Jennifer McLagan is one of Canada’s most sought-after food stylists. In recent years, she has also developed a second and parallel career as a widely read food journalist and cookbook author, which allows her to work sitting down.
Australian by birth, McLagan left behind a degree in economics and politics early on in order to train in the food business. She began her professional life in the kitchens of the old Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne. Work as a chef soon took her from Australia to England, where she practiced her trade at Prue Leith’s highly regarded restaurant in London and then in the kitchens of Winfield House, home of the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James. Love and marriage brought on yet another long-distance move — this time to Canada, where she has lived with her sculptor husband, Haralds Gaikis, for the past 29 winters.
A Proustian moment with a plate of bones in Paris inspired the subject for her first book, Bones. In this book, Jennifer embarked on a singular mission to bring back the bold flavours of cooking with bones. In addition to being a useful and informative cookbook, Bones is immensely readable, filled with fascinating historical facts, traditions and lore, it is valuable as a work of reference. Published as Cooking on the Bone in the UK 2006, by Grub Street, Bones has received much critical and popular acclaim. It won the James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook in 2006, the U.S winner in the Gourmand World Cookbook Award, and was a finalist in the IACP cookbook awards. The book was the subject of a New York Times Dining and Wine section front-page feature.
Jennifer’s second book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes Ten Speed Press (USA) / McClelland & Stewart (Canada) 2008 was also published in the UK 2009 by Jacqui Small. Fat was the first book to be featured on Mark Bittman’s New York Times blog, inspiring many readers to write odes and haiku to bacon. Fat won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Cookbook Cover, the Silver Sprout Award, and both the IACP and James Beard Awards for Best Single Subject Cookbook in 2009. It was also named The Best Cookbook of the Year 2009 by the Beard Foundation.
In 2007, Jennifer was a presenter at the highly prestigious Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Master Class Series and has been a frequent presenter at the Epicurean Classic in Michigan. She is a regular contributor to Food & Drink, Fine Cooking and The County Grapevine magazines and is a regular guest on the Australian radio show, Overnights with Trevor Chappell.
Jennifer is hard at work on her third book dividing her time between Toronto and Paris. On both sides of the Atlantic, she maintains a close friendly relationship with her butchers, who put aside their best bones and fat for her.
She has a website and perhaps more au courant a blog that she tries hard update often.
Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes
Morrow Cookbook, Harper Collins,
McClelland & Stewart,
Ten Speed Press
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