Sometimes you’ve gotta get out of that ready meal cycle and whip up a tasty dinner to soothe your soul. There’s so many ways to search for inspo, some good and some not even worth eyeballing. We knew we were in need of an absolute KWEEN to teach us the ropes, and this is where Sophie Mann aka @mannsgotmunch comes in. Expect monthly recipes with a pinch of sass, a dash of style and a whole heap of #FOODPORN. Of course, you lot need to know who’s food so we delved into her mind to find out what makes her tick.

Give us a bit of info on your background and how you started Mann’s Got Munch.

Growing up I was surrounded by different cultures and cuisines. We lived in a diverse block of flats in Isleworth, so as soon as you walked into the block you would be hit by spice. My mum would go around to our neighbours to learn certain dishes, especially Pakistani food, and those recipes have been passed down to me. Our dear friend Sato cooked the most amazing Cypriot and Lebanese food. I used to get so gassed going round for her BBQs, a lot of her methods of cooking are implemented in what I do today.  I come from a family of hearty cooks. Mum’s super northern so the brown food is a weekly occurrence, with stews, dumplings, pies, corned beef hash…you get the gist. My boyfriend calls me ‘the fake Italian’ as part of my dad’s side is Italian but he’s the cockniest geezer you will ever meet and can’t cook for toffee. But we LOVE Italian food.

I have been obsessed with cooking shows for as long as I can remember. GoodFood was my fave channel, and when I was a nipper I used to dash home from school before my mum could catch me in her kitchen doing my pretend cooking show. Each week was the same signature dish – my mini pizza made out of bread, tomato paste and frankfurter (lol). I’ve levelled up since then trust me.

As soon as I left home for uni that’s when I really had the freedom to experiment with food. Hosting dinner parties with friends, fake Come Dine With Mes and sharing recipes on social for fun. However it wasn’t until about a year ago that my pals shoved a rocket up my arse to make an official site for my recipes and so Mann’s Got Munch was born. 

It’s been exciting to see people engage with my little side hustle – having people from overseas cook my recipes gets me gassed. It’s a labour of love and it simply stems from being passionate about food. I’m forever learning through recipe books, people I follow, people I know and places I visit.

With Mann’s Got Munch’s growth I have been able to help charities through fundraising. Recently I collaborated with Surplus to Supper, who are a sick charity bridging the gap between food waste and food poverty in my area. We worked together over the school holidays feeding families in need and I’m currently developing recipes for some exciting projects with them in the future.

I love entertaining and feeding people so Mann’s Got Munch events and private dining launched just before Rona really kicked in. My pal Liv joined the team and we managed to squeeze in a few private events but the aim is to do more of this with pop-ups, supper clubs and private dinners, and to collaborate with artists, musicians and other foodies to bring you some lively events. Hold tight.

You’re heading to a desert island, what’s your final meal?

My final meal would have to be what I fancy eating right now and to look a boujie bitch I’ll take 20 slippery oysters with various toppings to start. Tragic how I call myself a cook but I literally had my first oyster last year…embarrassing. For main, some kind of filled pasta with plenty of parm and a side of focaccia and olives. For pud it would have to be banana fritters with coconut or vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce, I’m hooked on this combo – recipe coming soon! But if you asked me this tomorrow it would be completely different I’m sure.

What are your fave foodie accounts at the moment?

@Telltalefood – So bloody wholesome it’s sickening.
@Carolinagelen – Reels for days. I want to lick my screen.
@Thomas_straker – Most defo food I want to eat.

Which three ingredients can you not live without?

Life would be miserable without these things: butter, extra virgin olive oil and cheese. I have a criminal amount of butter in my diet. Come 10pm I cant get to the bread-bin quick enough, lathering crumpets with it all dripping down my chops. It’s my ride or die. 

Describe your biggest cooking disaster.

This one isn’t really cooking but I was asked by Stroodles (a pasta straw company I work with to supply my events) to create a summer cocktail with their pasta straw on display for some promo. So I thought I’d go above and beyond and make a video. I had never used a cocktail shaker before but I decided on a gin, rhubarb and raspberry cocktail, and what a beautiful summer’s day it was to wear my lovely white dress. On my first attempt of recording the shaker exploded onto the table. Second attempt I was waving my arms all over the place and then it finally exploded all over my white dress. All was not lost; to salvage the situation I managed to present the cocktail with a summer backdrop to at least upload some content after the video failure. Later that evening when I went to upload the promo picture there was no pasta straw in the cocktail. Moral of the story is don’t ask me to do your promo. It was so tragic I had to save to my stories so by all means see for yourselves, it’s under ‘COCKTAIL’.