Let's Eat

Lox of bagel-based art from Kate Jenkins to celebrate Panzer's 75th

The St John's Wood delicatessen has been celebrating its big birthday with some clever knits


Orange slices of smoked salmon zigzagged with creamy white lines of fat; tiny, dark green anchovies; pale green slices of creamy avocado and golden bagels dotted with sesame and poppy seeds.

Not unusual in a deli, but these are all made from lambswool, crocheted and knitted by artist Kate Jenkins and her team. And they are on the shelves at Panzer’s Delicatessen in the leafy London suburb of St John’s Wood.

The bagels and their toppings have been commissioned by owner, David Josephs to celebrate the food store’s 75th anniversary and, despite a high price ticket — a fully loaded smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with a couple of toppings will set you back £565 — they are selling. Not exactly like hot cakes, but Jenkins has received several orders from locals and from bagel lovers as far afield as New York who have spied her woolly wonders on Instagram.

“I can’t believe the response. It’s just been overwhelming” said the artist, who qualified in Fashion and Textiles from the University of Brighton in 1995. Jenkins worked in fashion for 12 years, but in 2007, to promote her label, Cardigan, turned her attentions to crocheted and knitted art. Her first exhibition was entitled Comfort Food (based on the UK’s favourite foods) and included fish and chips and sardines on toast.

A smorgasbord of tasty treats followed, including a greasy spoon café in a West End gallery; a crochet supermarket and life-sized entire fish counter (Kate’s Plaice the Stitchmongery) which featured some more traifey takes on sequinned lobsters and prawns plus other regular fish.

This year has seen her produce an entire bakery, including ‘cross-ants’ (with suitably scowly expressions), bagels and patisserie, an exhibition that already travelled to Hong Kong and which will be in Chichester later this year.

Josephs had received a woolly tin of sardines and contacted her to commission something to celebrate his food hall’s 75th. “My background is in design and I wanted to find something foodie that would bring a smile to people’s faces.”

“I asked what they were famous for” said Kate “and David said bagels. I’d done the knitted bakery, so I knew how to do them.”

And off she went off to create four flavours of bagels — poppy seed; sesame seed; plain and an everything bagel — which has all the toppings on it. “I needed to find the right techniques to get the desired effect. I found tiny black beads that were perfect for poppy seeds.”

She also created a range of the delicatessen’s most popular toppings — salmon; cream cheese; cucumber, tomatoes; onion, rocket, egg (and cress), avocado, lemon and rocket.

The only one she had some issues with was the salmon: “It was hard to get the colour of the wool right. David was quite particular about that. I ended up having to mix two colours to get this shade.”

Buyers can create their own bagels — first picking the bagel type, and then choosing up to five fillings. “I love the interactive aspect of people being able to choose. With art, it’s nice for people to see things on the wall but especially so if they’ve had a part in creating it.”

Once buyers have chosen their toppings, Jenkins sews them together, sends them a photograph to check they are happy, before hand stitching them onto the card and framing them.

It won’t be the cheapest bagel you ever buy, but it will definitely last the longest.

See more from Kate Jenkins here.

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