Hato’s latest studio cookbook has the heart (and look) of a traditional Italian trattoria
For its third studio cookbook Hato has asked collaborators, friends and creators an important question: What do you eat while you work?
- Olivia Hingley
- 15 November 2023
Alongside design, there are two things that feature heavily in Hato’s ethos: food and community. And so, “any opportunity to bring them together is very welcome,” says co-founder Kenjiro Kirton. For its third studio cookbook, Hato has called upon its community of collaborators, friends, creators and even some family members to ask them a very important culinary question: What do you eat while you work?
In the past few years Hato have proven their dedication to all things gourmet, with a cookbook of recipes inspired by dishes in cinema, and a warm, DIY identity for the Delli app. Much like the Delli app, the studio cookbook series focuses on real people (not Michelin star chefs) making good food. But what makes this edition so interesting, Kenjiro notes, is the influence of our changing work patterns. While the first studio cookbook way back in 2010 highlighted the meals Kenjiro shared with the studios he was interning with across London, many of the recipes in the latest edition are those made from home.
In Hato’s early years the team would cook together pretty much everyday. It was during this period that Kenjiro began to perceive strong parallels between the roles of a chef, and that of a designer. “They’re both service-based roles, rooted in collaboration with a team. You work with a set of ingredients; you rely on your chosen tools.” Ken sees the end of the design process as much like the height of culinary service, the fast paced intensity and harmony of presentations, updates and refining small details. “In those moments, there’s a real symphony in the studio, and for me that resonates with the energy and collaboration that underpins a restaurant kitchen during a busy service,” he says. Therefore, for Ken, the world of food and design are inextricably linked, both in passion and practice.
GalleryHato: Studio Cookbook (Copyright © Hato, 2023)
The book’s cover is inspired by a weekend trip to Florence earlier this year, when the studio went to see the launch of Goshka Macuga’s rocket. Warmed and well-fed by the many traditional Italian trattorias they visited, the ubiquitous red and white table cloths that adorned their tables provided the pattern for the book’s cover and inner pages. The “subverted” chequered design also features on the bottom pages of the books, and when flipped through creates the impression of the table cloth or picnic blanket being shaken out. The title at first appears simply a random collection of shapes, but Ken explains these shapes to be mimicking the way dishes move around the surface of a table, travelling from one hand to another.
Directing us to a few standout recipes, Kenjiro highlights Martino Gamper’s take on Ginger Passatelli in Brodo, an Italian dish that “makes inventive use of a potato masher”; Goshka Macuga, who shared a recipe for Chlodnik, a beetroot soup from her childhood in Poland; and artist practice Åbäke’s submission of Hackney Nagashi Somen, a cold noodle soup typically served flowing downhill through a whole village in Japan. The studio has even created their own miniature version in their studio, and Kenjiro made it for the Hato team at their last studio lunch. Though, Ken’s favourite recipe is a simple one from the Japanese artist and good friend of the studio Himaa. “In typically minimal fashion, he shared a recipe for hot water, he drinks it every day in winter, and recommends it heartily,” Kenjiro says.
Brimming with a whole broadchurch of recipes – from full blown meals to simple sandwiches – alongside a range of photographs and drawings from the contributors, and all housed in a beautifully designed book, Studio Cookbook Three is a perfect amalgamation of everything that makes Hato the studio it is. “The book itself is a meeting of two worlds: the rigour and format of the traditional cookbook, and the playfulness, fun and experimentation of the artists who feature in it,” ends Kenjiro.
Read on for an exclusive recipe from the cookbook.
The Veggie Reuben – Isabel & Helen
Our Veggie Reuben toastie is a firm studio favourite. Out toastie maker has been with us since day one at Isabel & Helen and has become a reliable old friend after eight years of service. Now that our studio is around the corner from The Dusty Knuckle the toastie has improved tenfold, as now we have the most perfect bread to bookend the Veggie Reuben. The whole studio eats together and we usually take it in turns to cook... The Veggie Reuben usually makes an appearance on a day when we’ve met a deadline or we’ve got something to celebrate.
2 slices sourdough bread
3 mushrooms, sliced
2 gherkins, sliced
3 slices gouda
- Pre-heat sandwich toaster. 2. Butter one side of each piece of bread and flip. 3. Spread a layer of mustard onto both slices of bread. 4. Add the mushrooms to one slice followed by the gherkins, sauerkraut and gouda. 5. Press sandwich together. 6. Place in sandwich toaster until melting and golden brown, or fry in a hot oven for a couple of minutes on each side.
GalleryHato: Studio Cookbook (Copyright © Hato, 2023)
Front Cover (Copyright © Hato, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.