Falling in love again with food
Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones combined their love of food and fashion to launch catering company Tart. They talk to Ella Walker about their new book
Open A Love Of Eating, the debut cookbook from bespoke caterers and food columnists, Tart London — aka Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones — and you’ll feel like you’ve been tipped directly into summer.
There’s a charred mackerel salad with broad beans, chicken burgers layered with pickled cucumber, and a spicy chilled avocado soup that all scream dinner outside.
“It’s quite easy, comfort food,” says Jones (30). “It’s the kind of food Lucy and I make when we get in from a very long day.”
It’s also all rather pretty. “Whatever your budget, you can always make your dishes beautiful,” notes Carr-Ellison (31). “It’s just taking that one second, finishing it with a herb or chopped chilli. I think that’s achievable.”
The pair became friends while both living in New York in their early-20s. “I felt like I was the only one who cooked — I’d try and force my American friends into having dinner parties,” Carr-Ellison remembers. “I would lay the table as you would here and have people round, and suddenly they’d be putting on the TV and watching the Super Bowl. I was like, ‘They just don’t get it’.”
Fortunately, Jones did — and they eventually teamed up to launch Tart, a bespoke catering company, largely feeding crews on fashion and photography shoots, a world they were already familiar with (Carr-Ellison as a photographer, Jones as a model and assistant). The brand name was a result of walking onto shoots carrying crisply baked tarts: “It’d be, ‘Here come the kitchen tarts’, so Tarts stuck,” says Carr-Ellison.
They’ve since catered for some pretty famous names, from Kate Moss and Stella McCartney, to Penelope Cruz (“I’ve got the biggest girl crush on her,” says Jones. “Giving her breakfast, I was just speechless. She asked me a question and I blushed a whole new colour of red!”) and Robbie Williams (“I was in such awe, and so proud because he had seconds of my chicken dish,” remembers Carr-Ellison).
Fashion and food aren’t entities you’d automatically assume were a natural fit though, but Carr-Ellison is firm: “Everybody has to eat. We came into it just at the time when the idea of just drinking champagne and having a lettuce leaf was changing. People wanted to look good and feel good, and they needed energy throughout the day.”
Jones adds: “Food was always quite a depressing thing on shoots... It would either be a takeaway from around the corner, a cold sandwich, or these industrial pans of overcooked pasta bakes and salads that had been