Bird Jubilee Guest Speaker 2022: Alissa Timoshkina

Alissa Timoshkina

How would you describe your work in food?

That’s a great question as I am currently in the process of addressing my professional identity. I feel that I am still bound by an outdated notion that you have to be just one thing in your professional life but I am definitely not that, and am very much drawn to the idea of a modern Renaissance woman that’s been on the surge for a while now especially in the food world. While my background is in film history and also cultural events production, 4 years ago I decided to change my career. So now I run a supper club, called KinoVino, I also offer catering and event planning services, and am a food writer and author of a cookbook called Salt and Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen. 

What is your first food memory?

One of the earliest and most vivid memory I have is of a gypsy caravan parking nearby where I used to live and my grandpa taking me so see their horse. It seemed like a majestic animal to a toddler that I was at the time. My grandpa taught me how to feed the horse, so I gave it some carrots and fresh green grass. There was so much sunshine so all the colours were beautifully vibrant. So perhaps it is not a food memory as such but rather a memory of myself in the act of feeding,

Why do you love to cook? 

Oh so many reasons. Cooking is my therapy: it makes me feel present and relaxed, as well as creative and in control of what I am doing. It’s also a wonderful feeling being able to satisfy your own culinary desires as well as those of others. And of course, there is also the joy of sharing a meal together with others.

Who inspired you to cook, and who inspires you now?

One of my greatest influences is my great grandmother, Rosalia, who pretty much raised me, while my very young parents and grandparents were studying and working (respectively). She had the most fascinating life story - witness the Russian revolution and surviving the Holocaust - and she was also a cook by trade, so we’d spend a lot of time in the kitchen with her, she’d be making some food while I’d be generally getting in her way and being mischievous. Today, there are so many inspiring women out there some of which have played a direct part in my transition into the world of food. My dear university friend, Olia Hercules, who’s career change helped with my own transition, Romy Gill who encouraged me to cook more and invited me to take part in various food events, there are also people like Anna Jones, Melissa Hemsley, Athena Calderone and Aran Goyaga whom I’ve admired from afar.

What are your top tips for running a supper club?

Have a look at what’s out there and be very clear on how your offering is different and why you want to do it. 

Decide if you are in it for long term or not - there are so many lovely supper clubs that spring up but only last a few months as perhaps they don’t have a clear enough identity.

Find a great venue and an even better team whom you can trust.

Find an element of your event that’s always changing - the way KinoVino has a new theme each time while the format remains the same. This way people can (technically) come to all of them and still get a new experience.

 

Bird Jubilee Guest Speaker 2022: Alissa Timoshkina