Long regarded as one of finest Indian chefs of his generation, Yogesh Datta brings a strong sense of tradition to his cooking yet marries it with just the right sense of modernity and flourish. Born in Shimla, a hill station in northern India, Datta initially honed his expertise at New Delhi’s prestigious Taj Palace Hotel. This was followed by working in Geneva, and then Dubai. From there, Datta arrived to work in London, heading up the kitchens of Tabla, a modern Indian in the Docklands. Thereafter, he went on to open the widely acclaimed fine dining Indian restaurant The Painted Heron, which recently took the accolade of ‘Best Indian Establishment’ at The Food Awards London 2016.
Great heritage and great food... you know what's next.
PLEASE Read on.
It was definitely my mother. She was a great cook and a host. I am from a largish family of 5 siblings as well as many uncles and aunties and other relatives from the extended family where each family meal was like a family feast.
Contrary to Indian culture, as a boy, I was always helping her in the kitchen, even more than my elder sisters!
What is your goal in the business?
Provide proper, healthy and honest Indian food to the Indian food lovers of London in a casual, fun environment, comparable with any other world cuisine and at competitive prices.
Who was your biggest critic when starting?
My first chef I trained under in India, Chef Sandeep Kalia at the Taj Palace Hotel in India. He guided and helped me through the initial baby steps in this eventful culinary journey I started at that hotel 33 years ago!
When did you realise you wanted and could be a major chef in the world?
When I came to London in 1998 and was guided through the culinary demands for London by Iqbal Wahhab of Roast fame at his restaurant Dockmasters House in Docklands. I realized I was in a place where I could let my creativity and flare flow in my dishes.
Where else aside from the UK do you see your restaurant and Cuisine working?
Indian food is addictive, once initiated and exposed to Indian food, one can get hooked to it. At macro level, Indian food is still at its infancy in most other parts of the world, apart from of course India. England and London come the closest in terms of quality of Indian food available outside India. In micro terms, all over England and Scotland, apart from major cities, the quality of Indian food available is still quite bad generally.
"Provide proper, healthy and honest Indian food to the Indian food lovers of London"
2 Major factors :-
1. The power of internet.
2. Advent of smart phones.
All knowledge is now shared over the internet and is available literally on your palms at the touch of a few buttons. You can now ‘google’ anything including the elusive knowledge of spices and Indian food.
Which restaurants in London are your Top 5?
St. John, Farringdon
Chiltern Fire House
A great read and inspiration. I trust you enjoyed it too and we have some new restaurants to try.
I look forward to returning to Chef Dattas restaurants very soon.
Four years ago, his previous boss who he worked for started the London Super Comic Convention (LSCC). The years i have been going have provided a lot of fun with millions of comics being sold, celebrity stars such as Jonathan Ross and Stan Lee and all the famous writers and artists of the comic book world.
Add to this, the hundreds of people who enter into cosplay (costume play) and the photo opportunities are limitless. The LSCC is getting bigger and bigger and fit over a few halls in the London Excel sees in excess of 20,000 people. It is back on in February 2012 for two days and I interviewed one of the owners to see what the plan was for the LSCC, his highlights over the year and what fans can expect in 2016.
Who should go and who will be there?
LSCC is a comic convention that focuses on comics. It should seem redundant to need to emphasise this point but many "comic conventions" focus on celebrities with comic as an after-thought. If you are a comic reader, collector or want to see what comics are about this is the convention to come to:
- LSCC is the UK's comic convention that provides access to many of the industry's best artists and writers and in quantities that no over UK convention can match. LSCC has always focused on bringing creators to the UK that have not been here before. This year we have already announced 28 creators including Frank Cho, Humberto Ramos, Marv Wolfman and Mike Zeck with many more to come.
- For collectors, LSCC is the only show that the main US convention circuit comic dealers come to. This provides collectors with the opportunity to find comics that they can't find elsewhere in the UK.
- For cosplayers, LSCC provides a wide variety of activities from participating in the London Super Costume Championship for the skilled cosplayer to the more relaxed Sneaky Zebra Open Masquerade, to meeting guests who are rarely seen on the UK and a variety of panels focusing on the various elements of cosplay.
- For those looking at comics for the first time there are a wide variety of exhibitors providing access to a wide variety of comic related items from comics, graphic novels, toys, games, jewellery, etc. with items for everyone's budget.
What will be the key events over the two days?
While it may seem that LSCC has a narrow focus it is actually much wider than you can imagine.
- Artist Alley is a must visit with over 130 creators from industry greats such as to self-published writers and artists. You will be able to sample the diverse panorama of the modern comics universe that includes super-heroes, crime noir and many other genres so that there is always something new whether you are a seasoned reader or new to comics.
- A visit to the Exhibitor section is a must. You will find dealers that offer comics for less than £1 to a dealer than has sold an Action #1 for $3.2 million. There will be something for everyone.
- Check the Panel listing. With 3 panel rooms and LSCC's guest list there are panels that provide a rare insight into the world of comics and cosplay.
