Nicola Lamb is a recipe developer, consultant and pastry chef based in London. She trained in some of London and New York's top bakeries, including Dominique Ansel, Ottolenghi, Happy Endings, and Little Bread Pedlar. We recently spoke with Nicola about her new baking bible, SIFT, which not only breaks down the key elements and techniques of baking with boundless enthusiasm and beautiful illustrations, but also offers over 100 delicious recipes.

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 Can you tell us a bit about you and your love for baking, particularly pastry?

To me, baking has always been a direct pathway to joy! Whether that’s my own, or someone else's. It feels so special to be able to impact someone else’s day and baked goods really do have an incomparable ability to make people smile. Who doesn’t love a slice of birthday cake, or a really good crumbly shortbread in the afternoon. Before I was a professional pastry chef, I worked in an office and we always used to buy a tin of shortbread when we were having a hard day and it ALWAYS lifted the mood. Pastry is powerful! I think that’s why I ended up wanting to bake full time and now to pass on everything I’ve learned.

What have you enjoyed most about deep-diving into your new cookbook, SIFT?

It was really fun to work out how to display critical information, which could otherwise appear dense, in an enticing and enjoyable way. I really want people to be excited by the level of detail you can go into when baking, rather than be scared! I want it to feel like I’m there in the kitchen with you, cheering you on, commiserating you on any challenges and encouraging you to keep going with your baking journey.

How does Falcon feature within SIFT, and how does it contribute to a recipe?

The most amazing chicken pie, a collaborative effort of a recipe with Rosie Mackean. It’s got a fat lattice top (a fattice, if you will) and caraway seeds too. I use Falcon all the time at home - I make lots of mini test bakes in shallow pie dishes, as well as roasting fruit, or small batches of crumbs. Definitely one of my most used bits of kit.

Do you have a favourite go-to bake for the Summer months?

Granitas are such low stress and high reward! But also anything you can throw into a bag to take to the park - savoury buns or a tear apart loaf (I love the Spring Onion Babka in my book and the olive oil brie-oche!) are winners.

Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?

There’s this amazing little business called the Dalston Egg Shop that delivers the most incredible fresh eggs to me, via bike, every Friday. Really top stuff. I love seeing a small business thriving like that - they’ve now got a much bigger bike as they’re delivering more and more.

Photography: Lin Pei Pei and Sam Harris.


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