What would I tell my younger self?

What would I tell my younger self?

Enjoy every moment, for sure. This is not an easy industry to be in and back in the 80’s it was even tougher. Never-the-less I stuck with it and have enjoyed pretty much every minute (give or take of course!).

These photos were taken at my first chef job when I was 19 and even then I was a leader…or just bossy. I’m not sure, you can decide! I am in the centre of the photo because I was leading the team of chefs standing around me!

I had a little flyer sent to me from someone who became a friend a few years ago when our children were in the same class at school. She said she thought she recognised me. Turns out I catered her wedding and the photos were part of the wedding brochure that she was given and subsequently kept in her wedding memories box!

Very kind of her to give it to me after all these years. 👰🤵

What would you tell your younger self?

This is me....

This is me....

This is who I am and what I look like!

I am really very flattered that many cooks and planners say they cook and plan like Suzanne James and run events like Suzanne Janes but in truth, unless you work with Suzanne James and are part of the Suzanne James family then It’s really not done with the same Suzanne James passion, care, attention to detail or expertise.

We might also actually be the only catering company in London that is independently owned and run by a professional female chef. I have never had a business partner, or a backer or an invester. We’ve achieved what we have by bloody hard work and utter professionalism at all times.

You’d be amazed how often upon meeting people they say “Oh……. YOU’RE Suzanne James!!” so I guess when they tease me at work about it being ‘my name above the door’ it really is a case of ‘the face behind the throne’!

So, just incase you bump into me one day – here I am!


An Absolutely Fabulous Party!

An Absolutely Fabulous Party (for a good cause)

Not a lot of people know this (until now), but amongst close friends Suzanne and Amanda are often jokingly referred to as Patsy & Edina.  Unless you are too young to know better we are referring to the lead characters in the wonderful TV Comedy Absolutely Fabulous starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

With this is mind, it was a gift from heaven when our friend Vivi announced that her annual fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support would this year be an “Absolutely Fabulous” themed party.  It took only a small leap of faith and some serious wardrobe raiding to come up with our outfits and we were off!

It felt like a blast from the past to be backcombing hair into a terrifying beehive! Not to mention digging out the 80’s jackets complete with huge shoulder pads and the enormous sunglasses (Obs darling, to hide from the Paparazzi)!

Guest of honour at the party was Bradley Cooper…… well sort of, it may have been a life-size cardboard cut out, but we were having far too much fun to care!

Amazing local chef Roberto Szasz donated his time and awesome kitchen skills, providing some incredible food for the evening. Roberto will soon be cooking at our venue fifty seven as he is holding a pop up Mexican High Tea so if you would like to try his fantastic food for yourself click here to book.

But there was even more, not only an amazing party, great drinks, delicious food, but also Vivi organised a brilliant guest speaker – author Sam Bunch who read us extracts from her very funny and enlightening new book, Menopause, A Hot Topic followed by guest Soprano singer and blogger Bethie Hungerford.

Once the raffle was drawn it was time to dance the night away.  We all had such a good time we honestly forgot that it was a fundraising event until Vivi messaged us all the next day to let us know we had managed to raise £1,325.00. HURRAH!!!!!

As well as those linked above, we must quickly mention & thank all the lovely people / companies who donated prizes fo raffle:


@clare_trier (Bottom line)

Thank you Vivi for organising such a brilliant, brilliant party – on top of her day job as an Events and Interior stylist (you can find out more about this on her website).  We can’t wait to see what you do next year!

Love & kisses from Patsy & Eddie (the East Dulwich Version)!!

Art@57 News - October

Art@57 News - October

‘Works on Paper – Grid Landscape Series’ by Helen Ireland
September 29th – October 27th 2019

Art@57 are extremely proud to have eight new works on paper made for our window by local Artist Helen Ireland. These amazing colourful geometric gouaches will adorn our window space for the month of October and will be our first exhibition of abstract Art. Read below to understand a little more about how Helen describes her own work and the ideas and influences behind it.

‘In my work I explore the relationship of colour and geometry to build up densely worked abstract compositions that balance an ‘all over’ sense of order and space. The surfaces and fragments are things found and seen.   I am particularly drawn to surfaces that  seem ancient and show a history of gathered marks. I make drawings and take photographs. I rework an image over a period of  time.  I am not particularly interested in things being instantly recognisable but more evoking a visual hypnotic ambiguity that is spatial and suggestive of collected thoughts and memories. It is sometimes difficult  to describe when a painting really works because it seems to be that it is at the ‘point of not knowing’ that the artwork really becomes itself.

