Ben Ebbrell, an internet cooking star, hit author and former UCB student, has bigged up the benefits of reading whilst sharing his favourite page turners for World Book Day.
The 30-year-old, who founded whacky YouTube channel SORTEDfood with a group of mates and now has 1.8 million subscribers, said reading food-focused books was a passion.
“Cookbooks are one thing, very functional, but I also love reading food-related books that may have recipes in them, but are primarily to be enjoyed cover to cover,” said Ben, who actively supports budding chefs, judging the 2018 UCB Young Chef of the Year alongside Michelin-starred chef Glyn Purnell and appearing as a guest speaker at UCB open days.
“Understanding where our food comes from, how we interact with it and how it’s shaped us is a fascinating journey, and reading up on this in the engaging way that authors write rather than just using Wikipedia page references - which I also strongly believe have their place - draws you into the story-telling and you absorb and remember so much more of it.
“It might not be relevant now or immediately, but it helps shapes your own thoughts and opinions on food, cooking and similar convos in the months and years that follow.
“My favourite author at the moment is Michael Pollan and particularly love Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and Food Rules, but whatever your passions and interests, get yourself a book and get stuck in!”
Ben’s food for thought follows the release of SORTEDfood’s Desserts in Duvets cookbook, which, quite uniquely, was self-published thanks to a crowdfunding effort on Kickstarter. The book surpassed its £20,000 goal just four days into the month-long campaign and finally received a whopping £40,845, with the names of those pledging £5 or more listed in the club member's section at the back of the book.
“Desserts in Duvets was funded, shaped and created with and for our online community,” said Ben, who was listed 4th as part of SORTEDfood in The Guardian’s ‘30 Under 30: The Top Young People in Digital Media’ in 2014.
“We love this concept of getting loads of people involved, which is so much more celebratory and special for a physical book. It’s been such a huge success.”
SORTEDfood’s first forays into writing and self-publishing cookbooks were A Recipe for Student Survival and A Rookies Guide to Crackin' Cooking, available in the UCB libraries.