In this interview, Ren Behan, author of Wild Honey and Rye, talks about how Polish food has evolved to become a trendy and healthy market industry in the UK.
In the current multicultural demographic of the UK, the most common non-British nationality has been Polish year and year again. There are an estimated one million Polish people living in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics, supporting their culture through an increasing number of Polish Saturday schools, supermarkets and general stores.
I spoke with Ren Behan recently about her journey in bringing Polish cooking to the British market, and how the food isn’t at all what you may think it is.
Kerri L Watt: Ren, hello! Let’s discuss the dominance of the Polish food market here in the UK, does this surprise you?
Ren Behan: As a second generation pole- meaning I was born here in the UK- it’s definitely interesting to see the ripple effect of post-World War Two immigration. In 2004 the Polish market boomed with a new wave of Poles in the UK as they joined the European Union, so it’s been incredible to grow up in one country while still being able to fully immerse myself in my mother country’s cuisine. It made culture extraction between both Poland and the UK far more accessible and encouraged.