Q&A with Anna Jones aka We Are Food
In what ways has your work been impacted by COVID-19 and how have you responded?
I’m quite lucky – some of my work has been steady – my columns Guardian Feast has carried on each Saturday – though I’ve been switching up the recipes I write to suit how we are cooking now and shooting the pics at home with my husband (who is not a photographer) which is a new thing for me. My 4th cookbook ‘One’ out in Oct 2020 is in the final stages so I’ve been working on that too. But all the dinners, event and work I do with brands has stopped completely.
In what new ways do you think people’s cooking and eating habits are changing and why?
We are having to become much more adaptable and so many of us are cooking so much more – it’s amazing! We are all learning whether it’s having a go at making bake bread or switching up ingredients we can’t get. I think we will all come out of this better cooks with way more respect for the preciousness of the food we eat.
Are there any stand-out initiatives you’ve seen in the food space where brands or individuals are really making a difference?
There are so many. It’s been just incredible to see so many of my friends with restaurants pivot to change up their businesses. Good people are used to thinking on their feet and it’s really showed. A few initiatives that stand out for me are:
Chefs in schools: chefs who usually cook in schools have come together to use their skills and resources to make sure kids don’t go hungry.
The Land Army: a brillaint initiative set up to help mobilise a ‘land army’ to pick the food grown by our farmers as they rely on workers from overseas who could not get flights.
Kemp Kitchen: a small food business in Hackney delivering meals by bike and donating one meal to key workers and homeless for each one brought.
What do you think brand collaborations will look like for Influencers and brands post COVID-19?
We have become much more sensitive to ads during this time. It feels crass to see a ad promoting something next to a picture of an NHS doctor on a night shift on our social media feeds. I think exposure to this sort of thing is going to change us for good. I hope there will be a more authentic connection between brands and influencers. This can only be a good thing!
Has the new normal of social distancing and self-isolation prompted you to get more creative or change your content output in any ways?
I’ve definitely adapted yes. I think people have wanted to see good news coming in so I’ve started a weekly goodness newsletter which has had an incredible response. I’ve also made sure the recipes I post are adaptable (this is a big part of my cooking anyway) and they are comforting and pretty easy. We all need small wins right now. I’ve also tried to solve problems – a cake made out of cannellini beans (actually v delicious) when flour was in short supply.
What’s on your dinner party menu for when we’re back together with friends and family post-lockdown?
If I’m honest – I’ll be eating out as much as I can after this. I’ve been missing restaurants so much. I get inspired by eating other people’s food and I think it’s going to be a super important time to support our hospitality industry.