If you can allow colour to breathe, to occupy its own space, to play its own game in its unstable way, it’s wanton behaviour, so to speak. It is promiscuous like nothing. (Bridget Riley)

I studied for a BA in Fine Art at Central/St Martin’s and an MA at Chelsea School of Art. After that I was the ‘Drawing Fellow’ at Winchester School of Art. I taught drawing on the foundation course at Hertfordshire University for eight years. I have participated in Artists’ workshops in Namibia, Georgia and The Netherlands. I was one of the artist’s involved with the ‘Rivers of  the World’ programme funded by the British Council for five years. ‘Rivers of the World’ is the Thames Festival Trust’s flagship art and education project. I worked on the ‘City Year’ project at The National Gallery in 2016/2017. I was a  founder member of Gasworks Artists’ studios and Cubitt Artists’ Studios. My work is in collections including British Land, FORTE, Arthur Andersen, New Hall Cambridge University, UNESCO, British Airways. ‘


If you are interested in booking an appointment to view Helen’s work with a view to purchasing it , or have any questions about it or any of our previous Window Artists please contact Louise – Curator Art@57 by email.

Art@57 Autumn Markets

Art@57 Autumn Markets

Our Autumn Markets kicked off last Saturday with eleven talented Artists and Makers and their work filling out the space throughout fifty seven. The lovely weather meant that we could open up the doors and spill out onto the street market at the front and into the garden through to the room at the back. Our visitors clearly enjoyed exploring the space and all the wonderful hand-made Art and Craft on offer. It was a thoroughly enjoyable fun day out in East Dulwich.

Our next market is on Saturday, 26th October when we will have more, different Artists and Craftspeople bringing their original ceramics, screen prints, textiles, paintings, photography, jewellery, home ware and the amazing sculptural book art of M. Stephane Godec. Don’t miss it!

Art@57 Art Market – Saturday 26th October, 10am – 4pm.

Art@57 News

Art@57 News

In the window of fifty seven for the month of September, Art@57 proudly present ‘Etchings and Aquatints’ by Helen Adie. Some of you may already have met Helen at our Art Markets earlier in the year. She now returns to 57 with this solo exhibition.

Helen Adie is  an artist and a poet who enjoys collaborating with others in both these practices. Recent art work has been strongly influenced by her background in theatre, as an actress and director. As an artist, her main influences are Paula Rego, Toulouse Lautrec, Cecil Collins, Edvard Munch and Picasso. She enjoys experimenting with texture, line and form through a range of techniques including woodcut, linocut, collage, drawing and printmaking techniques, from drypoint, soft and hard ground etching, aquatint, sugar lift, chine colle and lithography.

Her work has been shown at venues including the Chelsea Arts Show, Brixton East and the Bankside Gallery and at Open House 2015 and 2016. In 2014/15, she created a book work in collaboration with the printmaker Andrew Carter.

Her exhibition will be in our window from September 2nd.

All enquiries or to make an private viewing appointment to Louise , Art@57 Curator at infoartat57@gmail.com


Art@57 Marketsreturn this Autumn with two Saturday Art markets on September 21st and October 26th, 10am – 4pm. We have an array of talented local artists and craftsmen whose latest work you can come and peruse. New to our markets this Autumn are Stephane Godec and his amazing sculptures made from books, Rowena Arden with her gorgeous textiles and prints, Asia Ceramics will be here, (you may have seen their beautiful tiles in the window in our July exhibition.) Also joining us will be Meeka jewellery, the Garage Press, Mcbee vintage fabric bags, and Atencia designs, whose amazing porcelain ceramics were in the window last month and of course there will be much, much, more.

Keep an eye on our window and our instagram account to see which Artists will be at which markets – @artat57. See you soon.

Losing the Plot - Pumpkin news

Losing the Plot - Pumpkin news

Anyone who is a keen gardener knows there is no such thing as a sure thing – and we were reminded of this in no uncertain terms at our allotment in August.

Having been feeling quite smug about how well our pumpkin tunnel was doing, and the variety of produce we were growing we popped up there in early August – the weekend of the high winds if you remember it? – only to find that disaster had struck!

Two of our 6 arches had been blown over and badly bent under the force of the wind and the weight of the plants growing on them – the pumpkins, miraculously appeared to have survived, but untangling them from the frames and getting the most broken parts of the metal out was a nightmare.  What we had planned to be a quick 30 minute visit to water the plot turned into a 2 hour slog.  By the end of it we had managed to leave mini arches in place to support the plants, and we were consoled by the fact that we still seem to have squash growing, which is the most important thing, but overall the effect is ruined, and actually whilst it was a great experiment there is no doubt that we’ve had bigger pumpkins in previous years when we’ve let the plants scramble across the ground.

Still, nothing ventured nothing gained as they say, and we still have some lovely produce so it could be worse!

In other news, the sweetcorn is wonderful, we are harvesting it almost daily and haven’t got fed up of eating it (yet)!

Wedding Food Trends

Wedding Food Trends

When it comes to weddings, one of the most positive shifts in recent times has been seeing couples get creative with the menu for their big day.  Sticking with traditon is not longer de rigour, and we love it when we get asked to serve up something a bit different.