Our plan was to ensure that LSCC focused for the first 5 years on its core principles – building a comic convention that celebrates both the quality and diversity of comics. Our convention floor reflect this. To take the convention to the next level we need to expand the opportunity to sample the comic medium to those who haven't been aware of how much the medium has grown. The current focus on super-hero films has made the greater population more aware of comic characters but it is our job to ensure that they are aware of the history of comics and their present focus. To do that we will need to grow. New York Comic Convention ("NYCC") is a template for the type of convention we hope LSCC grows into.
Why London and comics?
An easy question at last. Why comics? We are all comic fans. We have been reading and collecting comics for many years. I personally have been reading comics for over 35 years and collecting for over 25 years. To organise a comic convention successfully I believe to have to love the medium. The organisers have been going to comic convention in the US for over 10 years. We decided to create LSCC when we were in a pub discussing which US conventions we would be going to the following year. Conversation went on to why there was a UK convention that matched the US style conventions we enjoyed going to. Unlike the usual pub conversation we decided to do something about it. Why London? To be similar to a US convention you need space to grow and a transport and hotel infrastructure that can manage the substantial number of attendees that will come to the show from the UK and abroad. When looking at locations the ExCel Centre and London was the obvious location if we want to grow to NYCC proportions.
Which edition of the show has been your favourite?
I've enjoyed all 4 renditions to date. I don't particularly have a favourite.
- In 2012 I enjoyed spending the weekend with Stan Lee and seeing that we were right in thinking that the UK has the appetite for a US style convention
- 2013 further reinforced the view that the UK wanted a US style convention as a broader range of creators, exhibitors and publishers came to the show.
- The key for us is seeing that our attendees enjoy the show and that as we continue to grow the show that we ensure that we plan things as efficiently as possible so that our attendees continue to enjoy the show. Long queues don't make happy attendees so good communication, friendly staff and a willingness to help attendees enjoy the show has always been our focus. 2014 and 2015 demonstrated this and the enjoyment we see in our attendees whether adults or children at the end of the day is what makes us do this year on year.
Food apps and sites have proved very useful and I was lucky enough to meet Alexandra Kalinowski last year. Alexandra is the Community Engagement Lead for Zomato in the UK and after we met I have been able to meet and learn from many other bloggers.
As a community lead Alexandra has organised many, many #ZomatoMeetUps, where bloggers come together to try new food. After a recent meet up at Pizza Pilgrims, where we chose the guest Pizza for October, I thought Alexandra would be the best person to interview as she is the food pulse of London at the moment.
So please read below, a few words about Alexandra, from Alexandra and answers to some questions.
Alexandra is your ultimate American stereotype as her favourite meal would be a burger and fries followed by NY-style cheesecake. This is post her nutritious consumption of peanut butter and Nutella on a spoon. To add to her bundle-of-nerves personality, her accent now has British notes that make her sound so pretentious she's contemplating voice coaching lessons. When she's not in the Zomato office, she's having a love affair with Suits (ATM), dying at 1Rebel, hiding, or moodily skyping her parents at 10pm on a Friday.
My Oma. My German grandma would cook up an impeccable storm and unlike my Mom, she would always serve family style. This may or may not have led to my chubby years. I was such a picky eater that Mom would typically have to cook a separate meal for me. But, when I would visit other peoples' homes, I'd have to shove the food down my throat just to be polite. As I grew older, so did my Oma. Her pain through ageing took a toll on our family, one I held against her for a long time. But when I moved to NYC and began trying cuisines from all over the world, finding a love for the hunt reminded me of all of the good years with Oma, whom I later realised instilled this love in me.
What is the first thing you look for at a restaurant?
If I can eat there alone. I'm surrounded by people all the time which is great, but also incredibly exhausting for an introvert like me. Being able to enjoy a meal, really taste the food and textures without any distractions is relaxing. I also hit up loads of places to blog so good food and reliable wi-fi are musts.
When did you decide to come to the UK?
It all happened right before the Olympics took place when my best friend and I visited for 2 days in 40 degree sunny weather. I dragged her everywhere and with that good sore foot feeling, I ditched the NYC plan and decided because London had that little extra energy, when graduation day came, I'd pack my bags and jump ship. I say energy, but in hindsight the serene canals and never-ending market stalls were what fascinated me. The idea that you can build up and take down a business daily (and successfully), is something we've lost in America, albeit a large majority of immigrants in the past establishing themselves with push-carts.
Where is your favourite place to go for dinner in London?
Right now it's The Black Cat in Clapton. A vegan cafe which serves up the best cheesecake. Ironic. I know.
What got me here: Let's just say a Brazilian guy, a love for food, German citizenship and someone taking a chance on me.
Why I'm still here: I adore our product. When I first arrived last year May the app was, in British terms, "rubbish." Imagine being 22 and within three months of starting seeing two product changes that were your idea in a company of 800 people. It's incredible that Zomato is so global, yet so personal, something I've been a key driver in achieving. I've met 250+ Zomato users and bloggers who champion what we are trying to achieve: a platform where a community of food lovers can come together to share their stories in writing and in person, but also a 1-stop shop for discovering hidden gems, booking a table, and accessing transportation to and fro. Also, I've got a mouth and they put up with it.
