you’re sitting in someone’s house eating delicious food. Everyone knows Irish produce is so good but the restaurants aren’t mirroring the homely cosiness of Ireland. Assassination Custard (in Dublin 8) is my favourite Dublin restaurant and I think its style and ethos will spread – deliciously simple food and no fancy-fancy presentation.”

Would she ever think of opening somewhere herself? “If I had the heart (and hadn’t had the childhood I did have) I would love to open somewhere – maybe a pub with really good pies and mountains of mashed potato and greens.”


See recipes from Kitty’s new book through this link, and look out for her first column in the May issue.

Make More With Less: Foolproof Recipes To Make Your Food Go Further by Kitty Coles is out now.


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