In the Baltics, two worlds meet: the Baltic Sea joins Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, bringing with it culinary influences and cultural exchange. All three Baltic capitals—Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga—are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, steeped in history and culture. Amber & Rye explores this exciting part of Eastern Europe, guiding you around the capitals, sharing stories and discovering a dynamic, new style of cooking. Contextualized within the Baltics' rich history and culture, the food is a doorway to a deeper understanding of the region and what makes it tick. The recipes explore new culinary horizons, are grounded in Baltic tradition, yet inspired by contemporary trends, making them modern, unique and easy to recreate at home. And in addition to the recipes and travel stories, there are snippets of poetry, literature, songs and proverbs, adding a rich layer that makes Amber & Rye a cultural reference point for travellers as well as a showcase for the vibrant new cuisine of the Baltic states. Zuza Zak is the bestselling author of Polska: New Polish Cooking. Born in Poland, she now lives in the UK where she runs the Supper Club, A Slavic Tale.
Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey
Zuza Zak describes herself as a 'storyteller cook'. Her interest lies in the culture and history of food and she uses storytelling as a medium for delving into another cuisine and through its food and recipes, into another culture. Her debut cookbook Polska: New Polish Cooking achieved much success - published in six countries, it sold out after being chosen as one of the best cookbooks of 2016 on BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme. The Independent newspaper described Polska as "capturing the spirit of a nation". Zuza was born in Communist Poland in 1979 and came to the UK when she was 18. She worked in TV in the UK for 8 years and has started a supper club, A Slavic Tale.
Since publishing her book, Zuza has had regular appearances on Polish TV and radio and in the UK and the rest of Europe you can see her on Food Network Finds: Poland. She is also currently in talks with a UK production company about a food and culture related TV show, as well as running her regular supper clubs and events in the UK and Poland.
In October 2019, Zuza is starting a food-focussed PhD at the prestigious School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, where she will continue exploring East European food from a socio-cultural perspective, through the lens of a cultural anthropologist.