Cooking with PRIDE – queers in the kitchen

If you love cooking, expressing yourself and your passions through the food you create is part of what makes it rewarding. That’s never more important than for the LGBTQIA+ community, for whom Pride – celebrated throughout the summer months worldwide – has become a symbol of unity and support.

We asked chefs, cooks and food writers to share their very personal stories and recipes for Pride month.

Interviews: Gurdeep Loyal

Cooking with PRIDE – queers in the kitchen

Gurdeep Loyal

“My food embraces all possibilities when it comes to taste; exploring the boundaries between culinary cultures that echo my own feelings of ‘inbetweenness’”

“My queerness and Indianness are both foundational facets of my identity – and food is my canvas for joyfully expressing their intersection at full volume on a plate. There’s a queer sensibility to my cooking: I take an uninhibited approach to combining a spectrum of flavours, challenging traditional ‘rules’ around what you can and can’t put into a dish. My food embraces all possibilities when it comes to taste; exploring the boundaries between culinary cultures that echo my own feelings of ‘inbetweenness’ as a second-generation queer British Indian food writer.

I didn’t feel able to come out to my family until my 30s, so Pride season has always been a profoundly important moment in my year – a time to outwardly celebrate the bonds I have with my chosen ‘queer family’ through collective feasting, where everyone is invited. Whether it’s the pink-prawn linguine one friend makes on repeat, another friend’s underbaked gooey-gay brownies or another friend’s Pride man-hattans that are essentially a cocktail glass of maraschino cherries – these are foods that unite us at this time. Pride is a protest that celebrates the multiplicity of LGBTQIA+ experience today and throughout history; and food is a powerful way of proclaiming that diversity in all its delicious glory.”

A bit about Gurdeep (he/him)

He’s a food/travel writer and trend consultant who spotlights diasporic food cultures of the world. He also curates the online platform which celebrates food stories of migration, race and identity. Gurdeep was winner of the Jane Grigson Trust Award for his first cookbook Mother Tongue – Flavours of a Second Generation (also chosen as the delicious. book of the month in March 2023). Fourth Estate £26.

Follow Gurd on Instagram here.

Gurdeep’s peach bellini & pink praline pavlova


“There’s something wonderfully bold, defiantly camp and uncompromisingly celebratory about a pavlova. This one encapsulates the flavours of my favourite Pride cocktail with extra crunch from pink pralines.”

Find the recipe here

Rafael Cagali

“History has proven that food brings people together, regardless of creed, sexuality, gender or race.”

“Pride is a celebration of freedom for a community I’m a part of. Community and culture are pillars of inspiration for my food, so I connect with the unity that happens during this time. Food brings people together, regardless of creed, sexuality, gender or race. History has proven that point and that’s why it plays such an important role in the queer community. It’s a glue that acts as a medium for people to share stories and get to know each other, and I think it’s so important.

I hope more and more queer/LGBTQIA+ operators are given the opportunity to tell their stories and build more spaces in which the community can come together and feel celebrated. Nieves Barragán from Sabor has been a great inspiration to me in the way she’s run her business and is such a tour de force of hospitality excellence. Yotam Ottolenghi is, of course, another icon who’s played a massive role in influencing food across the globe.”

A bit about Rafael (he/him)

Originally from São Paulo, Rafael Cagali draws on his Brazilian and Italian heritage to guide his creative vision at his restaurant Da Terra. After moving to the UK, Rafael worked at The Fat Duck in Berkshire, where he met his husband (and now general manager) Charlie Lee. Last year, Rafael opened Elis, a more casual sister restaurant to Da Terra, in Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel.

Follow Rafael on Instagram here.

Rafael’s moqueca (Brazilian fish stew)


“At Da Terra we serve a dish called moqueca, which is an Afro-Brazilian recipe originally found in the north of Brazil. We begin by showing people how you would typically eat it, in a large pot, family style. This dish represents a lot about my philosophy and a lot about the importance of community and food.”

Find the recipe here

Fatima “Fatti” Tarkleman

“We can use food to show there is no one correct way to exist; we’re all just delicious ingredients really”

“The macho environments I’ve come across in some kitchens can make it hard to be ‘out’ at work; as a queer chef it can be hard to find peers. I sit on many intersections: I’m pansexual, polyamorous, mixed race, neurodivergent, a migrant, and somewhat ambivalent about my own gender. I’ve never sat comfortably in any ‘norm’, always perched outside the box, and that’s what my cooking is about too. I cook cross-culturally, taking influence from my heritage, my travels and anything that excites me. I try to ignore the boxes people try to conceptualise my cooking into and just be authentically me – which I guess is a ‘queer sensibility’. Spices from one place, techniques from another, all to create something delicious.

Pride is all year round but, that said, it’s fun to have a concentrated season to connect with other queer people and our allies, to blissfully celebrate and fiercely protest our right to exist with greater equity. Food is what we use to connect to others through shared experience, to comfort in times of adversity, to create together, to celebrate and to demonstrate that you truly see someone for who they are by doing something thoughtful. We can use food and its multitudes to show there is no one correct way to exist; we’re all just delicious ingredients really.”

