Blog, Meet the Maker

Meet The Maker, Cookery Author Blandine Boyer

Blandine is a prodigious cookery writer and many of her  books have been on the bestseller list for years. Currently she has five books in the top 30 cookery books on French Amazon. She writes under her own name and uses a pseudonym as well.

Before becoming a cookery writer, food stylist and recipe developer Blandine worked as a caterer in Montreal and before that she was a costume maker for movies and doing textile creations for the iconic Cent Ideé magazine in the nineteen eighties.

Did you go to art school originally and if so where and what did you study?

I went to Beaux Art in Lyon but I left after a year because it was all conceptual art and I wanted to learn techniques. Also I couldn’t afford to study for 5 years and come out of art school with no practical skills. So I decided to go to the technology institute instead to learn fashion techniques. I applied to study both the fashion and cookery, I got onto both courses and tossed a coin to make the choice. So I ended up studying fashion.

Making Pesto from garden foraging

What happened next?

I started working as a pattern maker, producer and stylist, managing and overseeing the fashion output in a number of factories. Very soon I craved to do something more creative, so I made things, at night and during the weekend, for movies, advertising and DIY magazines like cent ideé. I also made models for Haute Couture shows.

I met my husband and followed him to Montreal for his career, and in Montreal there was less opportunity for fashion and design so I started a catering business, with a friend, from my kitchen. Within 6 months we were catering for hundreds of weddings and events. I started to design the food to go with the event. For example  if it was a biblical theme I only served finger food, fish, grapes bread and wine all served in the style of the last supper. I designed costumes for the waiters to fit in with the occasion. We only used unique platters and dishes rather than catering ones. I even designed my own vessels. My Clients were mainly galleries, fashion and movie companies

When and why did you return to France?

We returned to France mainly for my husband’s work.

As soon as I returned to France I started catering for private parties and met editors and started being a food stylist and writer and I never stopped.

What is a typical working day like for you or is there no such thing?

There is no such thing.

If I am working on a book, I look for inspiration mainly in my head I write a summery and submit it to my editor. If it is accepted I write a rough for the recipes. I create a mood board for styling the book, and when that is approved I gather props together.  I find most of them in garage sales. Props become obsolete very quickly, I am always on the look out for them. I make most of my own backgrounds, painting and distressing, making a patina on reclaimed board or old shutters found in the garbage. I like using old metal shutters to get weathered elements.

I cook the recipe and style it with the photographer. After that I collaborate with the editor to check it all works.

Sometimes working on a book will included gutting a boar or finding a pig to dig truffles on the day of the shoot or milking a goat. Foraging wild plants and mushrooms that are the heart of my cooking. I had to do all this when creating my book Banquet Gaulous (eating like the Gaul’s)

One of the reasons I am interviewing successful women who are over forty is that they have often had to take a career break, or had to slow down to deal with child care and or aged parents. Have you ever had to deal with either of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life or business?

I was lucky to have a supportive husband and accommodating son. My son, who is now 30, says I could never eat anything from the fridge without first asking “ is it for a contract”  I didn’t work as much for the first few years when we came back to France, as I was working on the house, and  creating a garden from wild plants. One of my great loves is wild plants. 

What is the best part of your work and what is the worst part?

The best part of my work is not working in an office and being my own boss. Not commuting and working from home. The worst part is when I have a difficult editor.

Do you broadcast at all?

I have been on radio a few times to promote my books. I have been invited a few times on shows to discuss particular topics for example recipes using milk.

What is the best book you have ever written?

My first book SOS Restès a left over alphabet book that wasn’t a huge success, as using left overs at that time was not trendy and you were considered to be a scrooge.

Blanquet Galois  is the best book I have ever produced. It was entirely shot in my house and on my land in Languedoc-Roussillon using locally sourced ingredients and wild plants from my land. Also because I was able to do my own art direction and my editor fully trusted me.

Image styled by Blandine Boyer, shot by Aimery Chemin

Who or what inspires you?

My mother inspired me, she cooked, knitted, sewed mended and foraged. She taught me about wild plants and mushrooms. It is very trendy now, but for her it was necessity. My father who was a forest ranger taught me botanic Latin and the love of gardening. I am connecting again with my peasant roots by butchering a pig every winter with my friends. This is an excellent mix of ancient recipes and modern creations.

What advice would you give to any cookery author starting out today?

I would encourage a beginner to expect hard work and not to fall into the internet cut and paste trap. Be as true as you can on the plate. Don’t rely on the photographer to photo shop it.

In spite of all the cookery shows and digital cookery videos and you tube, the cookbook still has a future, it is surprising and refreshing. The cookbook is not dead yet.

What is next for you ?

I am going to leave Paris to live in the country in my house in Langadoc and feed myself and forage as much food as I can and I hope to write my last book about it.

