Hot 20 Questions with Alex Glen from Jacks Kitchen

Alex Glen talks about her love of art, her event catering company Jacks Kitchen in the Hot 20 Questions and how she juggles motherhood, running a business and teaching Fine Art full time.

JK Best thing about living in Cheltenham?

AG I’m used to being spoilt for great food in London and I haven’t felt like that since we moved to Cheltenham over a year ago. There are some great places to eat and I would like to see more independent pop ups like Koj becoming a feature, with the likes of Le Champignon Sauvage, East India Cafe, The White Spoon, Kibousushi, 188 Bar & Wok (to name but a few) there is something to suit every pallet. I love popping to the lower high street to get all our Asian produce too.

JK If you had to be locked in a building in the Cotswolds overnight, which would it be?

AG It would have to be Deya Brewery haha I love their craft beer and open taps on a Fri night. https://deyabrewing.com

JK How do you juggle motherhood, running a business and working full time?

AG Coffee, lots. I really don’t know the rest it’s a blur. My students keep me sweet and bring me cake and biscuits!

JK Fave Artist?

AG Rebecca Horn.

JK Greatest Indulgence?

AG Art.

JK Biggest extravagance?

AG Holidays. We try to get to South East Asia once a year and I adore Italy. When the IVF worked and I fell pregnant with Jack first thing we did was book a flight to Florence, another corner of the boot we hadn’t been to. We’ll be flying back to Naples soon for a 2 night pizza extravagance. Di wants to get better at making pizzas for when our pizza oven ‘Rita’ arrives. She’s a perfectionist.

JK Rich or healthy Alex?

AG Healthy.

JK What’s on your bucket list?

AG Seeing more of South East Asia, not been to Vietnam or Laos yet! Oh and Japan. When I’m 80 I might jump out of a plane (with a parachute obvs!) because who cares when your 80.

JK Guest list for ideal dinner party?

AG Johanna Lumley, Keith Richards, Melissa McCarthy, Helen Mirren, David Bowie and in the open-plan kitchen; Elena Arzak and Dominique Cren. Perfection right there.

JK Best Jacks Kitchen event to date?

AG Be rude not to say The Rolling Stones Management!

JK Your favourite Jacks Kitchen dish? 

AG Oh that’s not fair! I’d have to say Di’s Chocolate Fondant in any shape or form!

JK 3 Foods you couldn’t live without?

AG Fresh seafood, greens and steamed jasmine rice.

JK Tell us something that people don’t know about you?

AG Now this will make you laugh! I moved to London after my BA Fine Art to do my PG Dip and Masters at Chelsea Arts. To pay my rent I joined the London Fire Brigade and became a fire fighter. It was the norm to finish a night shift and cycle straight to university stinking of smoke! 10 years I did that for and I certainly paid my dues.

JK Favourite Gallery?

AG I think I would say the Hayward Gallery, London. The building is cast concrete, it’s unapologetically brutal. In my favourite place, the South Bank. We have just a great exhibition on at our local Wilson Gallery #theorderofthings with some great work from Andrew Bick and Jonathan Parsons.

JK Favourite work of Art?

AG Pieta, Michellangelo, St Peters, Vatican.

JK 3 items you couldn’t live without?

AG Drawing paper, pen and good coffee.

JK Greatest achievement?

AG Our son Jack who is extremely funny! As I write this he is 3 years old and has told us everyday since he could scramble words together that he wants to be a doctor of animals! Cute.

JK Best dish you have eaten this year?

AG Ohh Di’s Beef Wellington everytime. You could cut the meat with a spoon. We source our meat wisely; our beef comes from our local farmers at https://www.todenhammanorfarm.co.uk

JK Favourite tweeter?

AG I have to admit I like tweets that make me laugh like @classicalArtMeme and @_Retailfail and I’m loving our local ones @cheltproblems and @GlosMagician.

JK Any hopes and exciting plans for the future?

