I'll Bake with Liberty Mendez
We love hosting events at Oh La La! Macarons. Our bright studio space is the perfect location for food and drink workshops, photoshoots and… book launches. We were so delighted to host the launch cook book, I’ll Bake written by our good friend Liberty Mendez.
We asked Anna Roth to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about her journey and how it feels to be publishing her first book.
Savouring the Sweet Moments: Book Launch of I'll Bake at Oh La La! Macarons
The air was filled with the smell of baked goods and excitement as the Oh La La! event space became the setting of Liberty Mendez’s book launch of I’ll Bake. This month friends and family of Liberty were able to gather in the space to celebrate the culmination of her culinary journey and the launch of her first remarkable cookbook full of baking recipes.
Liberty Mendez has been an avid supporter of Oh La La! Macarons as she helped us to develop our Pickle Afternoon Tea menu for The Delight Project’s pop up of the World's First Pickle Afternoon Tea. We were thrilled she wanted to gather in our space. We had the chance to sit down with Liberty ahead of her book launch to discuss her journey.
A trained chef, freelance food writer, food stylist, and more, Liberty Mendez's career has traversed a diverse culinary landscape. From her early days as a chef in renowned 5-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, to her role as a recipe creator and food content contributor for BBC Good Food, and even collaborations with esteemed platforms such as the Great British Bake Off, Channel 4, and Sorted Food, Liberty's journey is nothing short of inspiring.
Most people say they want to write a book, but it is a small few who actually get to see that dream come to fruition. For Liberty, I’ll Bake has been a three year endeavor and it stands as a testament to her dedication, creativity, and determination to make this dream a reality.
As a ghost writer, Liberty is excited to have a book out there with her name on it. She also found joy in the freedom of working on this project. “I’m usually given a very strict brief with guidelines when coming up with recipes,” said Liberty, “It's been so nice to do something on my own with the freedom to do what I want.”
In the sea of cookbooks that grace kitchen shelves, Liberty was driven to ensure I'll Bake stands out distinctively. Her aim? To strike the perfect balance between approachable recipes and innovative creations that can't be stumbled upon online.
Many of the recipes in I'll Bake are very personal to Liberty as an array of recipes inspired by her family and friends fill the pages. There are many Austrian-inspired recipes from her Grandfather, notably the fruit cake, and a nod to her mother who is always making banana bread.
Another unique aspect of I’ll Bake is the inclusion of links to Spotify playlists at the beginning of each chapter. Liberty emphasized that the stress that accompanies hosting dinner parties, or just having people over often leaves hosts scrambling last minute for a choice of music. Liberty has helped to put readers at ease and set the tone for the bake with a curated set of playlists that can fit any mood from more chilled tracks to kitchen dance parties. “I tried to do my best to include a little bit of everything,” says Liberty, “I genuinely think that there is something in there for everyone.”
For Liberty, music and baking form a harmonious duo. Listening to music while baking enables her to immerse herself in the task at hand while enhancing the mood of her creations. When asked what her favorite artists were to bake to she said for a more chilled bake she enjoys the artist Laufey and for more upbeat vibes she likes Vulfpeck.
When Meredith O’Shaughnessy, Founder and Creative Director of The Delight Project came up with the idea for a Pickle Afternoon Tea pop-up, she knew that Liberty could help develop the menu.
Liberty was a pickle-hater for the majority of her life until she recently came to her senses. “The pickle pop-up was honestly one of the highlights of my year!”
For a layman, it might seem like coming up with recipes – particularly sweet ones – that have pickles in them would be challenging, but for Mendez, it made a lot of sense. “The vinegar actually plays a really nice part in counterbalancing the sweetness,” says Mendez, “Meredith was onto a winner.”
Her favorite creation was a pineapple sponge cake with candied gherkins on top. The mix of the sweetness of the pineapple with the sour and salty candied pickle made it a crowd favorite as well.
A Lifelong Journey
Liberty’s passion for cooking traces back to childhood, fueled by her penchant for shows like Masterchef and also her grandmother. At just ten years old, Liberty’s specialty dish was focaccia. I’ll Bake features a more elevated focaccia recipe, the delicious sounding “Cheese, Chive and Chilli Focaccia” reflecting her growth and evolving palate.
Among her many accomplishments, Liberty takes immense pride in the completion of I’ll Bake.
“The amount of work, time, effort, and energy that it’s taken to do this– three years, is just mad to actually see it happen,” says Liberty, “And I didn't actually think about people cooking from it. I got a message from someone the other day saying they used a recipe from it and I was like — ’Oh my god!’ I’m really proud of the recipes. I think they are unique and special. I don’t want people to be scared of baking. Baking isn’t supposed to be scary.”
As her book emerges as a beacon of inspiration, Liberty hopes to empower budding bakers and dispel any fear associated with the art. Through her culinary journey, she reminds us all that dreams can be realized with perseverance, hard work, and a dash of audacity.
The Oh La La! Team was honoured to host Liberty’s book launch with an afternoon tea for her friends and family. The day was filled with joy, laughter, and of course, delicious baked-goods from Liberty Mendez’s debut cookbook, I’ll Bake.
I’ll Bake is available now!
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