Friday 17 July 2015

Honey & Co.

We’ve christened Itamar and Sarit from Honey & Co., the Honeys, because they are just that.

We had them here at Ballymaloe Cookery School a couple of  weekends ago (after their extremely popular session at this year's Litfest).

It’s a bountiful time in the farm and in the gardens. Itamar and Sarit were so excited by the quality of the beautiful fresh produce. We had lots of fresh peas, courgettes and their flowers, broad beans and the first tiny cucumbers. A joy to eat and cook with.

They taught two classes and charmed the audience with their easy manner and utterly delicious food. They cooked many of the favourite Middle Eastern dishes from Honey & Co., their tiny restaurant in Warren Street in Fitzrovia. It seats just 24 people and snugly at that but serves about 150 who come for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8.00am-10.30pm.

Sarit Packer has been cooking and baking since she was five, trained at Butlers Wharf and at the Orrery under Chris Galvin, where she learned, amongst other things, to make pâte de fruits, which up to then was her sole ambition in life. In her spare time she sleeps. Itamar Srulovich born and raised in Jerusalem. Cooking since the  age of five and leaving a great mess  in the kitchen ever since, he trained on the job in various places in Tel-Aviv. He prefers eating to cooking, and sleeping to both, he is very happily married to Sarit.

Sarit tells us that “what we’re about is homemade flavours” and it just struck me that so many of the restaurants that people love nowadays in particular in London and New York are about homemade flavours. Theirs of course are Middle Eastern and there are some dishes that they simply can’t take off the menu including falafel and their cherry pistachio cake. The Observer Food magazine awarded Honey & Co. "Best Newcomer of the Year" in 2013.

They have just celebrated their third anniversary so Pam baked them a gorgeous three tier cake embellished with roses, raspberries and spun sugar.

Somehow in the midst of it all they wrote their first cookbook - Honey & Co.: Food From the Middle East which was published by Salt Yard Book Co in 2014 to huge acclaim. Both Sunday Times and Fortnum and Mason awarded Honey & Co. Cookbook of the Year 2015 and just last month they won the UK Food Writers Guild, First Cookbook Award.

Their second cookbook launched just last week - Honey & Co.: The Baking Book.