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While I did not train as a chef, people assume that I must be quite skilled considering that I am one of the founders of Great British Chefs. Really, I am a marketing guy who found himself in the wonderful world of premium food. Since an early age, I always believed the mantra ‘you get what you pay for’ and in the world of food, this is very true. I remember my father getting frustrated by my desire to buy the most expensive version of things when we were out food shopping, but I think over time he has come around to my view.
I cook a lot at home and having two kids under the age of five means I try and get them to eat a whole range of foods. Going shopping for food at a local store (whether near my home or when travelling) is, for me, one of life’s great pleasures. I recently visited Suffolk Food Hall which I thought was amazing and a great example of what independent shopping should look like. I am very lucky to live in Highbury, North London, and am spoilt for choice in terms of where I can source my ingredients from. The food scene in London has changed so much over the last 10 years and we now have a range of quality butchers and fishmongers in the area – not to mention a whole host of farmers’ markets and other specialist outlets.
My go-to butcher is Turner & George which I honestly believe sells the best meat in London (and I have visited a good few). They have an incredible range of steaks from both the UK and further afield alongside an ever-expanding choice of sausages. Their goat is amazing, as are their herb-fed chickens. The people that work there are very knowledgeable, charming and always keen to flag some of the unique things that they have in stock. I am trying to eat more and more fish and vegetables during the week and I love nipping into to Moxon’s on my lunch break. They often have gurnard, large juicy scallops, frozen octopus, whole hake, sushi-grade salmon and even weird delicacies like goose barnacles!
My other greatest indulgences are some of the amazing shops in and around Highbury Barn. I love the selection available at Highbury Vintners and I am spoilt to have a Le Fromagerie on my doorstep, which sells an incredible range of artisan cheeses kept in perfect condition. Da Mario is an old-school Italian deli that has a huge range of imported Italian ingredients, fresh pasta and great panettones at Christmas. I also love going to Spencer’s Bakery with the kids on Saturday morning in Stoke Newington or to my all-time favourite bakery E5, which is a little further away but worth the journey. The farmers’ market at Chapel Market is fantastic and hosts fantastic seasonal produce on a weekly basis. The truth is that shopping for food is one of my favourite activities. Luckily, I have somehow found a wife who agrees and, to date, our children have not rebelled!
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