Which #ZomatoMeetUp has been your most favourite and which the most memorable?
Favourite and most memorable come as a package I'm afraid. Pulia. It's this beautiful Italian delicatessen in London Bridge that serves simple but flavoursome Puglian imported cuisine. The owners, Georges and Sarah have carefully handpicked everything, from the decor to food to plating and their hospitality is like none-other. I had to open the back of my dress just to let my stomach expand, which simultaneously brought back memories of Oma's stellar hosting abilities, and that at-home feeling restaurants so rarely achieve.
It really is good to keep in touch with people, be it via Facebook, Twitter or any other way. When i saw that my old school friend Abu Shohid had opened a restaurant i had to visit. I took my sweet time in visiting but nine months later i did.
Focused around spices, the menu offers some of the best aspects of the traditional Indian restaurant but also offers the speciality of Bangladeshi dishes. I am happy that Nurjenna is local to me as I have been wanting something nearby. I don't mind travelling for a good curry but one within close proximity is even better. Recently put forward by Local MP, David Burrowes for the Tiffin Cup, Nurjenna brings with it that class and quality needed for such a prestigious award.
So after my first visit last night, I had to do an interview. Thank you Abu.
1) Who is Nurjenna?
I have two daughters, a 6 year old and a 10 month old baby. Nurjenna is my eldest daughter. She is our ‘boss’, as she like to tells us all. My nephew and Nurjenna had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon and opening the restaurant last year, alongside David Burrows MP.
2) What makes Nurjenna different to other Indian restaurants?
All of the team here at Nurjenna have a real passion for what we do. We love our food. We love to create and experiment. We love to provide excellent service. And most of all we love to see happy customers! We think we have taken classic Indian food and tried to create our own take on things. Our menu is ever expanding with new dishes like our Lamb Shanks, Tandoori Nawab and our new range of Fish Dishes.
3) When do you feel happiest in the restaurant?
I feel happiest when my team are able to ‘do their thing’ and really shine. We take pleasure in what we do and when we have the restaurant in the full swing of things we can do what we do best. The team will tell you, even when things get really busy, I'm always there with a smile on my face trying to motivate the guys.
4) Where do you see yourself and the restaurant in five years time?
Our vision is to continue to grow, doing what we do best in terms of the restaurant side of things, and maybe opening a few more over the next 5 years. We have a large restaurant here where we can hold parties for 100 people and we have had a very good response over the last few months.
We are also exploring expanding into outside catering. We can currently cater for large parties and events (up to 1000 people!) and there is a number of expansion plans we are exploring to take us to the next stages of growth.
5) Why did you decide to go into the restaurant business?
My family has always been in the restaurant business. I picked up all i know about the industry from my Dad and my Brother, and even today i still go to them now before i make any decision about the business.
We had a family restaurant for 18 years in Potters Bar and then an opportunity came up for a year ago, so i opened a sister branch called Shaad (5 Princes Parade, High Street, Potters Bar, Herts, EN6 5AE), which is still there today. Now i run Shaad alongside Nurjenna which is 9 months old (opened just after my youngest was born) and the businesses complement each other.
And finally which restaurant besides your own is your favourite in London?
I have many favourite restaurants in London and i don’t think you have enough space here to put all of them down!
One thing for me though is i always love to support my local businesess. That’s why i would say my favourite restaurant beside my own is Green’s Steakhouse and Grill in Southgate. Bradley Green and the team there are really great, and i love the way they have done things to the place. I also like how i get a few lectures from Brad about how to make cocktails!
P.S- a review will be coming out shortly. Quick summary- great food, quality service and two satisfied customers. We will definitely be going again.
Alongside this Jay has created his own brand and phrase, HATERS KEEP UP (HKU) which today is an international clothing line and with this he shares his self made motivational quotes and now on YOUTUBE vlogging everything he thinks about and to add to all this great work Jay has recently launched his own charity for the Homeless called ProjectGIVING.
A bit more info from Jay:
"I am a fitness freak. I go gym everyday and genuinely love eating my greens. NO JOKE. Cycling is my number one hobby and I would literally cycle anywhere till I pass out. I once used to weigh 96KG and within 13 weeks I dropped down to 70kg. Oh yeah I'm actually really well known for this huge transformation. Now people actually listen to me when I say eat your greens.
Music is my passion from the heart. Type of music doesn't make a difference to me because all music has a different way of projecting a different feeling. Doesn't have to be in English either. "
Who has inspired you the most?
Really good question and definitely got me thinking. There isn't anyone in particular who has inspired me but I've just always been driven and motivated to do things that I will one day be known for during and after my life but there have been a group of people or shall we say a category of people who inspire me and they are the ones who the world always talk about. It's the individuals who actually have changed the world and those who are in the process of changing the world with their ideas an innovations. The likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zukerberg and Sir Alan Sugar. These are the people I use as my driving force because they believed in what they did and today have made the whole world believe in what they do. One individual however does inspire me and that is my mother. A woman with strong determination to continue playing her role as a mother and a best friend and a mentor. She keeps me going.
What is your next goal, for the Dhol Company and HKU?
