About Time You Met: Lorna Robertson, Co-Founder of Three Girls CookBy Alicia Grimshaw
Alison, Giovanna and Lorna are the trio behind Three Girls Cook. After appearing on our screens as MasterChef 2017 finalists, and all forming a firm friendship, the girls joined forces and founded Three Girls Cook. The ladies have been up and down the country, selling out supper clubs and making appearances at various food festivals (with plenty of exciting things lined up later this year). We sat down with Lorna Robertson to chat events, working together and what’s next:
Many will recognise you all from last year’s MasterChef, what have you been up to since then?
We’ve been doing all sorts! We started Three Girls Cook (along with Giovanna and Alison), and we’ve been running supper clubs which have been really fun and we’ve got to work in some amazing professional kitchens like The Bluebird, Craft and Brother Marcus. We’ve also been at a whole host of food festivals around the country which will start back up again in the summer and partnered with a selection of really cool brands. We’re all still working ‘real’ jobs alongside our new foodie jobs, so there’s not much sitting still…
How do you work as a trio? Do you all have your own roles in the group?
We actually work surprisingly well as a trio. They say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but we’ve found that the more the merrier! We all definitely bring different skills to the table; Giovanna is super organised and is great at the day-to-day admin that comes with running your own business. Her house has also turned into our unofficial headquarters due to her very cute cats and breakfast cooking skills. Alison is our executive chef and is amazing at coming up with deliciously original dishes, and she puts together ingredients that you wouldn’t usually expect and somehow makes then taste amazing. Finally, I work in food PR so I’m in charge of getting us lots of lovely coverage for our events.
You’ve notched up quite a number of supper clubs now, what have been some of the highlights?
I think our favourite couple of supper clubs to date have both been at brunch spot, Brother Marcus in Balham. The guys there are so great, the space is lovely and it’s very relaxed so we’ve been able to have a lot of fun with the menu. The first one we did with them had a junk food theme so we served boozy milkshakes, whole blooming onions, short ribs, fried pheasant and ALL the sides, finished off with a peanut butter cookie ice-cream sandwich. So much food! Then in February we did a one night only Valentine’s supper club especially for all the single ladies which was just incredible fun. One woman in her 60s turned up by herself and had the best time making lots of lovely new friends and eating all the food which was the whole spirit of the event!
How did the idea of Three Girls Cook first come about?
During MasterChef we all spent so much time together and became really great friends so when it finished, we didn’t want to stop seeing each other. We were initially planning on just doing one supper club together so we could all cook with each other, rather than against and it just snowballed from there really with a website and social media, etc. Coming up with a name actually was surprisingly tough; we were sat together in this dodgy pub in Soho trying to brainstorm names and came up with some truly awful suggestions. Three Girls, One Kitchen was a front runner for a while – try explaining that one to your mum…
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Individually we definitely have quite different styles; Giovanna has a strong Italian background which is reflected in her cooking, Alison is super creative and avant garde and I’m very classically British. Our supper clubs are an amalgamation of the three with little nods from each style. Fortunately they all seem to tie together rather well.
Do you come up with menu ideas individually or as a trio?
We’ve done a bit of both when it comes to menu planning. Giovanna definitely takes the reins on the dessert and very good she is too! Then with starter, main and canapes we usually have some collaborative initial ideas which are then expanded and developed individually. It’s a system which works quite nicely for us.
What person or place has inspired your cooking the most?
Lorna: I only moved to London in 2016 and since then have been so inspired by the food and restaurant culture in the city. There are so many incredible restaurants and people doing amazing things and I’m so lucky to live and work in such a great city.
Giovanna: My late Nonna – my grandmother on my mother’s side of the family. She was such an incredible person and had strong opinions on what makes great food!
Alison: My Argentinian uncle in Australia
Apart from you all meeting – what else did you take away from your time on MasterChef?
I think one of the big things we learnt was how to organise ourselves better in the kitchen and be more time efficient. You quickly learn that to get the maximum out of your time allowance you have to push yourself, and learn the tricks of the trade.
Your next event is a comedy/supper club night – what can people expect?
So this one we’re very excited about! It’s organised by an amazing company called Mam Sham who put on these incredible experiential events, combining food and comedy. Their next one is called Girl on Girl and we’re delighted to be in the kitchen providing the food for the night. There are three female comedians who will be entertaining the masses and we’ve created a special menu to match each set. Each of the comedians has woven a story about food into their set and we will be cooking a take on their dish or story. It will be kept a surprise until the night so that’s as much as we can tell you at the moment; you don’t want to ruin the punchline!
What does the rest of 2018 hold for Three Girls Cook?
The rest of 2018 is looking very busy for us all. We’re actually in the process of writing our debut cookbook which is extremely exciting. Because of that, a lot of writing and recipe testing is going on in our kitchens at home, as well as planning some more supper clubs and events. We’re all loving working together as a trio, so long may it continue!
Favourite restaurant in London is:
Lorna: SO tough to pick just one! Favs at the minute however are The Naughty Piglets, Tacos el Pastor & Daddy Bao
Giovanna: Naughty Piglets
Alison: Andrew Edmunds
Favourite place for a coffee in London is:
Lorna: I don’t really drink coffee, more about a juice! Joe & the Juice or Crush are both excellent.
Giovanna: Caravan, Exmouth Market
Alison: TY, Seven Dials