Connie Clarkson has been cooking food and writing about it for a large part of her life. After operating Auckland’s French Café, contributing to Metro magazine, writing a cookbook and even being a judge, she now is the Head of Commercial Place Operations at Auckland’s Panuku Development. Connie describes her role as the job of a lifetime. At Panuku, she pulls on all her experience and connections she’s made over decades to regenerate spaces like the Auckland Waterfront or Wynyard Quarter and add new life to neighbourhoods, making sure people can eat well no matter where they live.

Connie believes that food is the cornerstone of a great neighbourhood and that cookbooks are history books. “It’s an amazing thing, food. We all have to eat. More than that, food has the power to transcend age, place and wealth to give a voice to our experiences”, says Connie.

In our freewheeling chat we talk about:

  • Are cookbooks still relevant?
  • The responsibility that comes with writing about food
  • Why is food the cornerstone to a great neighbourhood?
  • Community markets and why every community needs one
  • Food trends – what will stay and what comes next

Listen to the Podcast Here:

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My favourite quotes from the episode (and there were many!):

“Cookbooks are about more than the recipes. It is a travel guide. They hold stories about families and friends. They are a record of a neighbourhood. A cookbook is a history book. It’s a record of society. I have a strong instinct that the day of the cookbook is not over yet.”

“There’s a fine line between celebrating food and the people who produce the food and criticizing that food. Social media has made it easy for everyone to give an opinion. When we write about someone else’s dream, we have a huge responsibility as a food writer to do it justice.”

“The community that surrounds the food you eat is as important as the food itself.”