I always think I know the answer to this type of question but sometimes it does make me think more but with regards to The DHOL Company I aim to push the name and the brand as far as I can to be known worldwide for the work it does, service it provides and the products it produces. Already within 2 years it has become the UK's leading company in supplying and making premium quality Dhols (Indian Drum) and offering the service of professional drummers for all occasions. I hope to grow the team in numbers and the teams performance level and quality.
With HKU, is is something very personal. As you may know I've done many vlogs and posted them on Facebook and Youtube explaining how HKU came about. My goal is to completely spread the phrase ALL over the world and I want everyone to wear my clothes with confidence. People already relate to the phrase, they just got to wear it now. I hope to expand the range of clothes I offer in terms of style, colour and design and offer other clothing products and expand into accessories such as bag, caps, watches and maybe trainers.
When did you decide to start doing vlogs?
I've been doing vlogs from like the age of 15-16 but I never showed them off through social media baring in mind back then Facebook wasn't even around and Youtube was just getting started up and didn't really know the potential of it. I've always been filmed by other people doing things, saying things and all sorts of stuff but I started properly vlogging about 4 years ago when social media was literally blowing up. Facebook was my main hub to reach out to people. I now have an official Youtube channel with professionally made videos.
Where do you see the HKU movement in five years time?
I'll be honest with you, where it's going to go from here in 5 years time I really couldn't tell you BUT I would LOVE for it to be in more shops across the UK, high street shops, other online stores and hope I can get some sort of sponsor from maybe a sports brand or other clothing company. I do see the movement continuing for the rest of my life because haters will always hate and they will always be around lol. Let's just say I want it to be the next and the ONLY big thing. Maybe a bit too optimistic...oh well...Keep Up.
Why focus on the haters?
As i mentioned before, HKU is very personal to me. I want people to wear my brand and spread the phrase but most importantly I want people to know that they CAN and by this I mean no matter what, who, where and why and when, they CAN become what they want to, they CAN do what they want, they CAN be successful and that they CAN make their dreams come true. Now everyone on this planet has haters and that is a fact. Those who say they don't are just morons and need to live a little but everyone has haters and have had haters.
Life is full of hurdles and people will go through so much hardship BUT nothing is worse than another human being deliberately trying to bring you down. I've been through this and it's not a good feeling. I want to focus on HATERS KEEP UP because it is my personal fuel to keep me going and for me to prove to my haters that I CAN and I WILL no matter what and nothing can stop me. Now some people think I'm doing things to prove to my haters and that's all but I'm not. I'm just proving to my haters that I can do what I envisioned and have passion for which they said I couldn't do. One thing I must say is that it's not in any way shape or form revenge. Some people think this but I can assure you it isn't.
Haters for me are like fuel in a car. Without it, it's not going anywhere. Some people can do well without haters but I'm yet to meet a well known, successful individual who hasn't got any haters. Personally I'd say keep the haters close to you because they are the only ones who can make you successful, make your dreams come true and make you a better person. Just wear one of my tops and that should help even more lol. Just remember, HATERS KEEP UP.
Thank you so much Jay. Keep up with all the good work and I'm really excited about ProjectGIVING and where HKU goes. Good luck.
Find out below about the new kids on the block in Catering.
Shimla is the story of two uni friends who share a passion for food and events. I have always worked in the catering industry, and Rik has previous experience in restaurants and events. It was a no brainer for us both to get together and start up Shimla Foods which is a brand built on great food and great service. We love what we do - even with the unsociable hours and zero sleep on most weekends.
What is a typical wedding day like for Shimla?
A typical wedding day will start with all the chefs and kitchen staff switching on the gases at 3am making fresh curries, dhals and any other prep that needs to be done for a wedding lunch. The rest of the staff will slowly build up until it is time to load the vans and get to the venue. Time flies during the morning and before we know it we have set up in the venues kitchen and are making fresh breads, rice, and savoury dishes for the guests. The waiting staff are busy setting up the buffets in the dining halls and usually the buffet would be open by 12 lunchtime. Hundreds of hungry guests line up for a traditional wedding lunch once the ceremony has finished, but this is only half the job done, we still have the evening reception to cater for. After the lunch we start the evening set up with waiting staff ready to dress the 30-40 tables with our linen, crockery, glassware etc. Whilst the kitchen gets busy yet again to prepare canapés and welcome drinks, the dedicated bar staff on the day are setting up the bar with all the alcohol and soft drinks. The event managers on the day, usually myself and Rik will be running around making sure everything is set and ready to go for 6pm. Before you know it the whole venue has been transformed in to a beautiful setting, as guests start to arrive the waiting staff will be floating around with canapés and champagne.
The party is in full swing by the time it comes to serving mains, this would be around 8pm. We can relax once the desserts are served as the bulk of the work is done. As you can imagine the clean up operation is huge. Once the music switches off at around 12 we can clear the bar and be on our way home. After a long day for all the staff.....it's time to do it all again the next morning!
When did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
Being foodies ourselves I think our paths were always set to be in the food industry. For myself growing up in the family business I was always pretty sure that this is what I wanted to do.
Where do you see Shimla Foods in five years time?
