Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Re//Store Sisterhood: Newton & Pott

27-02-2017

Every Saturday at her eponymous market stall on Broadway Market you can find the gorgeous jams, pickles and preserves by Newton & Pott.

If you can’t make it to east London, they have many more fabulous stockists to fill your boots including Selfridges, Albion, and many great places in and outside London.

I love Kylee’s concept of preserving food in a natural way by artisanal and ‘yesteryear’ methods. With Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day coming up tomorrow, I worked on a great pancake recipe  with spelt, flaxseed and lots of delicious toppings including Newton & Potts Strawberry and Rhubarb jam.
Meeting Kylee was just like when first met I her 10 years ago, both of us with an art school history, her working for Wolfgang Tillmans, me for a designer. She has this great persona, always vibrant and wildly inspiring. She is currently running masterclass courses in great places such as Shoreditch House and her studio off Broadway Market, you can find all the details on her website. I absolutely love her book “The Modern Preserver” which will give you a good head start on jams, chutneys and pickles. It was a great pleasure to catch up with Kylee in her workspace and during buzzing Broadway Saturday’s Market.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is a mishmash of genre’s and era’s from my clothing to my home design.
I like mixing up vintage with modern classics, adding a splash of colour here and there. My husband and I shop for the home keeping the ‘Big House’ in mind- the house we dream to live in one day.

And the style of your company?
The aesthetic is also modern classic- taking the old feel and look of labelling and adapting it to a modern palate. This reflects what we do and what the brand is all about. Preserving is an ancient technique that’s been around thousands of years for necessity to survive than anything else, I choose to adapt it to a modern world by playing with modern flavour combinations and introducing playful techniques. But it has the same morals as its origins, to use up the seasonal glut and being sustainable by giving food longevity. Waste and shelf lives aren’t an issue with our brand, it’s waste not, want not.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

What made you decide to start preserving and pickling and founding your wonderful company Newton & Pott?
I was working for an artist when I got to London, a photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, as his personal printer. I worked for him for almost a decade and he moved his practice to Berlin. When he left I found myself in a position where I had this amazing skill of analogue printing yet it didn’t translate into the modern digital world. I had to reinvent myself, to figure out what I was going to do. I worked as a florist for a bit and gathered a lot of creative skills but I craved my own practice and creative outlet. I toyed wit the idea of baking, I’ve always been quite natural at it, yet the idea of the waste that bakers have at the end of the day if they didn’t sell left me feeling heartbroken. This is what drew me to preserving, something that had a longer shelf life, something that gave food longevity, I could save fruit and vegetables and give them a new lease of life.

That is so wonderful, I love that you take the food longevity into consideration, waste not want not. And what inspires you at the start of a new recipe idea?
The seasons inspire me, what is plentiful and might go to waste if I don’t preserve it. I go to the wholesale market once a week and pick my produce, when I see something new in this excites me to create a new recipe. Then I think of the matching flavours to compliment the tastes. Having gone to art school in New Zealand I think this background helps me with this creative process. It seems quite abstract for me to go from art to a craft, but the creative process is exactly the same, in fact I’m sure it was the process I was always obsessed with at art school – so new recipes start here I guess and then they get developed.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

When you develop your recipes and produce your jams, pickles and chutneys do you have a sustainable approach? And how do you put this in process?
Preserving as a whole is sustainable, the act of giving food longevity, like upcycling produce.
There are a few approaches to this, with chutney you can use up fruit and vegetables that might otherwise go to waste, the ones in your fruit bowl that have seen better days, so it’s a great way of using up older produce. With jam and pickles it’s best to use fresher fruits, to preserve and conserve the seasonal glut, what is in abundance, what is surplus and make a product that is going to last longer than life span.
We also head out in summer to some berry farms around London and pick up their surplus berries that the supermarkets won’t buy as they are not the correct shape or colour, they’re called 2nds and thousands go to waste. At Newton & Pott we’re not prejudice when it comes to size and colour, we welcome them all as underneath they all are the same.

What are your favourite elements of your job? And biggest Challenge?
My favourite element is the creative side, getting inspired by produce, by feeling like we are giving food longevity. But the challenges are daily, it’s hard work and I work 6 day weeks, I live the business and it’s become a business rather than a creative outlet, meaning I have to be a business woman- something not so natural for me, which I am learning everyday.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Where do you go when you want to find inspiration in London?
My husband and I love to indulge in some of the amazing restaurants that have been popping up all over London in the past 5 years, they inspire me. Mostly to be adventurous and to discover new flavours and combinations, to be a step ahead. A lot of chefs are using preserving in their menus which is exciting times for me.

What do you listen to at the moment?
Generally podcasts, I find they teach me trivial and informative things when I’m driving around doing my deliveries. I used to be a DJ in Hoxton Square so feel I’ve indulged in music in a period of my life and find a calm in absorbing information instead now.
Saying that I was bought an amazing record called The Visitors for my birthday by an incredible artist Ragnar Kjartansson and The All Star Band.

We also head out in summer to some berry farms around London and pick up their surplus berries that the supermarkets won’t buy as they are not the correct shape or colour, they’re called 2nds and thousands go to waste. At Newton & Pott we’re not prejudice when it comes to size and colour, we welcome them all as underneath they all are the same.

Could you recommend an organic / local produce cafe / restaurant in your area?
Poco on Broadway Market is amazing if you are looking for sustainability to it’s perfection. With Chef Tom Hunt at it’s reins it’s all about ‘Root to Fruit’ bringing you a menu that uses up almost everything and has very little waste. The food is great too.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott
MaaikeMekking-NewtonandPott-Broadwaymarket-14

Where do you go to shop for clothes / accessories?
Running a brand and business means I have very little time for buying clothes and accessories- but it’s generally when I’m on my market stall on Broadway Market. Every Saturday there’s a great stall there that sells second hand/vintage clothing- I swear most of my wardrobe comes from there, a timing thing.
But I buy mostly second hand clothing, less landfill in the world.

And in terms of wellness?
We do our weekly shop down Broadway Market, they have a great organic produce stall and a no spray produce stall which we get most of our fruit and vegetables from. I like to buy locally, and support my local traders, I’m one of them so it’s a real community down Broadway Market. My husband and I try to avoid supermarkets and by writing up a weekly menu we are able to access what we have leftover in the cupboards and fridge so that everything getting used in our home, we hate to throw out perfectly good food and are never ruled by “used by” or “best before” dates. We use our intuition and smell to guide us.

Maaike Mekking Newton & Pott

Who would you like to see on here in the future? (Somebody within the world of wellness / sustainability, all fields)
Maybe Maxine Thompson from Polka Pants, making comfortable pants for the female chef in mind, she also won a YBF award.
Oh yes! I love those pants! I would love to see all chefs in London wear those. (Including cooks like me :-))

What is your favourite plant based / Vegetarian recipe?
I love salads, so have lots of fun creating new recipes out of what we have left over in the fridge and cupboards and then adding a pickle through the mix.
In the weekend I made for my Masterclass students a gem lettuce, pickled pea, parmesan (vege), caramelised leeks and hazelnut salad with a light mustard and honey dressing- it was delicious.

Thank you so much for the lovely interview Kylee, your Rhubarb Strawberry jam hit all the right notes!

Interview and photos by Maaike Mekking