AG Apart from our son growing up happy. I have started my PHD and pushing boundaries on the digital media front within fine art. I’d like Jacks Kitchen to continue to thrive. Our 1.2 metre Wood Fired Oven Rita will be built soon so we can fire her up and offer something different for large parties, wedding food, food & drink fests and pop ups. I’d love my own studio space at home one day; I’ll have my messy side for ceramics and sculpture and my clean side for projection mapping and digital.

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HOT 20 questions with Mama Makes Uk

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Mama Makes Uk HOT 20 Questions:

“My response to Pete proposing to me – Danny Dyer just said my name!”

Mum to super heroes Sid the kid and Ralph with another due in December, god help her! Jacks Kitchen got down and dirty with Nareece whilst she talked about being locked in Harrods, her life long crush on Danny Dyer and Ben Murphy her fave chef!

JK Best thing about living in London?

MM The diversity of the city. I love being around so many different cultures, languages and people from all walks of life. I grew up in a tiny village in Lincolnshire

JK Fave tune at the moment?

MM Beyonce ‘Hold Up’ – All hail queen Bey.

JK If you had to be locked in a building in London overnight, which would it be?

MM Harrods! My all time favourite shop. Food, clothes and shoes all in one place. I would dress up in McQueen and eat like a king.

JK Rich or healthy?

MM Healthy for sure! I’ve never been rich and probably never will be so you can’t miss what you don’t have!

JK 3 items you couldn’t live without?

MM Wet wipes, rose turkish delight and my phone.

JK Biggest extravagance?

MM My house – it’s an extremely petite London terrace but cost us a fortune in buying and renovating it over the last three years.

JK Fave London discoveries?

MM Beige Bake, Brick Lane! YUM!!!

JK Have you ever watched a film and it changed your life? If so, which one and why?

MM The film ‘Kids’ watched whilst at Uni and it changed my outlook on sex – everyone should have to watch this film before becoming sexually active! My main aim now after having kids is to make sure they are safe when sexually active! I will be that crazy mum wanting to talk all things sexual with my kids and handing out condoms.

JK Gin & Tonic or Glass of Wine?

MM Gin & Tonic for sure! After this baby pops out i want it on a IV drip but has to be Tanqueray 10! I recently discovered Hibiscus tonic on a trip to Lisbon but yet to find it in a supermarket in this country. Any ideas??

JK Do you nick the smells from a hotel?

MM No but my husband does. He’s totally tight and likes to get his moneys worth.

JK Best piece of advice you have been given? 

MM Work to live don’t live to work – although i only realised how important this was after having my own child.

JK Fave British actress?

MM Julie Walters – LOVE everything she has ever been in.

JK Last song you downloaded?

MM Drake – One dance

JK Indian or Thai Food?

MM Thai food. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

JK Most romantic thing your husband has ever done for you?

MM Oooooooo toughy! His proposal was pretty special i am a gigantic Danny Dyer fan .. HUGE! For his proposal he tracked down Mr Dyer and got him to make a video to propose to me. My response to will you marry me whilst he was down on one knee was “DANNY DYER JUST SAID MY NAME!!!!”

JK Best meal you have ever had?

MM The Woodford in South Woodford led by Chef Ben Murphy. Amazing new Restaurant that opened at the beginning of the year and walking distance to the house. The food is incredible! I love everything about it, the food, ambience, cocktails, service. It is fine dining at it’s best.

JK Fave superhero?

MM Deadpool!

JK Go back in time or forward in time?

MM Go back and relive the madness again – but i would not change a thing.

JK Fave blogger?

MM The unmumsy mum makes me feel so much less inadequate as a parent and gives me a bloody good laugh.

JK On your blog you talk of your mum with so much warmth. With her birthday looming, what did you treat her to?

MM Sent her flowers to work, thought i would win the best child prize however so did my brother (he is renowned for being very last minute and unorganised) and he added on chocolates so i looked equally unorganised and cheap!

Thanks Mama Maka and good luck with the blog and print designing!

Keep up to date with Mama Maka’s daily goings on!

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Jacks Kitchen’s top 5 pizzas

Pizzas – Jacks Kitchen’s top 5!

