CLEW talks to Luxembourgers abroad. Meet Anne Faber – a (food) journalist and cookbook author with her own cooking TV show. Anne has – among many other things – eaten her way through London for a living.
1. When did you move away from Luxembourg, whereto and why?
I left Luxembourg to pursue my studies in the UK – that was 11 years ago. I first spent 3 years in Canterbury, where I read English and American Literature and Film Studies. Then, I moved to London and did an MA in Literature at UCL, followed by a postgraduate degree in TV Current Affairs Journalism at City University. During that time I got recruited by AP (Associated Press), which kick-started my career in journalism. I’ve always loved cooking and eating, so I decided to steer my career towards food journalism, which got me a job as a restaurant critic at Time Out. Eating my way around London was a dream come true. I wrote my first cookbook ‘Anne’s Kitchen’ in 2013, focusing on British cuisine. It was published by the Luxembourgish publisher Editions Schortgen. Parallel to that I produced my own cooking TV show, which is now airing in its second season on RTL Télé Letzebuerg.
2. What do you miss the most and the least from Luxembourg?
I miss how easy it is to get a restaurant reservation in Luxembourg! In London you often have to book weeks in advance, going for a spontaneous meal is often quite hard in that way. Also, I miss the ‘quietness’. London crowds are very intense and stressful. What I miss the least is the shop opening times – in London I often do my shopping on Sundays, and to be able to do your food shopping late in the evening is quite handy too.
3. What do you appreciate most and least about your new country?
The thing I really appreciate about London is that you have everything possibly imaginable at your doorstep. For me, the food in this city is such a huge inspiration: authentic restaurants cooking world foods, obscure ingredients, and a huge variety of streetfood – London is an amazing foodie wonderland. Whenever I come home to Luxembourg I realize again how lucky I am to have access to such a huge range of authentic world cuisines in London. The other thing I appreciate is how openminded Britain is. There are so many cultures living here, it’s a true melting pot. It’s a shame to witness the government’s increasing tightening of immigration laws, as this variety of cultures is what makes Britain truly amazing.
4. What was the biggest challenge / change for you moving to a different country?
Initially the obvious things: driving on the left side, the different currency, the subtle cultural differences. Now that I’ve been here for 11 years, I feel half British and most has become second nature. My greatest challenge at the moment is dividing my work between Luxembourg and London – working with different currencies and tax systems.
5. How often do you come back to Luxembourg and have you considered coming back for good?
I do come back a lot at the moment to promote my second cookbook. We have a lot of book signing sessions scheduled ahead of Xmas, so I’m at home nearly every weekend. I am also a judge in the TV show Mastercook (Luxembourg’s answer to Masterchef) – for which I have to fly to Luxembourg every weekend in December and January. I also have got quite a few projects planned in Luxembourg for next year, so you’ll be seeing more of me. I think I’ll stay in London for a while. It’s so easy to jump on a plane and fly home for a few days that I feel like I’ve never truly left anyway.
6. In what other ways do you keep in touch with Luxembourg?
I watch RTL and I read wort.lu on a regular basis. My family still lives in Luxembourg, so they often tell me what’s going on in the country.
7. A shout out to (somebody in) Luxembourg?
My friend Marc Laroche of 101 Studios.
Anne’s Website: http://anneskitchen.co.uk/
Anne’s new book: http://amzn.to/1w89sly
Anne Faber, interviewed by Unni Holtedahl, October 2014