I think our vision is to continue to grow, doing wedding and events is great but we don't want to stop there. We want to be seen as a company that caters to all communities and events. There are a number of things in the pipeline for us in the next few years, without giving too much away I'm sure you will be seeing us around a lot more.
It's a great feeling knowing you have completed an event or wedding fully satisfying your clients and guests. The feedback we receive sometimes really makes it hit home what an important role we play for brides and grooms on their big day. That's what drives us to do what we do.
Which Indian and non-Indian restaurants are your favourite in London?
In terms of restaurants we all have our favourites, but personally when I want Indian food it will always be the following.
- Regency (Queensbury)
- Sugar and Spice (Queensbury)
- Caraway (Gants Hill)
- La porta des indes (Marble Arch)
- Chutney Mary
- Divans (Finchley)
- Aksular (Palmers green)
- Ariana II (Kilburn)
- Meat liquor (Oxford street)
- Hache (Camden)
- Patty Bun
- Bleecker Street Burger
- Yum Bun
- Mother clucker Chicken
- Red Dog Saloon
Thank you Shimla foods. That is sure some long list of favourites and i will make sure i visit them all. I have been lucky enough to try some of their food and it is great. I hope that if any of my friends get married soon that they will get Shimla to cater for the day.
So please do read on.
Sophie went on to train at the respected Butler's Wharf Chef School in London, while working at reputable and glamorous restaurants La Gavroche, Michelin-starred Greenhouse, the Lanesborough and the Embassy. At the age of 19, Sophie had been nominated ‘Young Chef of the Year’ by the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs.
Sophie’s gastronomic interests have always centred on eclectic cuisines, quality ingredients and nutritional virtue. Her taste for adventure and appreciation of both classic and avantgarde fare have led her to be the private Chef for international super model Claudia Schiffer for two years. Sophie developed her interest in healthy eating and has worked privately for other starry clients such as Leonardo DiCaprio. She has also continued to cater for high profile events and most recently was executive chef for The Royal Polo for Prince William and Prince Harry at Lord Lloyd Webber’s estate.
Perhaps her biggest challenge to date was becoming the UK’s youngest female Executive Chef at London’s chic Belgraves Hotel; a title she is immensely proud of. She completely overhauled the food offering after Mark Hix’s departure at the luxury boutique hotel in Belgravia, which has had a superb response, numerous good reviews and a growing fan base since the hotel's restaurant, Pont St, was re-launched in 2013.
As part of Heathrow Airport's growth of Terminal 2 as a destination for food, fashion and lifestyle, Michell is part of the team behind The Gorgeous Kitchen, an exciting brand new contemporary restaurant providing passengers with a delicious menu worthy of any of the capital's top restaurants.
Sophie has a successful career out of the kitchen as a TV presenter and food writer. She was part of C4's smash hit cooking show, 'Cook Yourself Thin', and also co-wrote the book of the same name which went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. Other TV highlights include Sky Taste, Market Kitchen, Comic Relief, Iron Chef USA and Masterchef.
She has also worked with many big British and global brands a brand ambassador and consultant including Ocado, Total Yoghurt, Herbal Essences, HaagenDazs, Danone, Tefal and Lindemann. She has had columns and contributed to titles such as Grazia, Healthy Magazine, Eat Me, and broadsheets including The Telegraph and The Independent, The Mirror, The Sun, The Times, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Stella, YOU magazine, The Mail and Observer Food Monthly.
Sophie joined the specialist judging panel for the renowned Smith Hotel Awards last November and the‘Young National Chef of the Year’ awards. She was also invited by the editor of Sunday Times Style to join a talk with designer of the moment, Emilia Wickstead, at the prestigious Cheltenham Literature Festival about the relationship between fashion and food. Sophie had the pleasure of designing the menu and hosting a lunch for 200 recently in October
As a published author, she has released three further books ‘Irresistible’, 'Fabulous Food', and 'Love Good Food.' Sophie released two new books last year, ‘The Gorgeous Kitchen’ and a book in collaboration with Total Greek Yoghurt.
Micheal Roux Junior, amaaaaaazing chef
- What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
Living on somewhere similar to Necker Island with the funds to cover it. Failing that, in a kitchen. Possibly with a few more projects side by side.
- When did you first realise you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 14 and I realised that I could make money out of what until then had been a passion and obsession. I left school within the year and became a full time chef.
- Where would you go for a burger?
Pont St. Not joking, our burgers are great. We have a fancy one, but I like the classic burger on our menu, daily, freshly made Brioche, sesame topped buns, gourmet burger sauce (abit like a Big Mac sauce made with amazing ingredients and from scratch) Oglesheild cheese (has a great melting consistency) and my 'fairground' onions, onions that are reminiscent of the onions you get with hot dogs at the fairground. Charred and aromatic.
- Why London?
It's the best city in the world.
- Which dish is your go to dish on a lazy day?
Cheese on toast with masses of pickles or cheese on crackers with homemade chutney (my grandmas recipe) on a really bad day its Prawn cocktail Crisps.
WOW- just WOW.
thank you Sophie for the amazing food and now this interview. there aren't too many perks to this blogging gig, but meeting Sophie and doing this is definitely one.
