Anna Jones Confesses to Owning a Thousand Cookbooks and Discusses Working with Jamie Oliver and her Commitment to Vegetarianism


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It’s the meeting of the two Annas today as Barnett meets Jones in the new episode of The Filling

podcast. Speaking from her newly renovated Hackney home, chef, food writer and stylist Anna Jones

weaves her journey from an Economics degree to chef training and working at Jamie Oliver’s 15

restaurant, to writing her first published recipes and cookbooks incorporating her commitment to

vegetarianism. A prolific recipe writer (as well as cookbook and ceramics collector) Anna Jones also

takes us to working in Europe and the intimidation of cooking pasta for Italian chefs, and living in

California where she professes a love for their democratic way of eating. We also get the ultimate

egg mayonnaise sandwich recipe – but does she really prefer vegenaise?


15:20 – 19:25) After obtaining an Economics degree and setting out in finance, Anna Jones realised

she had a different life calling. Here she details what prompted the move into cooking and her first

steps to a new career.

19:30 – 22:30) Anna Jones has some enlightening stories to tell from her time training and working

at Jamie’s Oliver’s 15 restaurant. Here she recounts meeting some interesting diners including Prince

Charles, Brad Pitt, and Bill Clinton.

34:50 – 36:40) While working with Jamie Oliver Anna Jones was offered a book deal. Here she

explains how this provided an opportunity to explore branching out on her own.

36:50 – 39:40) At a time when the fashion for restaurants was ‘nose-to-tail’ dining, Anna Jones was

exploring how to create more inventive vegetarian food - a scary time, she admits, for a new chef.

42:50 – 47:00) Sustainability, food waste, plastic reduction are all burning concerns, and here Anna

Jones talks through her One Change campaign to encouraging people to make regular small changes

to their shopping and cooking habits.

57:00 – 59:00) Spending her formative years in California has instilled in Anna Jones a love for the

food there and a ‘democratic’ way of eating. Here she explains how plant-based menus are on par

with meat and fish dishes.


“It’s taken me 40 years to realise that having way less stuff is way less stressful.” Anna Jones

“If you’re the future king you can ask for whatever you want.” Anna Jones

“Jamie Oliver is the busiest man I’ve ever known.” Anna Jones

“Putting vegetables at the centre of your diet is the biggest thing you can do for the planet, and it’s

the most joyous decision I made.” Anna Jones

“My brother was a vegan when the only thing you could get was a Nando’s bean burger.” Anna


“My brother says I only eat food so I can put condiments on it.” Anna Jones

“Focaccia, butter, and mayonnaise – triple oil threat.” Anna Barnett



Anna Jones is a cook, writer, the voice of modern vegetarian cooking and the author of the

bestselling A Modern Way to Eat, A Modern Way to Cook, The Modern Cook’s Year, and most

recently, One. Her books are sold in ten countries and have been translated into five languages. The

Modern Cook’s Year won the coveted Observer Food Monthly Best New Cookbook Award and The

Guild of Food Writers Cookery Book Award. Her previous books have been nominated for the James

Beard, Fortnum & Mason and André Simon awards. Anna believes that vegetables should be put at

the centre of every table, and is led by the joy of food and its ability to affect change in our daily

lives. She lives in Hackney, East London, with her husband and young son.

Instagram: @we_are_food


Anna Barnett displayed an enthusiastic interest in food, cooking (and especially eating) early in life;

eagerly joining her nan in the kitchen to observe and learn the traditional baking, ingredients, and

recipe techniques that would prove to serve her in the future. After several years working in TV

production and fashion, Anna’s natural culinary passion and energy led to a series of supper clubs,

pop-up restaurants, and professional catering. Subsequently, Anna released her debut cookery book

‘Eat the Week’ in 2015 and spent several years writing ‘The Reluctant Vegetarian’ blog for The

Independent newspaper as well as contributing to Vogue. For over a year and a half Anna wrote the

food pages for Grazia magazine, and now has a column writing for The Evening Standard online

where she shares recipes and food and travel recommendations, as well as interviewing some of the

world’s most eminent chefs.

Instagram: @annabarnettcooks