A self-styled theatre chef hopes his new book combining a baking class with migrants stories will be a recipe for success.
When the pandemic forced Leo Burtin to cancel his show tour – with bread – commissioned by Lancaster Arts, he decided to produce a book about it instead.
And as banana bread recipes have been revealed as one of the top Google searches for 2021, his timing is perfect.
Just like the show, the book celebrates the place where the history of bread meets individual and personal histories of migrants living in Greater Manchester, Leeds and Stockton-on-Tees. It is a celebration of diversity, difference and community.
In the live performance the audience would have taken part in making flatbreads to be served, along with a seasonal stew, at the end of the evening. In the book these stories are combined with a recipe for pain azyme to allow the reader to recreate the bread that would have been made in the show.
“Bread is a powerful starting point for a writer,” said Leo, an artist, writer and creative producer based for many years in Lancaster.
“It is such a simple food, and yet it hides so many rich stories. I love that everyone I meet has something to say about it too, and I can’t wait to hear what the readers will have to share.”
In a combination of script from the original show and personal stories by guest artists told in poetry, prose and pictures, with bread traces the journey of this staple and symbolic food from prehistory to Brexit Britain, via biblical times and the Arab Spring.
Leo said: “When the pandemic forced us to stop the show tour in its tracks, we knew it would be impossible to move such an interactive and intimate experience online. Instead, we took our time and created a publication that reflects what we wanted to do with the show: to bring people together over food to have complicated conversations.”
with bread is available directly from leoburtin.eu/shop/ or from all major retailers. The hardback costs £15 and the paperback is priced £7.