Is it Caribbean food in North London- Why don't we find out?
This week I will be interviewing the owner of new Caribbean Restaurant in north London- Lulu's Caribbean cuisine. Mr Monir Uddin.
Lulu’s Cuisine is a Caribbean restaurant situated in the heart of Finsbury Park.
The kitchen is renowned for its spicing and authentic flavours. Our food is faithful to its origins but is presented in a style in keeping with the deeply seductive surroundings, marrying tradition with daring modernity.
Highlights of the menu include classics like Jerk Chicken, Curried Goat (slow cooked tender), Brown Stew Lamb Shoulder (aromatic lamb stew) & Dhal Pouri Roti (Thin leafed soft stone cooked wrap) whilst also providing a variety with the Island Favourites Cou Cou & Stewed Fish. There is something for everyone including a selection of seafood, poultry and vegetarian options.
Lulu isn't a person but an object, a very rare and beautiful thing.
It means Pearl in Arabic and when I came up with the name I wanted the restaurant to be rare and beautiful experience for the customer.
What led you to open a restaurant?
The kitchen isn't a foreign territory to me, growing up in a big family with an emphasis on food and gathering, I always had an interest. My father was a restaurateur too. So I had an insight into the business at an early stage. I have worked in the retail sector for more than a decade now. Working with people, motivating them, bringing the best out of them, providing customer service and ultimately leaving a smile on the customers face is what I do best.
When did you decide to open a restaurant?
I decided to open a restaurant by chance having spoken with my then wife to be that I wanted to start my own business. We decided that with my retail and family connections that we could really make this work. Our intention was to open an Bengali restaurant, however having chosen the location of our business we started to understand the history of The Hummingbird and its impact on the local community. Opening in 1983, first as Hannahs Caribbean then The Hummingbird it was one of the first Caribbean restaurant to open in North London and was a very successful venture in the 80's and 90's I really wanted to bring it back to its glory days but also add a modern twist and bring Caribbean food to the wider audience. I cannot thank the previous owner enough for his continued help and support without whom none of this would have been possible. He has taken me under this wing and been like an older brother to me, Thank you Mark Ramgoolie.
Where do you see Lulu's in five years time?
I always struggle with this question because my ambitions are constantly evolving. With every new position, I learn more about my field, and redirecting my course to meet the changing customer focus. Also, I find that the opportunities available in my field really influence my career path. I try to jump on a great opportunity when I see it – and it’s impossible to know what opportunities I’ll find in the next 5 years. Focusing on skill acquisition is a much better strategy.
But to answer your question simply, I would like to see Lulu's restaurant as a real focal point for great food and outstanding service. I will be starting a catering arm in the next 3-6 months catering for small and large functions from birthday parties to grand weddings again with the aim of delivering great food that catches the imagination.
Why should Londoners come to lulu's for food?
The atmosphere is intimate and friendly but it is the food that makes it worth the trip to Lulu's. Delicious and fragrant home cooked food infused with love and care that will leave you full and content."(that sounds puffy) Ha"
Which dish in the restaurant is your favourite?
Every dish is amazing (I really want to say amazeball). But what people associate with Caribbean food is Jerk Chicken or Curry Goat, they forget that the Islands are surrounded by sea and that the islanders make great fish dishes; with that being said I would highly recommend the Jerk Red Fish or Snapper slow oven cooked wrapped in foil to really capture the favour of the sauces truly does wet my appetite.
Thank you so much Monir and to all my readers- this is a place i would definitely recommend for food. From amazing ribs to start with and great jerk, to the delicious and juicy rum cake at the end. ALL GOOD.
Reviewing the restaurant Fay Maschler called Max “a true host” and under his leadership, the restaurant was nominated for ‘Best Front of House’ at the Tatler restaurant awards.
He worked for the Salt Yard Group for years, as a manager, a waiter and a chef. He worked at Arbutus and spent years selling Brindisa’s wonderful food. He has written for everything from Vice to the Guardian, Fire and Knives, Root and Bone and many other magazines. He also wrote a piece in the Salt Yard Cookbook.
My Dad’s been a wine/booze journalist all my life so I’ve grown up in a very food and wine filled world. Holidays were always trips to visit wine maker mates of my Dad or little skirmishes out to find THAT restaurant famous for doing THAT dish. It was drilled into me that food and booze are two of life’s great pleasures from a very young age. That they are providers of joy, when treated with respect. How could I not end up running a restaurant?
What would be your favourite sandwich filler?
I’ve always wished some genius would put Ham, Egg, Chips, Piccalilli and Malt Vinegar Mayo in a sarnie…Second to that, this girl I used to work with called Vanesa Nieto Gonzalez, made me probably thebest sandwich of my life. It had: Mussels escabeche, Piquillo peppers and Foie Gras. Sounds weird dunnit?! But it blew my tiny mind.
When did you have the idea of Max’s?
