Newton & Pott: a Kiwi concoction made in London

Kylee NewtonIf you were in any doubt about the vibrancy of the London art and craft scene, look no further than people like Kylee Newton. This bubbly young woman is the perfect incarnation of an alternative lifestyle that Londoners are slowly but surely embracing. But how does one go from assisting the winner of Turner Prize 2000, photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, to making home-made delicious chutneys? The answer is going back to one’s roots and to what is truly the essence of life.

DSCF5495 copyKylee Newton grew up in New Zealand (hence the feijoa and tamarillo connection in her chutneys) and went to school at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland. Pretty quickly though, she felt limited by the New Zealand art scene and decided to hop on a plane to London. That was the right thing to do. Though her specialisation was in screen printing, Kylee Newton had always had a passion for photography. Thanks to a personal connection, she got introduced to German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and very rapidly became his personal printer, developing his photographs using an entirely analogue process. This fruitful collaboration lasted ten years but, every now and then, Wolfgang Tillmans toyed with the idea of moving back to Berlin where he had kept a studio all those years. When he finally made his decision, it was high time for Kylee to move on to the next chapter of her life.

Tamarillo with Fig'sKylee grew up in a family of hands-on artists. Her mother would make a delicious fruit syrup out of tamarillo that she would let sit over night and, now and then, Kylee and her sisters would decide on a meal and prepare it for the family. Once in London, she started to make chutneys on the side for fun. She would give them away at Christmas to her friends. Her reference at the time was Edmonds Cookery Book, the New Zealand cookery bible. But soon enough, she experimented with her very own recipes and found that everybody was enthusiastic about them. Thus, it’s only natural that, a year ago, Kylee turned to making her own jams and chutneys when Wolfgang Tillmans finally relocated to Berlin.

DSCF5505 copyAlthough, Kylee loves the idea of foraging for fresh produce in the streets of London and its parks, she is very much aware of the health and safety issues attached to any food-related business. So, she keeps her foraging discoveries for her close friends: at her wedding, the guests were treated to elderflower cordial upon their arrival and her friends are familiar with her soup or lasagne made of nettles hand-picked in Victoria Park.

For her home-made chutney business, Newton & Pott, she sources the best in fresh produce from Spitalfields Market. She started by making Tomato and Apple Chutney-great on a white bread, cheddar and ham sandwich-then came the exotic touch with her signature Tamarillo Chutney (delicious with poached eggs) and Feijoa Chutney. This summer, her customers couldn’t get enough of her Strawberry & Pimm’s jam. As winter approaches and Christmas draws close, she will be making more Beetroot and Blood Orange Chutney which is delicious with steak, chips and coleslaw or a Stilton. All in all, she has seven or eight flavours and makes about fifteen to thirty jars at a time. Things have picked up and she finds it hard to keep up demand.

DSCF5635 copy copyWhen I met her, she was sitting down at her kitchen table with a pot full of figs that had come all the way from Turkey. Her ethos being “waste not, want not”, Kylee had picked figs no longer in their prime for the average consumer but perfectly delicious for her Fig and Ginger Chutney. Her commitment to sustainability means that nothing gets wasted. Apples are used for the Apple Chutney and the skins and cores are later used for the preparation of Apple Cider and fermenting strawberries (from her jam) are used for her strawberry vinegar. Having recently come back from Mexico, she experimented with a Chilli Mango Salsa Chutney: the chilli takes off the sickly sweet edge of the mango while spicing it up. Morocco is another country that she would like to visit to get bountiful colours in her eyes and spices on her taste buds.

If you want to sample her chutneys and meet this lovely person, be sure to get to Broadway Market on Saturdays. Her chutneys are also stocked by Shepherds Markets at Cardinal Place every other Thursday and at One New Change, the first Wednesday of the month, Climpson & Son Cafe (that serves an excellent coffee), DeBeauvoir Deli, Oliver’s Wholefoods, Stepney City Farm, CurioCabal Cafe and the list keeps getting longer!

These days, between the chopping, cutting and the making of her secret concoctions, Kylee does not find much time for anything else but now and then she escapes to Dalston Yard in Hackney where the most delicious and spicy food is served by the Street Feast vendors on Friday and Saturday nights. Having her hands in more than one “Pott”, Kylee also helps out with the composition of bouquets of flowers at JamJar Flowers.

That’s it for now. I am off on a hunt for a mature Cheddar to accompany the Fig and Ginger Chutney that she kindly offered me.

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