JACKSON & LEVINE ON DINNER PARTIES AND LIFE IN EAST LONDON
Hackney’s Jackson & Levine are redefining dinner parties for the 21st century, while still making waves in the media and fashion industries. Their new book, Round to Ours, is out now, full of top tips and secrets that transform you into the hostess with the mostest, even on a budget
With a brand new book launching this month, the two cool cats behind the Jackson & Levine Supper Club, Laura Jackson and Alice Levine, are just getting started. Founded four years ago after Jackson and Levine met at a jumble sale, their supper clubs that are centred on fun, friends and laid-back dining have become wildly popular – so naturally, a book was up next.
These two trailblazers had made names for themselves even before the conception of the Jackson & Levine brand, with Jackson launching onto our radars via E4’s Freshly Squeezed and Levine bringing us humour and wit on the popular podcast, My Dad Wrote A Porno. They both returned to our screens to host 2017’s BRIT Awards, with Levine hosting Backstage At The Brit Awards, which she loved every second of.
‘It was such a great event,’ she looks back. ‘There was a real buzz in the air and we have a lot of nominees on Radio 1 across the year for one reason or another, so really it felt like a reunion. We spoke to everyone from man of the moment Stormzy to Patron Saint of the Top 10, Ed Sheeran. You never know who is going to step onto the red carpet next.’
Thinking about the journey Levine has taken with her friends on My Dad Wrote A Porno, she adds: ‘Getting to make it with two of my best friends means that the show has never felt like work. Our first ever guest was Elijah Wood, which was pretty surreal at the time. Since then, we’ve been joined by Daisy Ridley, Michael Sheen and so many more insanely hilarious people! Selling out the Sydney Opera House has to be something we’ll never forget, and we’ll be playing there again on our Australian tour in August.’
Our first ever guest was Elijah Wood, which was pretty surreal at the time. Since then, we’ve been joined by Daisy Ridley, Michael Sheen and so many more insanely hilarious people!
The dinner connoisseur duo have each individually had their homes featured as part of Habitat’s #HabitatVoyeur initiative, both boasting similar styles – a quirky mix of old, new, something borrowed and something found. Jackson explains: ‘I have actually just moved from the flat that was featured on Habitat’s website, so I’m about to start the whole decorating process all over again.
‘It took years to get that flat how my boyfriend and I wanted because we just filled it with things that we had collected from our travels, eBay purchases and market buys. We kept it quite minimal and skandi, but our new house is clad in William Morris floral wallpaper, so it’s the polar opposite!’
With their new book, Round To Ours, just about to hit shelves, the pair mull over what they want readers to gain from it, with Levine stating: ‘The book was inspired by the supper clubs we’ve been running for the last four years. It carries the same ethos as we do, in terms of sourcing local interesting ingredients, foraging bits and pieces, and cooking up a feast for a large group. It’s basically all about bringing people together and challenging yourself as a cook. You don’t always want to spend ages putting on a grand spread, but when you do, let us help you! We’ve also included some secret tips on how to transform your space on a modest budget.’
The book contains 24 menus for easy entertaining at home. We’re aiming to inspire cooking pros and newbies alike
Jackson adds: ‘The book contains 24 menus for easy entertaining at home. We have some great advice on setting the mood and we give you our top store cupboard treat picks. We’re aiming to inspire cooking pros and newbies alike.’
Jackson’s affinity for all things food began at the bottom of a cake mix bowl. She loved whipping up muffin and cake feasts as a child, but her sweet tooth weakened as she got older and savoury food took over. ‘I think my tastes have adapted and therefore so has my cooking,’ she says.
With a vegetarian boyfriend, she doesn’t cook meat or fish at home, which has forced her to become creative with textures and flavours to keep things fresh. Levine on the other hand has a kitchen magician as a mother, who constantly encouraged her to try new things. She jokes that ‘fussy eaters wouldn’t have survived long. She was very focused on fresh ingredients and now has her own allotment where she grows literally everything. She introduced me to all the great food writers, everyone from Nigel Slater to Madhur Jaffrey’.
Hackney locals, each foodie half of Jackson & Levine loves venturing out in the local area with Jackson being a big fan of Broadway Market, Columbia Road, The George and FRAME for balancing out the food fun with working out. Levine is partial to stopping by Legs, My Neighbours The Dumplings, as well as Uchi and hops on a Boris Bike to keep fit and clear her head.
The pair will be appearing at food festivals throughout the summer to promote their new book and even have a homeware range with Habitat set to drop soon too – Levine is particularly excited about the Apron, which you can also wear as a dress. Serving as a go to dinner party bible for those that aren’t able to secure a place at their coveted supper club, or who just want to try their hand at hosting themselves, ‘Round To Ours’ is an everyman’s guide to putting on a spectacle without losing your hair and breaking the bank from the hostesses with mostest.
‘Round To Ours’ will launch on 18 May, published by Quadrille and available for pre-order on Amazon