A bit about Fatima (she/they)

Fatima “Fatti” Tarkleman is a proudly queer chef and recipe developer, with an emphasis on zero waste, championing sustainability and inclusivity in cooking – with a special interest in cross-cultural cooking and representing their international heritage. Fatti is currently working on a collaborative cookbook, Kin-spiration: recipes by POC chefs focusing on wasting less, with insight into what inspires them.

Follow Fatti on Instagram here.

Fatima’s turkey and black-eyed bean chilli with cheese-stuffed patacones

turkey chilli

“Denholm is my wonderful ex-housemate whose fiercely proud queerness helped encourage me to embody my own more fully. We lived through two long lockdowns in the same home, and he helped provide me with love and fun to get through it. This recipe is a tribute to him: a rich, smoky, slow-cooked chilli using turkey mince and ultra-savoury black-eye beans.”

Find the recipe here

The Sticky Bun Boys

“The queer community is hugely underrepresented in the food industry. The driver for us all in the next five years should be pulling more chairs up to the table.”

Michael Chakraverty: “There’s a communality to food; a sense of sharing – when you cook something, you spend time and care on it, and there’s something innately humanizing about that. Sharing your food with others lets them into a part of you, which helps transcend differences and allows people to see people as people. As a queer brown person, I’ve found it interesting navigating the combination of queerness and Indian culture, which can often be considered to be distinct things – there’s a lot more celebration of individual identity to be had. I’d love to see more inclusivity of other cultures and diverse ethnic backgrounds – the queer community is hugely underrepresented in the food industry and it would be brilliant to see more of their talents on a larger scale.

“In queer-owned food spaces such as bakeries, cafes and delis, there’s a sense of comfort invested in both the food and the environment. It’s like coming home. That’s important as, often, queer people have to create our own environments to be comfortable. There’s a sense of solidarity among queer people in the food industry – we’re all rooting for each other, which is a wonderful feeling. Pride has taught me the power of showing up for each other – standing shoulder to shoulder with our community, fighting for and amplifying the voices of our queer siblings. The driver for us all in the next five years should be pulling more chairs up to the table.”

David Atherton: “I’m one of those people who didn’t come out until I was relatively old, so Pride season means a lot to me – equal parts celebration and activism. The fight hasn’t been won, and for certain elements of our community, like our trans brothers and sisters currently, the fight rages on. The queer community is diverse, and people’s food tastes are diverse. I do love symbols like making rainbow bagels, but I like to think my approach to food is queer more due to its inclusivity and diversity – my love for all types of food. Baking is my love language; I use it to build bonds and bring people together.”

A bit about The Sticky Bun Boys

Michael Chakraverty (he/they) and David Atherton (he/him) competed on the 10th series of the Great British Bake Off and became close friends on the show. After leaving each other long voice notes reviewing various TV shows, they decided to start a fun (and a little naughty) podcast called the Sticky Bun Boys, which reviews episodes of Bake Off and answer listeners’ baking/dating questions.

Follow The Sticky Bun Boys on Instagram here.

The Sticky Bun Boys’ cardamom & orange buns with orange glaze and rainbow icing

sticky buns

Says David: “So much of the queer story has been about fighting for rights, but there’s a playfulness and joie de vivre along the way. That’s what we bring to our podcast, so we had to make a sticky bun recipe as a celebration of that and the community we love being part of.”

Find the recipe here

Pollyanna Coupland

“Visibility and representation are everything – our rights are being stripped and homophobia/transphobia is growing. Being surrounded by people celebrating queer joy together is really needed right now”

“Realising I’m non-binary two years ago gave me the confidence to dress differently and play with my masculinity/femininity in a fun way. To be non-binary is to be creative – we play with gender and how we present ourselves daily. This deconstructing is how I approach creative recipe writing… I ask myself: how can I re-invent a dish, switching out ingredients with the same flavour profiles to turn a classic into something new? I also think about colour; I love things to be bright and bold, which is inherently queer. As someone who can be quite shy, cooking has been a universal language for displaying love and care, as well as a passionate talking point.

“I’m looking forward to Pride but I’ve had a tricky relationship with it over the years. While it’s a buzz being surrounded by queer people, I’ve not always understood where I fit in. London’s underground drag scene has been hugely important to me in terms of inclusivity and creative inspiration. While there are loads of queer women working in kitchens, the perception of chefs in mainstream media is mostly men who embody old-school hierarchical aggression. Social media is great to get away from that; I love people like Melissa Thompson, Ruby Tandoh, Jodie Nixon and Saskia Sidey. Visibility and representation are everything – our rights are being stripped and homophobia/transphobia is growing. Being surrounded by people celebrating queer joy together is really needed right now.”

A bit about Pollyanna (she/they)

A food producer for delicious., writing recipes, food styling and creating innovative backgrounds for photography, Pollyanna is as passionate about a Big Mac and battered sausage as about a perfectly cooked scallop and good chicken stock… But penne is most definitely the worst pasta shape.

Follow Pollyanna on Instagram here.

Pollyanna’s summer roast chicken with chicken fat mayo, pickled courgettes, charred nectarines and roast new potato salad

Pollyanna's chicken

“There’s nothing more universally loved than a simple, home-cooked roast chicken, and my easy chicken fat mayonnaise is always what’s talked about most. The pickled courgette salad is the first thing I cooked my girlfriend.”

Find the recipe here


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