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Kitchenorium at TEDxLeam: My Video

My Video

Now available to view on YouTube, so without further ado, here it is:


Here is a transcript of the spoken parts:

Kitchenorium is my home-based pop-up restaurant, and it developed out of my love of hosting dinner parties. What happens is my dinner guests book online beforehand, and I prepare a set menu for them. As our guests arrive, we like to offer them some nibbles, so this evening we’re having some nice big juicy green olives drizzled with a little olive oil.

Since we moved in here I’ve been, or we, including Joel, have been doing quite big dinner parties for local friends, and over the years they got bigger and with more adventurous menus as I grew in confidence. We were thinking about how could we turn it into something more…?

The website WeFiFo came along which is the site I use for my ticket sales, and that gave us the back-up to feel that we could actually give it a go and turn it into something.

I think we’ve served something in the region of 275 meals (as at October 2017). We do have a core of regulars who’ve been several times so the actual number of people I’m not sure of.

When we first bought this house all the walls were still up, so we came in and took out the walls, knocked through the living/dining area. I had a plan for the kitchen – how it would go. Joel made a comment at the time about how the kitchen was basically taking over the whole of the ground floor and coined the term Kitchenorium, so when we came to do this, and set it up, that just seemed like the right name.

A lot of people ask if it’s a bit strange having people you don’t know come into your house, but it’s not really. Once they’ve come through your door and sat down at your table they’re almost instantly friends really. It’s really nice, it’s part of what I really enjoy about throwing dinner parties for large groups of people – the chit chat, the camaraderie of everyone.

“Hello everybody, welcome to Kitchenorium this evening. Thank you very much for coming. I hope everyone is comfy, we’ve got extra cushions over here if you need one. I’m just going to run through the menu for you – we’ve got chicken cacciatore with rosemary potatoes, and for dessert we have a ricotta cheesecake with butterscotch sauce. There’s water on the table, glasses, and if you have any bottles of wine with you, we can open those for you. If you need anything else at all just let me know. Oh, and the felt-tipped pens there are for doodling on the table cloths!”

I try to keep a very informal feeling to things – I don’t like formality in restaurants! Sitting together at one or two big tables is quite different from your normal restaurant experience anyway, meeting people that you wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise, and generally everyone is very polite.

The reviewing on the website – when you come to review us, it asks ‘How was your host?’ and we have one guest who comes quite often, who takes that very, very literally and just puts ‘Well’, as in I was well on the evening, but that’s not really what it’s asking!

I love cooking, and I love cooking for others, and I really do love having people come round to eat my food – I don’t know how else to put it, I just love doing it!

Further information about TEDxLeam:-

Kitchenorium at TEDxLeam: The Event

TEDxLeam letters

Doors Open

The doors of the Parish Church opened up at 11am, and TEDx Leamington Spa 2017 officially got underway. There were wristbands to put on, goody bags to enjoy, self-service tea and coffee, as well as a key on every seat, only one of which would unlock a box containing a special prize.


Joel and I enjoyed our salads provided by the Saxon Mill, a destination gastro-pub in nearby Warwick, and then we settled ourselves into a spot on the balcony before the talks began.

TEDxLeam stage

View from the balcony

Session 1

Introductions by Alan Heap, our compere for the day, and Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington.

Talk 1: ‘Living in harmony with your smartphone’ by Ross Sleight

Talk 2: ‘Why does that refugee have a mobile phone?’ by Amrit Singh

Talk 3: ‘Life lessons from 30 years in Hollywood’ by Marie Rowe

Talk 4: ‘Embracing restlessness’ by Simon Parker

Video from the TED archives ‘How we can eat our landscapes’ by Pam Warhurst:

Session 2

After a quick break and a little cake from Sweet As, a local cake shop specialising in chocolate, a friend helped us find seats at the back of the hall, and the talks continued.

Talk 5: ‘Homelessness – it’s time to lose the label’ a panel discussion with Lianne Kirkman of Helping Hands, Cheryl Prince of Seemia Theatre and Ellie House of Kairos WWT

Talk 6: ‘Superman was a foster child’ by Satwinder Sandhu

Talk 7: ‘How to let go of your past’ by David Bentley

Talk 8: ‘My best friend at nursery is 80 years old’ by Melrose Stewart

Session 3

After another break, this time catered by by Nana’s Japanese Cafe (although we weren’t quick enough to taste the sushi as it disappeared in a flash), and during which my nerves started to set in, we found seats with a group of friends at the front of the hall near the stage.

