An Interview with Blake Bowden
- Written by Alicia Drewnicki
- January 20, 2020
- 4 min read
Have you ever wondered who comes up with our smoothie recipes? Well, the answer is the supremely talented Blake Bowden, who is our Head of Product Development. There are many strings to Blake’s culinary bow – for example, as well as being a smoothie inventor, he’s also a professional cheesemaker!
Find out more about Blake in our interview below:
1) Can you explain what your role entails at Honestly Good?
I am the Head of Product Development at Honestly Good, which means that I am constantly thinking about interesting new ideas for smoothies then blending, tasting testing and analysing. It means I have to draw on all my experience working with food, to create delicious smoothies that work with the seasons and are highly nutritious and balanced.
2) How did you first meet Vikesh/get involved with Honestly Good?
By luck really! Vikesh called me from out of the blue and told me about his vision for the company. After quite a few conversations about smoothies, sustainability and a trip to Norwich we agreed to collaborate. It’s been about 3 and a half years now.
3) Roughly how many smoothie recipes do you think you’ve invented since you started, and do you have a favourite?
Probably 40 -50, there’s a few that have come and gone…my favourite is a toss up between More Mochi because it seems like such a treat but is so healthy and The Whirling Dervish because I’m proud that I made a delicious smoothie with cauliflower in it!
4) How do you come up with the recipes? Is there a method or somewhere you look for inspiration?
It might be certain flavour combinations that work with different ingredients like in The Smoothie Spice, beetroot and carrot both love ginger so it just makes sense. Other smoothies could be a childhood memory like choc mint ice cream or just a classic dish that I always loved cooking like The Almond Tart One. The challenge is to take something that is in essence quite indulgent and make it really healthy and nutritious whilst still being true to the original concept.
5) Can you tell us a bit about your work background and how you first got into the food industry?
I have been a chef since I was 19 (now 36) and have cooked in some great restaurants in Australia and the UK, spanning British, Australian, Japanese and Italian cuisines. I think I feel closest to Italian as it is so simple but does not compromise on quality. I first began as a waiter and apprentice chef at a seafood restaurant in my hometown of Byron Bay called ‘The Raving Prawn’! Ha best name ever. I chose to become a chef after cooking more than studying when I went off to university, I found the gratification of effort vs reward in cooking to be addictive.
I now am a cheesemaker making a gorgeous raw milk cheese called St Jude, cheesemaking has this same effort vs reward but just takes a bit longer to happen.
6) What are your guilty pleasure foods?
Bakery treats!! Mainly the sweet ones, I had the best hazelnut and praline eclair recently, it was tremendous.
7) Are there any foods that you don’t eat?
Marmalade, it’s just not for me… however I do love negronis so it can’t be the bitterness.
8) What do you consider to be the most underrated food that deserves more credit?
Borlotti beans… they grow well in UK are the most stunning vegetable and are so creamy when you cook them, delish.
9) If you had to pick 5 kitchen staple ingredients that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?
Chickpeas – hummus and curries, oats – I have eaten these every day for about 20 years, onions – the base of bases, pickles for snacking, pasta for sustenance.
10) Which chef/s inspire you the most and why? Either famous, or one’s you’ve worked with?
The chefs that inspire me are ones that take on their own small businesses and make it. It is the most demanding and committed project to involve yourself in and has a very high chance of failure! When it works though it is so great to be a part of. Life wouldn’t be nearly as good if it were not for these people.
11) Do you have any cookbooks that you can’t live without? Which would you recommend?
The River Cottage Preserves book, I grow a lot of produce so it always helps me dealing with a glut. I would recommend the Trullo cookbook by Tim Siaditan and I am very much looking forward to digging into My Xmas present of the Noma Guide to Fermentation.
12) What dish/es have you cooked that you’re most proud of? Any standout memories?
My slow roast shoulder of lamb with springtime garnish is my all time fave.
13) On an average weeknight, what are your ‘go to’ staple meals that you like to make at home?
Broccoli pasta, with anchovy, chilli and garlic – Tarka dahl – Tortilla. Every day is different, we eat mainly vegetarian just depends of what’s in the fridge or coming from the allotment.
14) Any favourite restaurants in the UK that we should know about?
Padella in Borough Market, Duck Soup in Soho, the Ethicurean near Bristol, my local pub the Artichoke in Norwich.
15) Thinking about the diverse cuisine from around the world…which countries/regions inspire/excite you?
Vietnam and South East Asia, Italy and France. Growing up I never would have imagined it possible to eat this incredible food let alone visit the amazing countries.
16) If you could change anything about the food industry, what would it be?
Have stricter policy on food waste and get more people cooking their own meals from scratch.