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Nick Renn

Meet Nick Renn, Head Chef at The Dusty Knuckle in Haringey. Nick recently hosted guests at the Museum with a mouthwatering four-course vegetarian supper club, highlighting the best of British and European produce.

Nick Renn 2

Tell us a little bit about your practice…

Currently I’m Head Chef at The Dusty Knuckle in Haringey and I occasionally do the odd private event, either for myself, like the one at the Museum or for private individuals.

The private events give me a bit of space to cook the food I enjoy and for the reasons I enjoy. I haven’t been cooking professionally for very long, but I have learnt a lot about what I think is important, and this is an opportunity to explore that.

What does Home mean to you?

I lived overseas for a long time and I have never really identified as British or English. I don’t really care for it, beyond feeling extremely privileged to have been born in the country I was and as such had the opportunities I have.

Home for me is North London and specifically Hackney. It’s the place where the friends who you see every few years are still you best friends, where things change but parts always remain the same, be it the salt beef bagels on Stokey High St or Guinness in the Auld Shill, Ridley Road Market or Pepper & Spice in Dalston.

How does your own idea of home inform the food you make and the events you run?

I’m not nationalistic in the slightest, but, I think it’s a terrible shame that we don’t eat more British food, and by that I mean ingredients. We grow great food here year round, even the hunger gap isn’t really a thing with the diversity of crops we now have. So home and food for me are using what is on your doorstep. Stop eating tomato’s in winter and begging for peas at the first sign of spring, weirdly they haven’t quite had the chance to pop out yet.

Its thinking about who grows or makes the food I cook, who profits from it, and what impact it has. Everything is delicious if its given a little love.

"On a personal level home for me is where ever I’m living and can cook dinner, be for one or ten. I’ll take a kitchen over a living room any day of the week."
- Nick Renn


What are your impressions of Museum of the Home and its collections?

I haven’t been to the Museum since I was a kid in Hackney 25 years ago so I’m sure it's changed a bunch but I like the idea of showing change through time and how we are in a constant evolution. It gives you hope that we will continue to evolve and end up back on a more community focused path in the not to distant future.

The Museum is currently running a campaign to tackle food inequality as part of their Campaign for Change. In what way do you think the Museum is suited to raise awareness around this issue?

Through access to children and their parents. We need to, as a community, do whatever we can to combat the neo-liberal capitalist agenda that has been peddled by successive governments since the 80s. Children today are the products of parents who are the first to really grow up without home economics in schools, where supermarkets are where you shop and the narrative has consistently been cheaper and faster.

And as a Museum who interacts with those parents and children about the home, what better place to share info, run courses and classes, and attempt to break that cycle.

Countertalk: Home Cooking Series

We've hosted some exciting independent chefs with events making creative use of our spaces. Our Home Cooking series explores some of these chefs and the brilliant ideas they've brought to the Museum.