Jack Monroe is a food writer and anti-poverty campaigner. Born in Southend on Sea, she joined the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in 2007 to work in their control room. She left in November 2011, unable to work the night shifts as a single parent to a then 20 month old son.
Jack started writing her blog, A Girl Called Jack, in February 2012, in response to a local councillor who claimed that ‘druggies, drunks and single mums are ruining the High Street.’ What started as a local politics blog developed into budget food and recipes, which were picked up with interest by the national press as she detailed living with her son on a food budget of just £10 a week. She describes the Daily Telegraph article by Xanthe Clay, ‘My 49p Lunch With A Girl Called Jack’, as the moment that changed her life.
Jack had a keen interest in cooking at school, but in her own words, ‘apart from one D grade GCSE at the age of 16, I’ve never really had any formal food education. I just cook stuff, eat stuff and write about stuff.’
Jack is an active campaigner, fronting a petition with Unite, The Trussell Trust and The Mirror demanding politicians debate the causes of foodbank use and hunger in Britain. Within 4 days the petition had secured 100,000 signatures, and the debate was held in the House Of Commons three weeks later. She is an ambassador for Oxfam, from being a case study in their April 2013 report ‘Walking The Breadline’, to travelling to Tanzania to learn about women and agriculture.
Jack is an out lesbian woman, and in 2014 was listed in The Independent On Sunday’s Pink List at number 19. She has appeared on the front cover of Diva magazine, and contributed to several issues. She came out publicly, in an article in the Huffington Post on London Pride day in 2013.
She won the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Award for ‘inspiring people to enjoy, experiment and explore food’, the Red Magazine ‘Hot Women’ award for her blog, and the YMCAs ‘Courage And Inspiration’ award. She also featured in a Sainsburys television campaign in January 2014.
Her seventh book Thrifty Kitchen is coming out in January 2023 and contains over 120 brand-new, delicious, low-cost recipes, plus household tricks guaranteed to save you money.