Review of Nadiya Hussain event by Polly Allan


Judging by the queue outside The Guildhall for Nadiya Hussein’s talk, you could be excused for thinking that Nadiya was going to be spending the entire talk dishing out some of her delicious cakes to the audience. This was not the case but the warmth and enthusiasm with which she talked about her latest book was as pleasurable as even the most perfect of her showstoppers. ‘Bake Me A Celebration’ is her 6th cookbook but the 3rd in her “Nadiya Bakes” series which combine stories, recipes and even crafts to bring the tales to life. Each story is based on a different festival or celebration, including Halloween, Easter and, her favourite, Eid. Listening to Nadiya talk, the audience really had a sense of the book being an extension of Nadiya’s family life, with her kids not only helping test the recipes, reading the stories, and acting as her own personal ‘guinea pigs’, but also featuring in the stories themselves. The idea for the book came from her children’s love of reading – David Walliams in particular. She found that whenever she was at home cooking, her children would interrupt her for a story. And so, the idea of combining these two favourite pastimes into one book began to take shape. After the fascinating insight into the process of writing this book, Gill McLay opened the floor up for questions. It was clear from the number of hands which shot up, that the audience still hadn’t heard enough from Nadiya. She answered each one with characteristic warmth and energy. We learnt a bit about her time on The Great British Bake Off, her love of spices in cooking, and even, the most surprising revelation of the evening, her favourite comfort food; Smash potato with cream and butter, and, if she’s feeling particularly indulgent, tomato soup on top. Which only goes to show that even the best bakers aren’t immune to the joys of an instant fix! Throughout the inspiring talk, Nadiya emanated warmth, enthusiasm, and of course an overwhelming passion for her new and exciting book, and I’m certain that, like me, many will have left he Guildhall with a newfound inspiration for baking … ready to binge-watch the whole of Great British bake off again.

Review by Polly Allan, Year 12, Royal High School, Bath.

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