Interview with Lizzie Mabbott from Hollow Legs

This week we've had a moment to catch up with one of our favourite bloggers and culinary adventurers; Lizzie Mabbott from Hollow Legs. As we at the school are preparing for her hugely anticipated sold out supper club to launch of her first book; Chinatown Kitchen, AND her additional supper club launch on 16th April , we wanted to know more about what inspired her to take to the internet- capturing her travels, exploration of her cultural heritage via her kitchen experiments, and her discovery of some delicious hidden gems whilst eating her way around London and beyond.

How our interview went:

What inspired you to start your own blog? How did you decide what to write about?

LM: I wanted to learn how to cook all the food I missed from the motherland, Hong Kong. I was trying out different recipes and amalgamating the ones I found, and I wanted a place to record all my findings. I had no set structure as to what to write about - the beginning of the blog was the beginning of my cooking education, so I felt that everything was worth recording. (Anyone who has had a blog for a number of years will tell you how cringe-inducing those first posts read, now!)

Since starting your blog; Hollow Legs, it's gained a lot of traction and popularity. Has this changed how you write or what you decide to share?

LM: I'd like to think it hasn't; I always wrote the blog as a hobby, something I like to do for myself rather than something I do for other people, which is why I also never allowed advertising. One thing I try to avoid doing is apologising for not posting more - we all have busy lives, and no one begrudges a little space in between posts. I am conscious of what may or may not be interesting to a reader. I probably wouldn't write about something like cheese on toast on those grounds.

How was writing your book; Chinatown Kitchen, different from writing for Hollow Legs? How was it similar?

LM: It was completely different. You can't just waffle on in a book; you need structure and discipline. I also had deadlines to meet. It was similar in as much as my publisher was keen to retain my tone of voice, so I was given a lot of freedom with writing it too.

You seem to dine out pretty frequently. Do you think the London food scene has changed since you started your blog?

LM: Absolutely; it used to be hard to find good London restaurants. A few years ago if you wanted a decent meal you would need to either do a fair bit of research, or pay quite a lot for it. It's now more democratic, more available for the masses, in both the surging trend of "no reservations", and casual, cheaper options. Londoners vote with their feet - if somewhere is crap, they simply won't go.

You also seem to prioritise traveling. Why is traveling important to you? What has been one of your most memorable experiences whilst traveling?

LM: Travelling is hugely important to me. Experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and seeing the world is something I love deeply; I constantly have itchy feet. It's the adventure I love - you also discover things about yourself that you weren't aware of; what makes you uncomfortable and what you unexpectedly enjoy. Most recently, I climbed to the top of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia - it was the hardest thing I've ever, ever done. But even simpler things are so memorable, like a plump anchovy on top of a slice of bread in a back room bar in Seville, or eating fish and chips on a pier in Cornwall.

What is your middle of the week go-to dish?

LM: Noodles. Sometimes I work long hours, so all I can be bothered to do is cook some noodles, add some vegetables, maybe a fried egg and that's dinner in less than 20 minutes.

What chef dead or alive, real or fictional would you want most to cook with?

LM: I'm a huge fan of Fuschia Dunlop. Her book, Sichuan Cookery, is one I still use the most.

Last meal on earth?<.h4>

I imagine my answer to this question would change every day, but today? Roast duck ho fun noodle soup. Preferably from Gold Mine, in Queensway. Washed down with a gin martini and a fistful of valium, since I'd be not long for this world...

Visit the Hollow Legs website

Be sure to check out Lizzie Mabbott's culinary food blog for tips and delicious recipes, here!