Talk 9: ‘Home is who we are’ by Ruhi Hamid 

Talk 10: ‘Apathy, the refugee crisis and how we can make a difference’ by Yasmin Autwal

Talk 11: ‘How to turn you home into a pop-up restaurant’ – my video!

Tweet on screen 2

Tweet on screen

Talk 12: ‘The power of the flower’ by Sarah Horne


There were poetry readings by Gwyneth Box and background music by Morocco Dave throughout the day.

Altum Schema, Joe Dolman and The Ellipsis gave live performances, and there was a video from Deluka giving an insight into this track:

After Party

Following the wrap-up of TEDx Leamington Spa 2017, we de-camped to Zou Bisou, an indepenent cafe on Regent Court, for the after party.

There were refreshments aplenty – beer from Church Farm Brewery, wine courtesy of Underwood Wines and a delicious selection of pizza provided by Birtelli’s.

Live musical performances continued through the evening, including some extremely accomplished kareoke and open mic sessions including some awesome rapping by Ross Sleight and beat-boxing by David Bentley.

Further information about TEDxLeam:-

Kitchenorium at TEDxLeam: The Preparation

July 2017

At the Small Business Connect-Up held in the Chase Meadow Community Centre, I was chatting with Linda from Linda Scannell Photography and she told me about the upcoming TEDx Leamington Spa.

When she mentioned that the theme this year would be ‘Home’, I knew right away what my talk would be: ‘How to turn your home into a pop-up restaurant’.

This was immediately followed by something along the lines of ‘A TED talk? Oh, but I couldn’t possibly do that!’, until the following day…

At the Leamington Hour Live networking group Kimberley and Craig, two of the organisers in charge of TEDx Leamington Spa, gave a talk all about this year’s event.

They explained that the application process was to submit a video describing the subject of your talk in 20 words or less, and the deadline was only a few days away!

As soon as I got home from this event, before I could loose my nerve, I asked Joel to film me on my phone presenting my idea from our kitchen, and the following day I submitted my application:

August 2017

When the feedback email arrived in my mailbox I could see the first few words of the text: ‘After reviewing all the applications…’ and I thought to myself ‘Oh, that’s a no, isn’t it?’, so I was even more surprised and delighted when I opened the email to find that I had been accepted as a speaker!

Of course, I couldn’t tell anyone until it was officially announced. It was only a matter of weeks but it seemed like ages. In the meantime, I provided my written bio and two photos, as well as some video footage taken at Kitchenorium by a friend earlier in the year:

September 2017

Hooray! In early September my Speaker Announcement went out on social media. Here is how it looked on Facebook:

TEDxLeam Announce

As the subject of my talk ‘How to turn your home into a pop-up restaurant’ is based on the social dining events which we host at our home in Leamington Spa, it was decided that my talk would be filmed in advance at a specially organised Kitchenorium event.

In preparation for being filmed, I attempted the 10 day video challenge set by Gary from Leamington Hour. The idea was to record a short video everyday for ten days and post them on social media. I managed to do seven videos and they weren’t on consecutive days, but it did help me to feel more confident when the film crew arrived at our TEDx Leamington Spa event. Here is my favourite of the seven:

October 2017

After weeks of planning and anticipation, the day of filming arrived, along with some nervousness!

The house filled up with eight specially invited dinner guests and six members of the filming team. We served a two course Italian menu with vegetarian option, and it was all caught on camera:

TEDxLeam Filming 

Just a few days later it was the Speaker Mixer – an opportunity to get together with the other speakers, performers, organisers, speaker coaches and volunteers. There was a bring-and-share buffet so I took along some of my famous chocolate brownies:


November 2017

Two weeks before the big day, the Dress Rehearsal was held in the event venue, and this was my first chance to see the video which had been edited from all that footage into a 5 minute documentary. It was an odd feeling watching myself up on a big screen, but also exhilarating!

Inspired by the ‘Home’ exhibition at local art gallery Slate, held in conjunction with TEDx Leamington Spa, I recorded a few videos on the topic of #HomeIsWhereTheArtIs and here is my favourite of these:

During the last 24 hours before the big day I was occupied with printing and folding Kitchenorium flyers to go into the event goody bags, and then helping out with filling the goody bags full of fabulous stuff:

Hoody bags.PNG

Further information about TEDxLeam:-