Ren Behan is a British food writer of Polish descent. Her father fought with the 1st Polish Armoured Division during the Second World War before settling in the UK. Ren grew up within the Polish diasporic community in Manchester and studied at the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies. Regular visits to family in Poland ensured that she remained very closely linked to her parents’ home country.
In 2010 Ren took a break from her career as a criminal lawyer to start a family and, having always been interested in home cooking, she used the time to study for a Diploma in Food Journalism. Having gained a distinction, she started a food blog called My Polish Kitchen and her modern approach to Polish cooking quickly drew attention. Her recipes featured in delicious magazine, The Foodie Bugle and BBC Good Food. She wrote a column for JamieOliver.com and gradually built up a global following through social media and her website renbehan.com.
During her travels around Poland, Ren was influenced by the new wave of flavours becoming fashionable at eateries and farmers’ markets. Her debut book, WILD HONEY AND RYE: MODERN POLISH RECIPES (Pavilion Books in the UK, 2017 and Interlink Books in the USA, 2018) reflects this contemporary interpretation of the established cuisine. The book was a finalist in the Eastern European category of the Gourmand World Book Awards and Ren received a starred review from the Library Journal in America for her “refreshingly contemporary Polish cookbook, packed with appealing recipes that embrace modern and global influences.”
Ren is a great advocate of modern Polish food, working hard in her quest to highlight its versatility. She champions the flavours and key techniques in Polish cooking such as preserving, fermenting and pickling, by hosting regular book events, food demos and supper clubs. Ren is happiest when making her childhood favourite, Pierogi, with her kids at home, or serving Bigos to big crowds and when marking Polish occasions such as ‘Doughnut Day!’
Ren’s baking book THE SWEET POLISH KITCHEN will be published by HarperCollins in 2023.
She lives at her home in St Albans with her husband, Ed, and three children.