Here is a list of some of the most popular requests we receive:

Fusion Menus

We are often asked if we can incorporate elements from different cultures into a menu and the answer is always yes! Our chefs are magicians when it comes to this type of thing and it is really incredible what they are able to do. The most extreme example of this was when we were asked for a Nigerian, Thai fusion menu – did we manage it? Of course!

Menus Inspired by Ingredients

We once had a groom who was a tea importer, and we were asked to incorporate teas (from his plantation) into the menu. It sounds daunting, but once again the chefs came to the rescue and created an amazing, tea infused dessert!

What else?  We’ve caterered for a wedding where a large contingent of the family were diabetics and had to be fed regularly and in the right way to keep sugar levels balanced, and of course we have served 100% vegetarian or vegan weddings, we were once asked to serve a fruit wedding cake with cheese in the evening; it’s a Yorkshire thing apparantly!

Sharing Boards

This has become a really popular option over the past few years.  It certainly gets your guests interacting, but there are downsides to it – wine glasses are more likely to be knoocked over, the meal tends to take longer overall, and hiring all the extra boards and platters can really add to your costs so do give this option some thought.

Wedding Brunch?

More Ponzu Salmon and pomegranate? Yes please, early afternoon wedding parties are now saying goodbye to a formal sit down and hello to a brunch styled party. 

Whilst we’re not quite at serving accai bowls yet. Avocado, pastries and brunch type canapés are all part of this new trend! 

Cocktail Party?

With more and more couples deciding to tie the know abroad a wedding party back in the UK is becoming more and more common, and a shorter event, with less food can leave a lovely budget for some fun cocktails! 

Here are our top 5 party cocktails:

Espresso martinis

Pisco sours

Whisky Sours


Cardamon and Ginger 

Dulwich WI & Suzanne James Cream Tea Fundraiser - How do you take yours?!

Dulwich WI & Suzanne James Cream Tea Fundraiser - How do you take yours?!

Is there anything better (or more British?) than freshly made scones, clotted cream and jam with a good cup of tea?

On Saturday 5th October, we have two fantastic ways for you to get your “scone fix” at fiftyseven, 57 North Cross Road, SE22

Firstly, our very own Suzanne James will be hosting 3 scone making masterclasses in our private cookery school to the rear of fifty seven. There are three sessions to choose from, 11.00am, 1.00pm or 3.00pm, each lasting approximately 1.5 hours and limited to just 6 people, with a cost of £10.00 per person.

All profits from this class will be donated to the Dulwich WI

This is not a drop in class and all tickets must be purchased in advance – please follow this link to choose your session and book your place!


On the same day, front of house at fiftyseven we will be serving up cream teas – tea of coffee with scone, jam, cream (and butter if required)!  This event is suitable for both adults and children, with all seats priced at just £5.00 per person.  Seats are available for 11am, midday, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm – follow this link to choose you session and book your seats!


Please note that unfortunately we are unable to offer a refund on booked seats.



The Tiny Italian Supperclub & cooking classes at Fifty Seven

The Tiny Italian Supperclub & cooking classes at Fifty Seven

A new Italian supper club and cooking class residency is hitting Fifty Seven this autumn.

Paola Maggiulli, better known as the Tiny Italian, is an Italian food expert, writer, presenter and home cook. She will be bringing her style of rustic home cooking and hosting for everyone to enjoy.

Leiths trained, she has featured on ITV’s ‘The big audition, presented at Taste of London and has created recipe content for Italian food brands.

Born and bred in London, Paola comes from a multicultural background. Her mother is  Colombian and her father, Italian. The family had a long-standing Italian delicatessen in south London for 20 years, where Paola learnt all there was to know about great Italian produce and running an independent business. Plus, every year, she makes multiple trips to Italy to eat and learn all there is about the country’s home cooking.

The Tiny Italian is about sharing the best in Italian food and culture, re-creating her favourite dishes into easy, quick everyday recipes suited for London living. Paola strongly believes in both the physical and mental benefits of home cooking. From the social advantages of cooking and spending time with others to being responsible and knowledgeable of the ingredients, you use and consume. Her mission is to inspire the younger generation who feel less confident in the kitchen, to those who consider themselves time-poor to have a better relationship with cooking and food.

Therefore, her supper clubs and cooking classes are part of that mission. Paola will cook Italian rustic home-style dishes that she often cooks for her friends and family. She will then follow these up with cooking classes where she will show you how you can recreate those recipes at home. Expect, a fun, colourful cooking class. Paola will offer short cuts and cooking tips so that you can go home and share your new skills with friends, families, and more importantly, with yourself.

The menus reflect Paola’s love for southern Italian/Mediterranean cooking. Tickets will start at £39 which will include a 4-course delicious sit-down meal. Its BYOB, so bring whatever tipple you fancy.