What is the Clore Fellowship? As the world changes, so do the needs of the…
In 2017 Free Space Project exhibited the moving work of Celine Marchbank in our exhibition ‘My Mother’s Daughter’. Celine has just launched a Kickstarter to fund her latest book ‘A Stranger in My Mother’s Kitchen’. Please help support this amazing project by sharing or donating!
‘I’m not quite sure what or who this stranger is. Is it who she became through her illness? Is it the cancer that eventually killed her? Is it me, left standing in my mother’s kitchen. Or is it the grief, this unfamiliar feeling I haven’t met before.
My mother Sue Miles died in 2010, after her death I started to clear her house, sorting through everything she had left behind. As I stood staring at the boxes in her home, still in a state of shock, I started to discover her recipes, beautiful handwritten notes.
My mother had been a head-chef for 40 years; described in her obituary in The Guardian newspaper as ‘the doyenne of the British restaurant revolution’. She was also one of the first female head chefs in Britain to run her own restaurant. I felt a strong need to do something with all this, for her and for myself. Food was at the centre of our relationship, she taught me so much, but there was so much more we hadn’t got round to, her illness took that away. I wanted to feel that warm feeling you get when you eat your mother’s food, that feeling of being nurtured and cared for. So I used her recipes to cook her food. I taught myself the things we hadn’t got around to, and I photographed the process. The plates of food were haunted by memories, good and sad, the smells took me back to moments we shared like nothing else, but the more I did it, the more I felt closer to her.’ Celine Marchbank