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Meet the first innovators behind the Deja Food podcast

25th March 2019
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The first four episodes of The National Student’s Deja Food podcast have covered everything from idyllic Swedish winters to the lack of Thai food in Leeds in 2004. Along the way we’ve navigated baking bread in Middle Eastern deserts, and eating entire whitebait (head and all) in an attempt to impress Spanish grown-ups.

Here, we’ve set out a reminder of our first four episodes, before we move on to part two of the series. Get ready to indulge in a culinary journey, from Yorkshire to Stockholm to Bangkok…

Thanks again to our sponsors, Co-op.

Episode 1: Elsa Bernadotte, Co-Founder & COO of Karma

Image credit: Karma

What is Karma?

The first guest on our fledgling podcast was Elsa, an entrepreneurial Swedish tech expert with a drive to solve the world’s waste food problem.

With one third of all the food that’s made for human consumption going to waste, Elsa saw an opportunity to redistribute surplus food from restaurants in a sustainable way - and thus, Karma was born.

The app works by connecting hungry people (that’ll be all of us, then) with restaurants that haven’t sold all of their food. It means restaurants cut down on waste, and you get fed at a price that’s significantly cheaper than a standard takeaway. In our opinion, it’s genius.

What did we talk about?

Swedish winters, locked in a cabin in the woods with snow coming down outside and crumpets being toasted on the fire. Working for Chanel right out of university, reporting into the head office in Paris, and realising that whilst that might sound like a dream, it’s not right for everyone. Launching a business selling frozen fruit on sticks at 23 and learning everything from it. Broccoli tea. Oh, and whether it’s ok to eat spaghetti bolognese for breakfast (jury’s still out on that one.)

Needless to say - It’s all very Scandi and hygge in our first Deja Food episode, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

What did Elsa say?

“When times get tough, I go straight to that broccoli.”

NB: we’d like to point out that this is 100% not actually true, because as will become clear when listening to the episode, she’s more about the chocolate, crumpets and spag bol for breakfast.

Where can I find out more?

Rescue unsold food with Karma via the website, and download on iTunes or Google Play.


Episode 2: Phoebe Smith, adventurer, wilderness cookbook author & Editor-at-large of Wanderlust magazine

Image credit: Phoebe Smith

What does Phoebe do?

Writer, adventurer and author of nine cookbooks, Phoebe has recently released The Wilderness Cookbook: A Wild Camper’s Guide To Eating Well, which aims to teach people how to eat well whilst wild camping. Because yes, you don’t need to live off cereal bars and Malt Loaf if you’re out having an adventure.

What did we talk about?

Lots of things, but mainly about bread: bread in the Moroccan desert with the Berber, bread cooked for a friend and her son whilst out on their first wild camping adventure. The smell of bread. And why the best part of a Sunday lunch is always the roast potatoes (we’re 100% with her on that.)

What did Phoebe say?

“My favourite food smell would have to be baking bread, which I know is very common. I think it just reminds me of sitting around the campfire, making bread just out of very raw ingredients. I’ve done it here in the UK, but I’ve also done it in Wadi Rum, in the desert with the Bedouin, in Morocco with the Berber, and I find wherever you travel to there is a local recipe for bread. It reminds you that food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste incredible.”

Where can I find out more?

Buy Phoebe’s book at Stanfords here, and get ready for your own wild camping adventure.


Episode 3: Miguel Barclay, Instagrammer and author of the Easy £1 Meals cookbook series

Image credit: Dan Jones @ Headline Home 2019

What does Miguel do?

As Miguel told us, his cookbook series - of which there are now four books - actually started life as a fortuitously-named Instagram account, born from an “out of control hobby” of seeing what meals could be made with just £1. Books in the range include One Pound Meals: Delicious Food for Less, Fast and Fresh: One Pound Meals, Miguel Barclay’s Super Easy One Pound Meals, and Vegan One Pound Meals.

What did we talk about?

Eating whitebait, heads included, as a child in Spain in an effort to seem more grown-up. Hot croquetas, fresh from the oven. The internet’s love for Katsu, a recipe that launched his career via Instagram. Falling into becoming a cookbook author entirely by accident.

What did Miguel say?

“I eat a lot. My relationship with food is probably quite unhealthy; I was taught never to leave an empty plate… I’ll be cooking three or four dishes a day, and it’s quite difficult to leave an empty plate! I just can’t help myself but finish the whole thing.”

Where can I find out more?

Vegan One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay (Headline) is available to buy on 18th April


Episode 4: Marni Xuto, creator of Thai Food Made Easy

Image credit: Marni Xuto

What does Marni do?

Leeds-based, Bangkok-born “mum, recipe developer and a food blogger” Marni is the creator of Thai Food Made Easy, a website that offers healthy Thai recipes, made from ingredients that you can pick up from standard British supermarkets.

What did we talk about?

Picking basil leaves in a relative’s restaurant in Bangkok as a small child. Hopping off a cruise ship in St Thomas and indulging in spicy local rum and fat cigars. Not being able to find lemongrass in Leeds in 2004, and deciding to do something about it. Thai pot noodles from Chinese supermarkets, and how they’ll blow your face off.

What did Marnie say?

“In Bangkok there is street food everywhere, so you can get access to the nice food all the time… there was not much Thai food in Leeds, and I couldn’t go out to eat all the time; it costs a lot of money. So I’d go to local supermarkets and try to find ingredients. 15 years ago it was really hard to find something like lemongrass, but now it’s much easier.”

Where can I find out more?

Visit the Thai Food Made Easy site here.


Coming up…

Future episodes of Deja Food will feature the chef and author Sam Stern, Macro Food founder Kirsty-Lee Griffiths, Sailor Jerry’s brand ambassador EmmaLi Stenhouse, Diogenes the Dog founder Sunny Hodge, restaurateurs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (of Fitzrovia’s Honey & Co), Gingerline Flavourology Director Jenny McNeill, cookie dough/truffle innovator Adam Barlow (of Simply Trios), Indie Bay founder Dafna Bonas, and lots of others. Watch this space!

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