Styling Blandine Boyer image by Aimery Chemin

I love being creative, If I am on holiday, after 5 days I get very agitated if I am not making. I love to make and to create things. I particularly like building.

Thank You

Blog, Exhibitions

New Interior Trends For 2019

This feature first appeared on the blogazine www.magpieonline.co.uk

Hornsey-stool-by-Giggy-and-bab-1080x675.jpg

Creativecolour.org’s Juliet Bawden has been to the design shows in London and Paris and has come back with what’s hot to trot for the coming months in interior design.

Want to be the first to know next year’s trends? Well you have come to the right place. I bring you news of all that is new and desirable from Paris Design week and the enormous trade fair known as Maison et Object and London Design week including Decorex,  Design Junction and 100% Design.

When 100% design started in 1995 it was the first organisation to promote design throughout London. It lost its way for a while and became too big and unwieldy, there was a changeof venue and ownership and now it is back on course and this year has exceeded expectations with the promotion of new young talent and innovative design. For the first time the design team have the input of Barbara Chandler the Design Editor of Homes and Property in London’s Evening Standard. She has always championed new designers as well as being a great photographer in her own right. She has curated 100% Forward. This section of the show that spotlights seven emerging design talents each of whom has been chosen by an established designer who launched their own career during the first decade of 100% Design.

The designers are Simon Pengelly a furniture designer who has nominated Daniel Schofield, industrial and product designer. Michael Marriot furniture and product designer has nominated a furniture designing team Dominic Postlethwaite and Will Dyer. Chris Eckersley a furniture designer has nominated weaver Majeda Clarke and they have collaborated on some projects together. Philip Watts interior designer and designer maker has nominated Light Up North, makers of creative neon. Ella Doran surface print designer has nominated Kyla McCallum whose work Foldability + Northern is beautiful and intricate. Jocelyn Warner who launched her own wallpapers at 100% design haschampioned Stoff Studios who design furniture and textiles .Samuel Chan furniture designer has nominated Moe Redish a multidisciplinary designer currently creating glass ware made by blowing into a wooden mould.

Here are the key trends for 2019.

Dulux colour of the year for 2019 is Spiced Honey and it is a warm comforting tone that will go with most of the key looks for next year, but it is the colour green that is very much in evidence everywhere. As a colour and as a life style concept of bringing the outside in itis a very strong trend. Sometimes it is shown as a flat colour at other times it is mixed with foliage and flowers.

Lighting has been influenced by the popularity of steam bent wood and laser cutting. There are many lightshade made using both these techniques and the result is fabulous patterns on the walls when the lights are on. Laser cut screens and wall treatments are being used on exteriors of buildings on balconies and fences. They are used as indoors as room dividers and screens.

Awareness of the environment, means that designers are finding new ways of using up waste, and recycling materials such as coffee grounds, paper and cardboard. IKEA have made some elegant dining chairs from that come in both black and white and are made from recycled plastic. As we are using less and less plastic bags we need replacements. Baskets are still popular either in natural straw and hemp weaves or in bright woven plastics. Stretchy string bags in a variety of colours are popular too. Bamboo, a fast growing sustainable wood is very much in evidence used in a variety of ways from flooring to fabrics and bowls.

The craze for wall papers that look as though they are made from something else be it aged wood or three dimensional ceramic tiles doesn’t look as if it’s going away any time soon. Florals and bright colours including fluorescents are still popular. Using a multi mix of patterns with one another is a trend in soft furnishings that echoes that of the fashion industry. Rough textures on surfaces such as walls, interesting finishes and weaves on fabrics and anything ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ friendly is going to be everywhere over the coming year. Felt is a very strong look in interiors. Concrete is being used more and more unusual and innovative ways.

Nineteen fifties or Mid Century Modern furniture and accessories are hugely popular, as in the original or as inspired by. The Vintage furniture pop store took place in Galerie Joseph. Paris had a pop up selling original furnishings and accessories from the nineteen fifties and early 1960’s. Baskets are very popular still and stretchy string bags. If you are considering building a house or replacing your front door you could do no better than looking at the work of Urban Front who design and make the most desirable enormous steel reinforced hardwood doors.

Another section of the show is 100% Futures a feature that shines a light on the most cutting edge designs and innovations under the theme ‘designing for cities’. Design Fresh showcases the talent of the very best designers who graduated this summer. Here are links tosome of their web sites:

www.phoebedeeprose.co.uk -textile designer printer and illustrator

www.lucygrainge.com – image maker/designer
www.giggyandbab.co.uk – designer who has re-designed the fold up kitchen stool
www.lizziehillierstudio.com – artist and designer, surface designer
www.niaristprints.com – surface designer

BlogFooterOrange