I’ve always wanted a top notch greasy spoon or a banging sandwich shop but the idea was really honed by the site itself. It fell on me through a mate of a mate of a mate and forced me to think about exactly what I’d do specific to the site and the location. I think many people have great ideas for businesses that could really work well, but they open them in the wrong place. Understanding what the people around you want is the most fundamentally important thing. Having said that, hark at me! Who the hell am I? I’ve only been open a month! Things are looking alright, but there’s still plenty of time for me to cock it up completely.
Where do you see Max in five years?
I’d like to be the sandwich emancipator. To free the sandwich from the shackles of processed meat, egg and cress and rip off, stale, supermarket, pre-packed shite. I’d like to keep giving people sarnies that more falls out of than you get in most of the ones you buy. I’d like to have changed my surname to Sandwich and to be on the run from Governments angry at the sheer volume of sandwiches I’ve
freed and all the trouble they’ve caused. Basically, I want to be the Kim Dotcom of sandwiches. But I’d like to be a bit thinner and not actually ever have to go to jail.
Why sandwiches and why Crouch Hill?
Sandwiches are the best thing ever. Nuff said. And I’ve lived in Finsbury Park since 2001. When I got my mitts on the site I knew I had to open something that as someone who lives here, (I thought) the neighbourhood needed/wanted and was somewhere that if I wasn’t working in it every bloody day, I’d actually want to hang out.
Which restaurant is your number 1 of 2014?
I had a FANTATSTIC joint birthday meal with my dear friend Tom Duffill (Head Chef of the Galvin Bistro) at Artusi in Peckham. Jack (Chef and owner) used to work for Tom and he cooked us the best piece of pork I’ve ever eaten in my life.
I have to say though, that my favourite restaurant of 2014 is undoubtedly Ciao Bella on Lamb’s Conduit Street. It’s massive, boisterous and very Italian, the embodiment of a neighbourhood restaurant. If they need to get through and you’re in the way, the waiters just shove you out the way. I love it!! The Calzone is off the chart and there’s always some bargains on the winelist. I go there nearly every week with my wonderful girlfriend Coralie (who owns Drink, Shop & Do in King’s Cross) as she’s been going there since she was a kid.
Thank you so much Max. A great interview and a great new venue for North London.
As an Iranian Londoner, living in Prague my Uncle pioneered the first Persian Radio Programme in London for the Persian speaking communities in the early 90's. He also produced and directed the first Persian satellite TV Programme in Europe on TV Asia (Zee TV) in 1993. I'm so happy that he has agreed to this and maybe you will see why i think he is awesome.
I inspired myself! Actually, at early age I used to listen to radio a lot, having a vivid imagination I did imagine many things about what was happening on the other side of the radio equipment. To a kid those fantasies were fascinatingly interesting or rather interestingly fascinating! To me radio has a certain magical properties and offers freedom to listeners to use his/her imagination on location and the moderator.
What made you to go from Iran to London and now to Prague?
When I graduated from high school in Tehran, I decided to pursue further education and like most of my friends, the UK or US were two options that we aimed for. I decided to go to London for a year to improve my English and then go to Miami (Florida) where I had a university offer. Many years passed and my American journey did not happen. I guess I was too busy having fun in London!
About 9 years ago an opportunity presented itself to work for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Persian Service) in Prague which seemed a good change at that time of my life. I happily took the offer.
When did you first fall in love with radio?
It was not love at first sight, it was rather an infatuation to the medium of radio. This gradual fondness eventually led me to start the first ever Persian Radio Programme for the Iranian community in London in the late 80's. Later on I pioneered the first Persian Satellite TV Programme in Europe on TV Asia in 1993 (now Z TV).
Where in Iran would you love to work if possible?
Realistically it is not possible, and I am happy where I am in my life. I must add that I do not wish to work in Iran as long as the present regime of mullah’s are in power.
Why Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty?
RFE/RL is an overseas broadcasting service of USA founded by the Congress that began services in 1950 similar to BBC’ s overseas broadcasting. RFE/RL serves as a "surrogate" free press in 21 countries where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed. journalists provide what many people in those countries cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate. We broadcast in 28 languages to 21 countries including Iran, Russia, and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
I must add The U.S. government is not involved in RFE/RL's operational or editorial decisions. Our governing board, the BBG, serves by law as a firewall to protect our editorial independence. The Persian Service (Radio Farda) became part of RFE/RL about 16 years ago and Radio Farda's website receives over 10 million page views every month.
Which journey did you find most difficult, Tehran to London or London to Prague?
I enjoyed Both journeys. In my view life in itself is a long journey and I’m here to enjoy it!
Thank you so much to my Uncle. I have been lucky enough to visit him in prague a few times and it is a great place to visit. An insight to the man behind the scenes and the voice of Iran for those outside the country.
Weekly Interview: They Call Me Raptor: Who, what, when, where and Why?
London based wordsmith/Droner.
Raptor's caustic wordplay can usually be found sewn over dark kaleidoscopic beats that blend a neck-breaking Detroit sensibility with the reverberated drone work of modern LA pioneers. His sound shares regular moments of ambient-beat experimentation recall Evian Christ and Clams Casino, while Raptor's wears his vocal influence on his sleeve with a rhythm and production that blends fractals of Outkast, DOOM and Hype Williams. With an EP already under his utility belt They Call Me Raptor seems to be gaining thumbs up and resonating material that will submerge you in a world worth viewing.
who is your favourite us rapper?
