SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Ms Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden is a highly regarded international cookery writer with a special interest in the social, historical and cultural background of food.

Ms Roden was born in Egypt in 1936 and attended the English School Cairo. At the age of 15 she went to Paris for three years before coming to London to study at St. Martin’s School of Art. Ms Roden worked at Alitalia, the Italian airline and started collecting recipes from relatives and friends. Drawn to the subject of food, she began to write about the cooking of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Italy and Spain and on Jewish food.

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Claudia Roden, Honorary Fellowship, SOAS Graduation 2012

She worked as a ‘gastronomic foreign correspondent’ for several national newspapers, provided menus and recipes for restaurants and overhauled the food and menus at Guy’s hospital. She has also run cookery classes and given seminars and master classes for chefs based in several countries.

The publication of Ms Roden’s A Book of Middle Eastern Food in 1968 is said to have revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East and North Africa. Its influence was recognised in 1992 when she received the Glenfiddich Trophy “in celebration of a unique contribution to the food that we eat in Britain today”. It was also inducted to the James Beard Hall of fame for the influence it has had on food in America.

In 1987 Ms Roden worked on the BBC TV series Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery and wrote the book of the series. In I989 she wrote the series The Taste of Italy for the Sunday Times Magazine. Her books, (including The Book of Jewish Food and most recently The Food of Spain) have won her many international awards.

In 2010 Ms Roden was a Visiting Fellow at Yale University and she is co-chair of the trustees of the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery.