Fermentation: How Cultures Shape Culture

Leyla Kazim, Sandor Ellix Katz, Alissa Timoshkina, Kenji Morimoto, James Read
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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • From £3.25 – £14 Concessions available

From sauerkraut to sourdough, kombucha to kimchi.

This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  In-person ticket bookers will also be sent a bonus link to the online event. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

Offering probiotic potential, wild flavours and cultural capital, ferments are having a moment. Beyond their trendy image, fermented foods are cornerstones of many culinary cultures, vital as a means of preservation, sustenance and food security. Join a star panel of fermentation practitioners, educators, authors and advocates as they lead us on an exploration of the cultural origins and importance of fermented foods. This will be accompanied by a tasting of fermented foods.

This event is part of the British Library Food Season 2023

Half price tickets available for Members, Students, Under 26s and other concession groups. 

Leyla Kazim is a travel and food presenter, broadcaster and journalist. She is a critic on BBC One's MasterChef: The Professionals and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s award-winning weekly show The Food Programme. Leyla is also a judge on the prestigious annual BBC Food & Farming Awards. She travels to eat and spent the best part of 2015 eating her way around the world. She drew on her catalogue of culinary experiences to co-create Lonely Planet’s book: The Ultimate Eatlist, The World's Top 500 Food Experiences. Leyla shares her global stories through a number of online and print publications and her social media platforms.

Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. He is the author of five books: Wild Fermentation; The Art of Fermentation; The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved; Fermentation as Metaphor; and his latest, Fermentation Journeys. Sandor's books, along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyse a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him ‘one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.’ Sandor is the recipient of a James Beard award and other honors. For more information, check out his website.

Alissa Timoshkina is a London-based food writer and historian specialising in Eastern European food culture. Originally from Siberia, Alissa comes from a Ukrainian-Jewish lineage, with her family history forming an important part of her culinary writing. Alissa holds a PhD in Soviet film and Holocaust history, however, her love of cooking pulled her away from an academic career. Since 2015 she’s been curating and hosting immersive dining experiences, offering cooking classes and authored a cookbook Salt and Time. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Alissa initiated a global fundraising campaign, #CookForUkraine which raised over £2 million. 

Kenji Morimoto is a fourth generation Japanese American based in SW London whose cultural identity is grounded in food. As a child, he was in charge of making tsukemono (Japanese pickles) for family gatherings, learning from and surrounded by elders recreating flavours of home.  During the pandemic, he started his Instagram @kenjcooks to document his interest in fermentation and connect the dots between diasporic traditions and his own. Since then, he’s cooked in fermentation focused kitchens in Poland and run fermentation focused supper clubs, led workshops on koji and kimchi, partnered with companies such as MOB and Souschef, and published in Waitrose Food.

James Read’s mission is to smuggle bacteria back into our kitchens, and to make home-fermenting as approachable as home-baking. He is the founder of Kim Kong Kimchi (two Great Taste stars), Chief Trading Officer at the Fermenters Guild and his first book, Of Cabbages and Kimchi: A Practical Guide to the World of Fermented Food, is just out. It's full of stories about the surprising history and microbial wonder of fermentation, alongside over sixty recipes ranging from sauerkraut pierogi to kefir panna cotta, and is packed with Marija Tiurina's gastro-surrealist illustrations.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely.

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Name: Fermentation: How Cultures Shape Culture
Where: Piazza
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £3.25 – £14
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.