Polly Betton, Creative Director of Edible Cinema
We catch up with Polly Betton, Creative Director of Edible Cinema.
What inspired you to start Edible Cinema - when was your ‘Eureka’ moment?
First off, I can't take all the credit for that, it came about during a conversation with Zoe Fletcher, who at the time worked for Soho House. We got to the initial concept together. On my side, it was something that'd been percolating for a while, waiting for the right circumstances to come up. You don't get access to a cinema every day. But to be honest, I'm not particularly interested in the Eureka moment - that's just a starting point, it could've evolved a million ways. I'm a lot prouder of all the problem solving and the creative choices that have taken us to where we are now. We now have an amazing end product that just keeps evolving.
How do you choose the films?
It varies. Sometimes we have guest curators who lead the choice, sometimes we're working with another organisation which has some ideas. We talk to our partner, Bombay Sapphire, about what they're inspired by and feed that into the process. Sometimes it's seasonal, sometimes it's a team member's favourite film. We look for depth, a strong sense of time or place, plenty of changes of setting: we don't do well with rom coms because they tend to be a bit bland. I have yet to be allowed to do Die Hard at Christmas, but I'll get there in the end.
What’s been your favourite Edible Cinema moment so far?
As a team, I know our favourite menu was for Perfume. That has so many amazing serves and we were all quite surprised because it could've been a horrible choice.
What was your very first job?
In a deli, the sort that sold cake mixes and dried fruit from big storage bins. The old ladies always wanted prunes and the bin was always half empty so they couldn't reach. I spent most of the summer bent in half scraping prunes out of the bottom of a bin. I still don't see the point in prunes but I developed a lasting affection for chatting with old ladies.
If you could only cook with 3 ingredients for the rest of your life what would they be?
That wouldn't work for me, I want everything, preferably yesterday. But I could last a while on proper salted French butter, a decent sourdough and a big wedge of Comte.
What’s your favourite cuisine and what drink would you have with it?
There's a Japanese/Korean place near us that I'm very keen on. I like food to be on the raw side so I could eat sashimi every day, and Korean food has such an interesting (and delicious) range of flavours and textures I hadn't encountered before.
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with, and why?
Coriander. I'm one of those people wired to think it tastes like soap. But I can also taste that it adds something to certain dishes that needs to be there. That's the only one, it's a pain in the arse.
Who are you most inspired by?
Our chef, Jake Rigby-Wilson is pretty amazing. I've never seen anyone work so hard with such a great attitude. He never throws his weight around, which totally belies his level of skill and knowledge - he puts up with me trying to give him direction admirably. And everything he makes is delicious, of course.
Favourite junk food / guilty pleasure?
A Terry's chocolate Orange at Christmas. Really cheap vinegary ketchup. Fishermen's Friends (the sweets, I hasten to add). Not all at once, obviously.
What would be your last supper, and who would cook it?
Not sure I'd be too faffed at that point. I'd hope to have had better meals under nicer circumstances beforehand. Curmudgeonly observations aside, Blanch and Shock do a thing with semi-cured Gilthead Bream that is irresistible. They graciously over cater and allow me to hoover up a shoal's worth afterwards every time.
Tell us a secret?
I hear the best things from taxi drivers. All the good stuff. I can't believe no-one realises you just have to ask them. Not that it's much of a secret, most things I say on any subject are preceded by 'a taxi driver told me...'.
What’s your favourite film?
A Matter of Life and Death, Intacto and Drowning by Numbers are current favourites. I try not to inflict my niche interests on Edible Cinema too often.
Any films you would refuse to show at Edible Cinema?
I'm open as long as it works for the format. Going outside the comfort zone usually gives the best results anyway, thus Die Hard. What would an action film taste like? I want to know.
Who would be in your fantasy Edible Cinema team?
I've already got it. Jake, Sean and Zoe are great. We are a happy little unit.
Whats next for you?
In December we're showing Brazil and we also have a collaboration with Now TV where you can win tickets to their special Christmas screening. We're still sorting out our plans for 2015. Personally, I'm always working on lots of things at once, so business as usual: parties, launches, photo opportunities and private events, all with an interesting twist.