There is much to be said about the perfect pizza. What makes the perfect pizza?
I mean take the mother country Italy for example they have so many variations from the god father Naples Neapolitan pizza with its soupy centre and charred thick crust to Romas rectangular pizza and Sicilys fluffy spongy pizza.
Then jump back to the UK and I don’t think we are too far behind the birthplace Italy.We left London just over a year ago for Cheltenham, having spent 20 years in Islington and Brixton and 20 years eating some of the capitals best pizzas with a waist size to prove it!

Made of Dough – London


August 2015 I found a pizza gem who was worth his weight in crust. I bought tickets to Londons first pizza festival. Yep you read that right. JUST pizzaiolo battling it out to be pizza kings. Honest Crust, Made of Dough, Berthas, Sued Italia and Yard Sale went head to head in a fierce pizza off. You literally eat your weight in pizza, claim to be the worlds best pizza critic, down a gallon of beer and then vote. For us Made in Dough got our vote and ultimately swooped the crowning glory.
Made of dough are based in Pop Brixton, sadly my once local neighbourhood. They have a shipping container which they have made into a pizza kiosk open 7 days a week. Their pizzas are stunningly good. Their dough is fermented for 60 hours, all their ingredients are shipped over from the pizza motherland and mix that up with wicked pizzaiolo skill, music and good times, they are the champions in our eyes and London.


Made of dough are returning to this years Pizza Competition at Borough Market on 28th May 2017 to battle it out against 4 other newbies to retain the title. The amazing young and foodish Daniel organises these shin digs and to buy tickets hit the link below.

Our fave made of dough pizza – Margherita
http://www.madeofdough.co.uk

London Pizza Festival 2017

Pizza Pilgrims – London


We met James and Tom back in 2012 at Camp Bestival, we were helping serve The Rib Man Marks ribs and his holy fuck sauce, damn I love that stuff. I remember my first bite of their Margarita. Just the right balance of chewy, soft and fluffy base with san marzano tomatoes, fior di latte cheese, basil and extra virgin. 90 second blast in their wood fired oven and their she was, a thing of beauty. It took me right back to family holidays in Italy. I literally lived and breathed pizza every year for 2 weeks. Who said being a kid sucked. Pizza Pilgrims have come a long way since their pop up in Soho and Camp Bestival, they have pizza joints all over London town including Soho, Shoreditch, Covent Garden and their new pizza playground in West India Quay which has just opened. If your in town GO!

Our fave pizza pilgrims pizza – Nduja
http://www.pizzapilgrims.co.uk

Firezza – London


Gone are the days that you open up your bottom kitchen drawer and pull out greasy fingered takeaway leaflets. The website has every blogger known to man sharing their weird and wonderful foodie discoveries and so that is what led me to come across Firezza pizza delivery in London. It was the middle of winter and Alex, Jack and I were no way going out. Firezza are mainly delivery (they have 1 restaurant in Soho). They rock up on their scooters with 1/2 metre pizzas on the back. They are the next best thing to being stood at Kerb or Street Feast. Sourdough bases, tangy tomato, buffalo mozzarella and so many different toppings your spoilt for choice. Get a banoffee pie too they are dirty!

Our fave firezza pizza – Buffalo Salami & Buffalo Mozzarella
http://www.firezza.com

Wood Fire & Smoke – Cheshire


Having a northern sole I couldn’t do a cheeky pizza blog and not mention one of my fave pizzas north of Watford gap. So who are they and where can we chow down on these neapolitan pizzas you say?
Let me introduce you to Rick the pizzaiolo behind Wood Fire & Smoke based in Cheshire. Rick makes authentic wood fired neapolitan pizzas. He proves his dough for 36 hours, uses san marzano tomatoes grown around the volcanic hills of naples and supports all his local suppliers where possible. The pizzas are as good as I’ve eaten anywhere in the capital. They are fired with heart and soul and have the obligatory leopard spot crust. Wood Fire & Smoke are fully mobile and will cater for any wedding, large party, birthday, corporate you name it or check him out at Makers Market Manchester.

