In The Kitchen with: Alexandra Dudley – Punch Foods

By Jayne Robinson

The delicious super seeds are maing a welcome appearance on the Frame Cafe menu. We had some seedy chats with Punch Foods founder Alex on all things seeds, seeds and well, seeds. Did someone say Snickers Toast?

Feeling seedy? Forks at the ready.

From Monday the 7th of March for two weeks, Punch Foods artisan seed mixes will be popping up on the Frame Shoreditch and Frame Kings Cross cafe menus.

Think snickers toast, cinnamon spice super-seeded acai bowls, chilli smoke pimped avocado on toast and fuel bowls pimped with some extra super seeds lovin’.

The best bit, they’re 100% Organic, gluten & dairy free, suitable for vegans and bloody delicious!

You had us at healthy ‘Chocolate Brownie’, Alex.

Founder Alexandra Dudley will be at #FrameKingsCross on the evening of Monday the 7th of March to feed you seeds, talk about seeds and have generally good times.

How did Punch Foods come about?
Punch Foods was a long time coming and I knew that I wanted to work in food early on. But a lot came from my art student years and the frustration of not being able to find anything tasty and substantial to snack on, that wasn’t high in sugar and additives. A lot of the bars around then although being natural still had a very high sugar content and didn’t leave me feeling great. Most of the time I just went for a real brownie. I felt the market was really lacking authentic, nutritious snacks that actually tasted good. So I decided to make my own.

Why ‘Punch’?
I went through so many names trying to find the perfect one. Some of them were terrible. I can still remember the day I decided on punch. I was stressing about the right name and thought ‘i just need a name that had punch’ and that was that! Lightbulb.

What’s the deal with seeds in a tube? We want to know how they’ll change our lives, really though.
Well, I used to run round all over the place with little flimsy packets of seeds in my bag, tied up with old hairbands, and they would always escape all over the bottom of my bag. Back then it was called my emergency seed bag and my friends and family alike would tease me often enough. Up until we were stuck in traffic or on a tube and they all wanted some of the seeds. Seeds are great to nibble on and I especially loved being able to have a bit here and bit there depending on when I wanted but little ziplock sand plastic bags weren’t practical or sexy so that’s where the tube came in. It meant that the super seeds offered both substance as well as style.

Flavour combination fails? What should we tell the kids NOT to try at home?
You know what, I actually love the weird and wacky flavour combinations. I made a tamari and chocolate combo once and I though it was incredible but my siblings thought it tasted like sick so I shelved that one.

How do you stay active?
I mainly stick to yoga, which I practice most days. I’m what they call ‘hug frequency’ so I need to get some regular zen in my life. I meditate daily too which had a huge effect. I also walk as much as I can and generally walk in every day to my office in Soho. I’m split between Dalston and Parson’s Green so it’s a good distance wherever I’m staying. A recent hip injury meant I had to reduce my cardio but if ever I’m feeling sluggish there’s nothing like a good spin to wake me right up.

Talk us through the process for developing new flavours
Oh, hours in my kitchen working with flavour combinations, research, brainstorming. Often a new recipe will just come to me in a flash and I will get into the kitchen to play around until it works.

Talk us through the Punch Foods X Frame Menu
We’re basically super-seeding the fabulous Frame menu! It’s pretty awesome already, we’re just giving it a bit of punch so to speak. Think acai bowls with Cinnamon Spice, Snicker toast with Coconut Brownie, smashed avo with Chilli Smoke. All my favourites.

Talk us through a not-so-typical 9-5 in the world of Alex
This literally changes day to day. I wake up at 5.30 everyday. People think it’s crazy but I have always been an early bird- try to get me to focus on anything past 6.00pm and unless I can eat or drink it you won’t get very far. I get moving straight away whether it be a few stretches before walking in, a class, or yoga in my living room. Then it’s hot water and lemon, breakfast listing to the BBC and then whatever the day brings. I try to keep Mondays and Tuesdays to purely office days and keep Wednesday for meetings. Thursday’s I’m often out and about promoting the super seeds or visiting stockists to make sure they are happy. The rest of the time you’ll find me messing about in the kitchen and every evening I get to spend at home I will generally be using my boyfriend as a guinea pig to try whatever recipes I’m working on.

