11 months ago

Interview: Chef, baker and Clapham local; Manon Lagrève

To celebrate the tastiest national day out (National Cheesecake day) we interviewed chef, content creator and Clapham local: Manon Lagrève.

Thank you so much for inviting us to your beautiful garden on National Cheesecake Day. You are a French cook, chef and Bake Off finalist… And Clapham Local! Could you introduce yourself to us and maybe talk us through this lovely cake that you’ve made us?

Hi! Thank you so much for being here today. I’ve been in Clapham for five years now and totally love it. I’m a convert from East London. And yes: I’m a mum, cook, chef and I do a lot of social media content recipes. So today for cheesecake day, I’ve made my French version of a cheesecake. It’s a gateau au yaourt fromage blanc with some blueberries. We have a shortcrust pastry around and just a bit of crème fraîche and blueberries on top. Hopefully it’s good… but it should be.

You were a finalist in Great British Bake Off ’18. What was that like for you?

Yes, 2018! A very long time (ago). It was incredible. As a French person entering a British TV show, and one of the most popular shows, it was quite a surreal experience. But I’ve always loved to bake. I grew up in a family in France, where my parents are farmers, so we had eggs. We always had eggs at home. So we were always baking at home which makes total sense. And then I entered Bake Off! From the show I left my career as a project manager in I.T to go full time as a content creator, which is completely different. But it’s quite amazing- I live for my passion. I love to share the love of food and the love of where your produce is from, and the seasonality of all of this. And today I’m also a published author! This is my first ever book ‘Et Voila!’. It’s all about the bakes and cakes that we make at home in France. So lots of family recipes, lots of easy recipes to make, even with children, or if you’re hosting people… It’s all of my baking secrets in one book. It’s available at Clapham bookshops, any willing bookshops around and on Amazon.

What do you like to cook and bake generally? Tell us about your cooking style.

I’m a busy mum. For me, everything needs to be quick, easy and also nutritious and delicious. So I usually make accessible recipes. I have this series called ‘host like a friend’, which is more about inviting people over and the little tips and tricks that you can make and that you can do. I also have another one which is the ‘what I had for lunch as a French girl living in London’. It’s really what I cook for me and my husband when we get home. Half an hour maximum, I’d say, and also looks beautiful, is seasonal and simple.

As a Clapham resident where are your go to spots in the neighbourhood?

I love Trude’s in Clapham Common for any fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. On Saturdays you will always find us at Pear Tree cafe, I have to say the pancakes are really good- really recommend those and my husband loves the eggs and I would say really good value for money too. Me and my daughter Fleur will go to Mud club. It’s basically just an outside big space in Clapham Common. You give a donation for Mud club, who also look after the gardens or grow vegetables and stuff in Clapham Common. And yeah, it’s super fun!

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