Our fave wood smoke & fire pizza – Pizza Bianca with Nduja and honey
http://www.woodfiresmoke.co.uk

Bottle of Sauce – Cheltenham


So 10 months into leaving the capital and moving to Cheltenham and we still hadn’t eaten any pizza worth it’s crust. My problem is I have been spoilt. Spending my summers as a kid in Italy and living in London with some of the finest pizza street food, Cheltenham had nothing to offer until *music please* Bottle of Sauce opened it’s doors November 2016. Hallelujah. We were there in a heart beat and I was kinda spoilt for choice. Whilst the mrs and Jack chowed down on burgers, wings and truffled fries (equally as good!) I waited with baited breath for my pizza. I’d ordered the Margherita, I wanted pure unadulterated neapolitan heaven and it didn’t disappoint. The base was gorgeous, they prove their dough for 48 hours, you could taste it! The fior di latte had melted into each other and the tomatoes were the authentic san marzano and basil torn and thrown on. It was good. But then mix that with the whole setting – the craft ales, the open kitchen showing off their neapolitan pizza oven, the friendly staff, the graffiti style walls, the whole urban vibe to the pub just made me feel like I was having my London fix. I even spent my birthday their! They always make a fuss of Jack our little boy and even have a kids menu. We just love the place and if we are not eating in we’re taking a cheeky pizza out and apparently we can now get our pizzas delivered through deliveroo. Bellisimo!

Our fave bottle of sauce pizza – Salami get this straight
http://www.thebottleofsauce.com

Jacks Kitchen team up with The Montpellier Townhouse

The team behind Jacks Kitchen Private & Event Caterers team up with Montpellier’s award winning luxury self catering house, Xmas just came early! BOOM!

 

Most Cheltonians will know the award winning Montpellier Townhouse in the heart of Cheltenham’s fashionable Montpellier district. It sticks out like a sore thumb for being one of the blooming finest luxury self catering houses in the area!

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Formerly a hotel today it is a luxury holiday / weekend rental with all the comforts (and more) of a 5+ star hotel. So it was a great pleasure for Jacks Kitchen to be asked to cater for their guests which also boasts a state of the art kitchen to boot! Whats not to like?

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This gem has to be seen to be believed, it’s hip regency interior won Period Living Magazine’s annual design award and there’s numerous antiques and works of art to give a real sense of occasion for guests celebration. It’s simply stunning. (Photo credit The Boutique Life).

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Years ago a luxury break to celebrate a special event with friends or family meant rooms in expensive hotels, with perhaps a function room rental. A country house or townhouse venue was the preserve of those fortunate enough to have a generous (and possibly wealthy) relative happy to lend their own! Well thank god thats changed thanks to Montpellier Townhouse party venue. It can be rented for a few days for a truly special occasion – like a hen party, landmark birthday or perhaps just a reunion with old friends. No need to leave the furry ones at home either, The Montpellier Townhouse is animal friendly.

Ideal for up to 9-14 guests (in its five bedroom suites) the house has proven especially popular with hen celebrations, birthday parties and get togethers. It is especially popular during Cheltenham festivals, the celebrity guests can make it seem like a big brother house! To swell numbers to 18 you can rent their nearby 5 star Royal Parade Apartment too.

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It’s also Cheltenham’s finest party venue for up to 60-80 standing and milling about. Wether it be a product launch, reunion, hen party, birthday party or any celebration. Your free to order in your own drinks, relax and enjoy the house exclusively.

We love cooking up a storm for the guests. Expect every event with Jacks at Montpellier Town House to be taken to a yummier level – wether it be a Thai menu for a hen party with butlers (in the buff if required!), a bespoke fine dining dinner party, tasty sliders or canapés for a product launch, a stand and mingle party with pie and mash or a full english breakfast with bubble and squeak. We’ve got it sorted!

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CONTACT DETAILS

This is a house party venue to impress!
Rates around £2000 for the weekend plus 6 bottles of fizz in the cooler on arrival!
Book direct for best rates 01242 696872
http://www.stayinmontpellier.co.uk/
Jacks Kitchen Private & Event Caterer
Book direct for best rates 07803 780564