Artist’s Palate: Gillian Wearing’s lentil, potato and leek soup

Concrete bowl and spoon
Concrete bowl, £114 for set of three, by Stephan Schulz, for Helena Leba Softes, from Twentytwentyone. ‘Rundes Modell’ spoon, £126 for set of six, by Josef Hoffmann, for Alessi. ‘Bahama CS’ fabric, £102 per m, by Nya Nordiska. Food: Iain Graham
(Image credit: John Short)

In the two decades since she won the Turner Prize, Gillian Wearing has placed family at the heart of her work, such as her series of self-portraits in which she dons eerily realistic silicone masks resembling her own relations. So it comes as no surprise that Wearing has selected a hearty family dish for us. ‘My favourite dinner when I was a child was my mother’s vegetable soup,’ she says. The original recipe called for lamb, but having been vegetarian for many years, she finds this meat-free variation ‘fills that nostalgic food gap’.


Onion, leeks, olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, red lentils, potatoes, vegetable stock, black pepper


1. Slice the onion and leeks and fry them in olive oil for a few minutes. When softened, add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

2. Wash the red lentils and add to the other ingredients.

3. Roughly cut up the potatoes; they can still be in their skins. Add to the pan.

4. Pour in vegetable stock (for further flavour you can use two stock cubes).

5. Simmer for about 35 minutes until the lentils and potatoes are cooked.

6. Season with black pepper.

NB this is not a liquidised soup.

As originally featured in the December 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*225)


‘Family Stories’ is on view until 7 January 2018. For more information, visit the National Gallery of Denmark website


National Gallery of Denmark
Sølvgade 48-50
1307 Copenhagen


TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.