Black Eyewear Woman | Chef Andi Oliver on lockdown life, food and music.

The utterly brilliant Andi Oliver takes us through a few of her favourite cookbooks, music and projects, against the backdrop of our nationwide lockdown.

Andi wears Hazel in Light Tortoiseshell, photograph by @kellielicorish_makeup

Award winning TV Chef and Broadcaster Andi Oliver enjoys a rich & varied career, with food and music being at the forefront throughout.

Andi is a regular face on screen – Host of the BBC’s Great British Menu, Host of Sky Arts Live Book Club, Host of C4’s Beat the Chef, and Food Unwrapped and a contributing chef and host on Saturday Kitchen.

On air Andi is a regular panel member on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet alongside Jay Rayner aswell as a contributor to Radio 4’s Award winning The Food Programme. In 2018 she followed in the footsteps of Yotam Ottolenghi & Giorgio Locatelli and was appointed Head judge alongside Sheila Dillon for the prestigious BBC Food & Farming awards.

Outside of the realm of food Andi hosted the award winning Jazz 365 for BBC4 in 2019 and along with her daughter Miquita Oliver took part both in The Road To Saigon for BBC2 and Hosted The Cheltenham Literature Festival for Sky Arts

Andi was (and is) in the kitchen throughout all of this, perfecting her skill, and for 4 years she ran a successful ephemeral restaurant – The Moveable Feast. After being creative director of The Birdcage she launched her own kitchen at The Jackdaw and Star, a renovated pub in the heart of Homerton. She launched her award winning restaurant – Andi’s – in 2016 & in 2020, she launched her newest food project entitled Wadadli Kitchen which showcases Real Caribbean Home Cooking. Wadadli pop ups took place throughout summer 2020, including a pop up at Somerset House and an off shoot of the Wadadli brand called One Love , which Andi created alongside Fred Siriex.

Do you have any rituals/habits you can share that’s kept you inspired and motivated during this incredibly strange time?
Exercise has been hugely important for me during this year, it has given me a chance to get outside of my head especially when I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed or anxious, I mean that’s always the case but particularly this year. We are very lucky to be surrounded by parks so getting outside and jumping around is not too difficult to do ( obviously I still have to
make myself get off the sofa! )

Have you found yourself embracing a particular lockdown comfort food or style of cooking?
Lockdown has given me the opportunity to actually really work on new dishes and to nail down detail for my project Wadadli Kitchen. We delivered two popups during the first wave of lockdown, one a takeaway in my friend’s pub garden (The Crooked Billet in Clapton) and another in collaboration with Fred Siriex called One Love at another friends place also in Clapton (Clapton Country Club). Lockdown meant that I would get into the kitchen and develop all the dishes!

Andi wears Garland sunglasses in Forest Cloud. Photo courtesy of @AndiOliver.

3 books (cookbooks or otherwise) that have inspired you over the course of your life?
A Taste of Country Cooking – Edna Lewis 
Real Good Food – Nigel Slater 
Spain – The Cookbook – Simone & Inés Ortega 

Both music and food are undeniably never far from your heart – what’s on your playlist while cooking?
It’s a pretty big list!! I’ve got a playlist on Spotify that my daughter Miquita and I play a LOT, its from our ‘What’s for dinner mummy’ Instagram sort of series thing – its got everything on it! from Tracey Chapman to Solomon Burke to Simon and Garfunkel! I love it!

What’s the first meal you’ll be cooking and for whom, after we gain some normality back and can see our loved ones up close and personal? 
I am dying to just hang out with my mum again!! I’ve seen her, but not nearly enough and she hasn’t been able to come stay with us or vice versa, so it will be for her and It’ll probably be spice rubbed roast chicken and crunchy roast potatoes she loves that! 

Andi wears Hazel in Light Tortoiseshell, photograph by @kellielicorish_makeup

Describe your personal style in 3 words.
oh gosh!! yikes..ok ill try .. Colourful, Bright, Individual,

Favourite pair of Black Eyewear (and what do you love about them)? 
Well I fluctuate on this but at the moment its my Hazel glasses in Light Tortoiseshell I just ADORE them they’re glamorous and really make an impact! I feel like I mean business when I wear them!


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