HPE, White Oak Gravity Bra, £50

HPE, White Oak Leggings, £85

If I wasn’t ‘Seeding’, I’d be…a country singer on the road. It’s still my secret dream. At one point I was picked up by a big music agent and it was all go go, write this, go support them, go on tour and back… I had just bought a guitar and kind of freaked. I was still at art school at the time and the manicured effect of the music scene scared me a little. Now I keep singing to the shower, road trips and whenever I have had a drink and spot a live band. I can’t help but get up there.

What’s your funniest super seeds moment?
Well, I certainly didn’t find it that funny at the time, but I used to make all the seeds myself in this little industrial kitchen, and labelled, packed and delivered them all. Eventually I hired an assistant to help and on his first day I had to change the label gun. This label fun just wasn’t having it and refused to work. After about an hour of trying to refill it whilst sitting at the top of the stairs I finally got it, only for the labels to unroll all the way down the stairs! I lost it and ended up practically screaming, then crying, then laughing. It was the poor guys first day and he looked at me like I was insane. Luckily he had sisters and also label gun friendly hands. I look back on it now and laugh but label guns still give me the heebie jeebies.

Describe Punch in three words
Exciting, terrifying, a roller coaster!

Describe yourself in three words
Passionate, stubborn and probably a little kooky.

The theme song to my life is…Oh tough one. It varies but one of my all time favourite songs is My Way by Sinatra. It makes me laugh, cry, feel tiny and strong all at the same time. Led Zeppelins Whole lotta love is another one I like to walk down the street to. Does wonders if you need a bit of a boost pre scary meetings.

I’m currently reading…I’m actually about to start ‘we are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler but I’m also about a third of the way through Phillip Kerr’s March Violets which is a series of war time spy novels…My boyfriend loves them and I promised I would read at least one.

On the weekend, you’ll find me…baking, at the cinema or hitting borough market.

When I say I’m busy, what I really mean is…I’m watching Harry Potter with my boyfriend, We just marathoned all of the films. Sometimes it has to be done.

My favourite instagram accounts are…
@humansofny – which are snap shots and stories of New Yorkers. Some are hugely powerful. @gkstories for the food and @boobsessential which is a friend of mine with an awesome product for an awesome cause. She makes wonderful oil to love your boobies with and look out for lumps. Breast cancer is a terrible thing and many people I love have been affected by it in someway so I think it is great that she is raising awareness in such a beautiful way. I advise everyone to go check it out.

I hate…mango. YUCK. Everyone loves it and I just think it is weird and slimy and kind of hairy. Sorry but gross.

But love…peanut M&Ms. I am a firm believer in balance and if I feel in the mood they are definitely my drug of choice. Any time I am hungover they are my saviour. I can’t stand milk chocolate of any kind and am a 100% girl which most people think is crazy but peanut m and ms and I is a love affair that will never end.

I love seeds more than…swede
But the one thing I love more than seeds is…watermelon especially those baby ones that you can just cut in half and use as a bowl whilst you eat with a spoon. YUM.

And my guilty pleasure is…eating whole bars of nutty chocolate and getting into my pyjamas at 4.00pm. Sometimes there is nothing better

I really need to start…organising my to do lists. My desk looks like a patchwork quilt of post it notes. I really try but I just seem to accumulate them.

And should really stop…looking at my phone post 8.00pm. I am getting better at it and when I do I sleep so much better and calm down. My boyfriend and I are trying to implement a no phone time.


You’re also an artist, why the move?
I think it’s a creative thing. I still paint as well as running Punch, although I haven’t had much time this past year. I still write quite a bit and sing too. I have heaps of I phone notes and post its covered in ideas for new work that I am itching to do. Making art for me isn’t something I can just do, its more like something that builds up and has to come out. But even whilst I was studying as well as the first year after when I was spending most of my time in my studio (I had a little space in the V22 building or ‘old biscuit factory’ in Bermondsey) I knew I wanted to start Punch. Many people told me you can’t do both and its true that each one requires your entire focus but there will come a time when I can slightly let loose of the reigns of Punch and will be free to paint a bit more. My dream is to have a big kitchen and a big studio where I can just flit between painting and cooking. I try to keep Punch creative too. I found myself missing my creative roots and all the fascinating conversations I had so I am really trying to bring the two together. I am actually hosting some life drawing sessions next month. Naked people, wine and some good food. Come! The dates are going out soon but I am hoping it will be a great way to bring together people who have an interest in keeping well but also keeping real and being creative.

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