Blog Tour & Author Feature: The Cooking Club Detectives by Ewa Jozefkowicz

The Cooking Club Detectives Ewa Jozefkovicz

I am honoured to be hosting one of the final stops on the tour for The Cooking Club Detectives, the fourth book by the astonishingly talented Ewa Jozefkowicz and in her trademark style lures you in with contemporary childhood drama before revealing layer by layer deeper issues and truths, in this case those that affect working class childhood and communities.

I am so lucky to be hosting author Ewa Jozefkowicz’ reflections about the importance of ‘Skipton House’, the fictional community centre in The Cooking Club Detectives, as a community social hub and how the work of Magic Breakfast charity inspired this novel.

You can read my review here.

The Cooking Club Detectives Ewa Jozefkovicz

When Erin’s mum gets a promotion they move out of their tiny North London flat to a small village in the commuter belt, only for her mum to end up being made redundant shortly after but aspire to finally work in food. 

Eager to share her passion for food, Erin joins the Cooking Club at the local community centre with new friends Tanya, Sam and Frixos but to their dismay they find the owner is selling up and their beloved centre where generations meet, learn skills, provide childcare and a food bank will soon close. 

Can the children solve the mystery of who is buying the centre and persuade them to preserve it? 

Throughout are the recipes to recreate at home, all are tasty, affordable and achievable not just healthy and many children will be chomping at the bit to try them out at home. 

But this book is about the power of community and the courage to stand up and make a difference. Ewa was inspired to write this long before Marcus Rashford rightly made it a hot topic, as in her ‘other life’ Ewa saw the impact of food poverty and childhood hunger in her North London school and the positive change that the work of Magic Breakfast made. 

This coupled with the long term decline of government aided social programmes such as Sure Start Centres has shown the impact of community and how the fracturing and dissolution of support schemes perpetuates and festers the problems and how despite the efforts to ‘fill the gap’ more must be done to preserve the immeasurable value that community hubs bring. 

Ewa Jozefkowicz on ‘Skipton House’

The Cooking Club Detectives is the story of Erin, Tanya, Frixos and Sam, who come from different walks of life, but who are brought together by their school cooking club. The club is initially held at school, but later moves to Skipton House, the local community centre.

Skipton may look ramshackle, but it is soon at the heart of Erin’s life. When the building is suddenly threatened with closure, she and her friends form the Cooking Club Detectives. They are on a mission to find out who the mysterious buyer of the building could be, and to try to save their cooking club and Skipton House too.

The thing about Skipton, is that it’s a lot more to the gang than just a place in which to host the club they love so much. It’s a focal point for the entire community and a safe place where children from across year groups can come together. As Sam explains, ‘I went to daycare there when I was little, so my mum and my grandma could go to work. We used the food bank in the early days, while Mum got back on her feet. Later, I went to football club there, which was great fun, and most importantly it was free – otherwise I would have never been able to go.’

It has been good to read recently about the Mayor’s Fund, aimed at protecting community spaces at risk of closure, but there are still many community centres across the country, which are under threat due to a lack of funding. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on food insecurity, and Magic Breakfast (the charity whose work inspired my story) predicts that  2.3 million children are now affected.

Through The Cooking Club Detectives I wanted to draw attention to the importance of these community spaces, which should never be underestimated. I also wanted to make sure my readers know that they can always ask for help if they need it.

Thank you Ewa for that thoughtful reflection, much like in your writing that you approach the social issues of our time with sensitivity and care. 

I have a more in-depth review here but make sure you check out the other stops on this tour which have included other features from Ewa from Q&As to a list of favourite mystery books and much more!

The Cooking Club Detectives Ewa Jozefkovicz

 The Cooking Club Detectives by Ewa Jozefkowicz is published by Zephyr.

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