A Sprinkle of Imagination, a Spoonful of Yum and a Pinch of Bonkers – behind the scenes at Bake Me a Celebration Story

by Emma Goldhawk

Since 2016, I’ve been asking Nadiya Hussain and her kids Musa, Dawud and Maryam to climb mountains made of semi-freddo, surf on waves of porridge and run away from loo-roll dragons – or, pretend to, at least. As editor of the Bake Me a Story series, photoshoot days are some of my favourites of the year, as we get to have loads of fun with the hilarious, quirky stories Nadiya has written and play with lots of crazy ideas for photos. I am yet to find something that the Hussain family aren’t game to try!

Our first Bake Me a Story shoot, 2016

Before we even get to family photoshoot day, there are many stages of creative work for Nadiya and me to do. With the unique combination of stories and recipes in a Bake Me a Story book, we have two very different styles of editorial to tackle: one, the stories themselves, which Nadiya plans and writes and we then edit together until they really sparkle, and two, the recipes, which Nadiya develops and tests, and tests, and tests again in her kitchen at home, until they are perfect.

Then, it’s time for the second-best part of the process – the cookery and crafts shoot, when Bake Me a Story’s Art Director Alison Padley and I get to watch photographer Georgia Glynn-Smith and home economist/food stylist Lisa Harrison recreate Nadiya’s recipes. Of course, we must taste-test every single bake. Several times. (I love my job.) Georgia and Lisa, two foodie pros, are now well used to our ‘unusual’ directions, and do not blink when we say things like, ‘That stack of potato latkes? It’s going to have a sleeping kitten on top.’ Or, ‘Please can we photograph a sprinkles fight?’

Shooting Easter Egg Rocky Road ‘stepping stones’

A work-in-progress loo-roll dragon

Once we have all the food and family photography completed, it’s over to our talented illustrator Clair Rossiter, who weaves her magic in and around all the photos and the stories in order to bring Nadiya’s wonderful ideas to life.

And there you have it – a beautiful book celebrating Nadiya’s take on twelve international festivals and special moments from throughout the year, with over thirty recipes and crafts and twelve funny, heartwarming stories to share while your bakes are in the oven. It’s a a long and complex journey to get to the finished book, but what a brilliant time we all have along the way!

PS Try the monkey bread from Bake Me a Celebration Story. You can thank me later.

A happy author with her brand new book

This is a guest post from Emma Goldhawk, Senior Commissioning Editor at Hodder Children’s Books. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.

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