Cookbook Close-Up: ‘From Beder’s Kitchen’

17 Jun 2021
4 min read
Beder charity has partnered with the globe’s best chefs, cooks and foodies to create a stellar cookbook dedicated to fundraising for mental health, especially suicide prevention. Titled “From Beder’s Kitchen”, the one-of-a-kind cookbook is full of recipes and reflections from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Yotam Ottolengho, Atul Kochhar, Romy Gill and more. 

The cookbook has four separate chapters, of which each covers a different theme. Chapter 1 is titled Start Your Day The Right Way and features delectable breakfast and brunch recipes. Chapter 2 is titled Happy Gut, Happy Life and is filled with nutritious and healthy recipes. Chapter 3 shares a healthier take on ‘fast food’ that can be made in less than an hour, Chapter 4 – Soul Food – is packed with crowd-pleasers. The final chapter is all about the sweetest of treats, with delicious dessert and baking recipes.

The diversity of recipes in the cookbook is particularly lovely, from making zingy kimchi to traditional scones and tahini schnitzels, the selection of recipes covers a variety of cuisines, with each dish as delicious as the next. FOUR speaks to Beder’s founder Razzak Mirjan to find out more about the charity and the story behind the cookbook.

Interview with Beder’s founder, Razzak Mirjan

Tell us a little bit about the charity?

Beder is a charity dedicated to softly raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention. I lost my brother, Beder, aged 18 after he unexpectedly took his own life. I have since been motivated to normalise the conversation around these societal issues in order to overcome the fear and stigma surrounding them.

Suicide is preventable; not inevitable, and we can all play our part in raising awareness around these important issues. I believe it starts by always making clear to those around you that it is ok not to be ok and struggling with your mental health is not something to be ashamed about as you are certainly not alone. The effect of checking in with those around you, having a conversation with someone and sharing what is on your mind is unbelievable and can save lives.

Beder is a charity with this in mind and aims to raise awareness through exciting partnerships and events; expert advice, seen through our relationships with Young Minds and Samaritans; to harness specialist knowledge and also to promote these charities too.

How did you get involved with the charity, and why are you so passionate about this cause?

I founded Beder in November 2019 in memory of my younger brother, Beder Mirjan, who sadly took his own life at the age of 18 in April 2017. Beder has been set up as a family to do good in his name but it is much more than a family charity – it is a platform for us all to play our part.

I have always been involved in fundraising whether through running marathons or organising events to support causes close to my heart but, when we lost my brother, it was clear my focus would be on mental health and suicide prevention.

I am passionate about these causes for obvious reasons but I believe we all have the power to change the narrative and overcome the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide prevention so we are taking a unique approach to softly raise awareness whilst providing opportunities for us all to play our part.

What makes Beder’s approach different?

Our unique approach integrates exciting events and initiatives to softly raise awareness and open up the conversation around mental health and suicide in different ways to show how, hopefully, simple conversations in natural environments can save lives.

What would you say are the charity’s core philosophies and ultimate goals?

Beder has two main goals and philosophies.

  1. To raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention through a variety of exciting partnerships and initiatives that will incorporate education, wellness and recreation events and activities.
  2. To provide opportunities and inspiration to young people. Beder aims to ensure our events are accessible to all and that they can inspire whilst giving people the chance to get to know the individual behind the social media following/profession as we are all human and have to proactively look after our mental health.

Tell us more about Beder’s recent cookbook, and why a cookbook?

Our first cookbook is, to some extent, a product of the coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s first lockdown. When Beder’s in-person events were all cancelled, we had to move our work online by hosting events such as live cooking classes with a range of chefs on social media.

More than a hundred foodies responded when we reached out about the concept of From Beder’s Kitchen, submitting a host of recipes and ideas with genuine enthusiasm and a desire to open up the conversation around mental health. We chose 90 recipes to feature in the book, and many of these came with stories generously shared by their authors, from personal experiences to words of advice.

Tell us more about the featured chefs and the of experience working with them?

There are so many amazing contributors and recipes in From Beder’s Kitchen which is why this cookbook and project is so special. From Beder’s Kitchen includes head and executive chefs at some of the UK’s leading restaurants; MasterChef winners; TV chefs; food bloggers; nutritionists; best-selling authors; mental health advocates; and a Great British Bake Off winner.

Some of my favourite recipes include Strawberry Cinnamon Toast by Fiona Beckett (Chapter 1), Morning Elixir by Joudie Kalla or Gutsy Muffins by David Atherton (Chapter 2), Yoghurt Pizza by Mark Tuttiett or Firecracker Chicken Poppers by Sabrina Butt (Chapter 3), Pomegranate Braised Beef Short Ribs by Dalia Dogmoch Soubra (Chapter 4) and the Buttermilk Banana Bread by Olivia Burt or Sticky Toffee Pudding from Carla Henriques (Chapter 5).

Do you think food and cooking has a positive impact on mental health? How so?

Definitely. From Beder’s Kitchen shows that mental health is something that affects us all, regardless of who we are and what we have achieved, and that we are not alone in our thoughts or struggles.

For many people, cooking or baking is a form of therapy, and research supports the fact that cooking is good for your mental health; it provides an outlet for creative expression, a means for communication and can be an act of mindfulness. Of course, there are other ways to look after our mental health but creating delicious food at home for family, friends, loved ones or ourselves is a good place to start!

If there is one message/emotion/thought that you hope this cookbook delivers, what would it be?

It would be to reach out to those around you and don’t take even the simplest moments for granted as you never know what the future holds. It can be difficult to talk about someone who has taken their own life or know what to say when someone brings their name up in conversation. That’s understandable, but as we continue to mention their name or talk about the good times that we shared, we also give others the strength to share what’s on their mind.

Find out more about Beder charity and purchase the “From Beder’s Kitchen” cookbook on their website.