• SWEET DREAMS: Baker Ruby Tandoh takes over Factory+ as Editor in Residence

SWEET DREAMS: Baker Ruby Tandoh takes over Factory+ as Editor in Residence

28 June 2024 by Rhiannon Ingle

British baker, columnist, cookbook author, and runner-up on series four of BBC's The Great British Bake Off back in 2013, Ruby Tandoh, has taken over Factory+ to uncover the alternate realities of food, inspired by their blockbuster summer show, Sweet Dreams.

All about bridging the past, present, future and virtual worlds, the celebrated food and culture writer explores our food ecosystems with her essays covering the past, present, future and virtual worlds of food. 

Ruby has commissioned five exciting voices including artist Alice Bucknell, historian Diane Purkiss, author Olivia Sudjic to ask: what if we thought about our food systems in a different way?

From encountering food in video games to uncovering how chicken came to be Britain's favourite meat, each essay scratches beneath the surface of what we think we know about food. 

She writes in her Editor's letter: "When I started writing about food, this personal side of food was as far as I went. I drew a line between systems (opaque, difficult, vast) and the evocative terrain of appetite (sensual, poignant, fun). It took time for me to realise that these things are one and the same. Instead of thinking about people and systems as at odds, now I think of them joined in a single, vast ecosystem – one shaped by market forces but animated by desire. When I was asked to curate this project, I knew the essays had to connect these different sides of food, and map our desires in a bigger cultural matrix.

"It was important to me, and maybe hypocritical, that the essayists here wouldn’t all be food writers. There are some who have covered politics, culture and art. We have a historian who has written about the tangled social and political forces behind English food. There is an artist who creates virtual realities, navigated like games, to help us make sense of the future. Another writer is a novelist who finds ways to build online cultures into the analogue business of words. These writers, like anyone, have their own idiosyncrasies and appetites, and sometimes knotty relationships with food. They also have a perspective beyond The Scene."

Ruby rounded off: "At the centre of this whole project, two words: what if. Each of the writers here has returned to these words in one way or another. What if takes us away from the real and into the more expansive horizons of the counterfactual. What if things in our food system aren’t what they seem? What if we tried something different, or at least looked at things in some other way? What could these systems look and feel like in an imagined food future? What if is the beginning of a different kind of conversation."

The food writer's work has previously been featured in the New Yorkerthe GuardianEaterVittles and many more.

Find out more here.

Image credit: Eva Pentel