-edgar allen poe
who is your favourite uk rapper?
what was your main inspiration for becoming a rapper?
-i forget that i rap, sounds more like a drone to me. i liked making poems about monsters when i was a young tadpole. get me
when did you decide to turn your passion into a job?
it just happened but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a job when they pay you. this realisation of it being a “job” happened too fast to realise, creatively its as free as it always was
where was your favourite show and where would you like to perform?
-my favourite show was in paris but i haven’t performed in many other countries. i neeeeed to get to japan pronto. arcades, kimono’s, anime the list goes on and on. when i’m a grandpa bullfrog i’m gonna move there for sure.
it's not interesting and has nothing to with dinosaur love. at first, it was just raptor.
which song of yours would you say is your favourite?
a song called “comfort” it’s produced by a guy named kromestar. he’s got the zen-force. if you don’t get that, then your not meant. nobody has the song yet apart from a dj named tim parker who has a show on nts radio. i think it’s called you’ll soon know. i think. go check it out, you might here it.
What an Interview- Thank you David.
I think a marker has been set for future interviews.
Who is next.
This week I went for an interview from someone who is out of this world. Literally. Some may see this as a struggle, I see it as an achievement. Get ready for the one and only Silver Surfer.
The Silver Surfer is a superhero, Originally a young astronomer named Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, he saved his homeworld from the planet devourer, Galactus, by serving as his herald. Imbued in return with a tiny portion of Galactus's Power Cosmic, Radd acquired vast power, a new body and a surfboard-like craft on which he could travel faster than light. Now known as the Silver Surfer, Radd roamed the cosmos searching for planets for Galactus to consume.
Norrin Radd is my previous name before I become the cosmic being now known as the Silver Surfer. I am Herald of Galactus and serve him by finding him Planets to feast on. The job doesn’t pay and there are no contracted hours. I am bound to Galactus for life (although I have quit and rejoined several times now)
What makes you keep on coming back to earth?
The people of Earth are intriguing, amazing, savage, curious and many more things. It is all these traits which have kept me on Earth at times. The other reasons are that anyone in the whole Marvel Universe for whatever purpose keeps on coming to Earth.
This wonderful and strange planet has somehow become centre of the Universe with battles being waged here and villain after villain trying to either rule the Earth or destroy it. The Kree, Sh’iar, Skrulls and Brood to name a few have waged Wars here, whilst Thanos must be attracted here as he can’t get enough of destroying Earth.
Of course there are the numerous times my Boss, Galactus, has come to try and eat Earth and time after time he has failed. I have had to bring him here, stop him, rescue him and fight him on Earth. And now of course I have an Earth women travelling with me, but surely I will have to drop her back to Earth.
Did I mention my old girlfriend Alicia Masters was from Earth.
When do you think you will be in a Marvel Film again?
Good question. The Silver Surfer surely should have had a prequel by now or at least a weekly Live TV Series. I hope that come Phase 4 of Marvel films, the Sentinel of the Spaceways will soar again. I blame Fox for ruining a good looking and well voiced Silver Surfe
Where is galactus favourite place to eat? He has several places he really likes to eat but for some reason a Badoon world is his favourite. Says has the most flavour and a bit of spice too. In my opinion, planets in the Microverse look lovely, yet Galactus is too lazy to get there and he usually waits for those planets to die out first.
When he did come to Earth he did like the look of Nandos. This made me realise that he isn’t actually that fussy and is a lot about the quantity of food rather than Quality.
The Silver Surfer does not need to feed as the Power Cosmic sustains him. However I would never say no to a Calzone.
Why the name of the silver surfer?
Simply because my whole body is encased in Silver and a Surfboard is my method of transportation. Galactus named me as the Silver Surfer and so that is the name that I carry with me forever. I thought about adding a Super in my name but it became too much – Super Silver Surfer
which event scared you the most?
The Infinity Gauntlet was the most fearsome and universe-trembling/shattering event. Thanos had possession of the Infinity Gauntlet and even the combined forces of the Celestials, Galactus, Eternity etc couldn’t stop him. And all of it was just to please Lady Death. Surely you should buy someone flowers first or go for a drink before you do such a grand gesture like that for a woman.
The Annihilation Wave was also a gripping event which took us to places in the Negative Zone I never want to go to again.
Thank you so much Silver Surfer.
That is all.
ABOUT: Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. He created the world's first website for professional fundraisers in 1994, wrote the world's first book on digital fundraising in 1996, and has trained thousands of fundraisers in using digital tools for fundraising over nearly 20 years. A Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising, he has consistently been voted in the 50 Most Influential in Fundraising by readers of Fundraising magazine. He is co-founder of Barcamp Nonprofits, and founder of Fundraising Camp.
Who would you say is your inspiration for fundraising.co.uk?
I was inspired to create UK Fundraising (www.fundraising.co.uk) in 1994 after working for three years as a sole fundraiser. I knew there were many helpful, experienced fundraisers around who could help guide me or answer some questions, but I didn't know where. I knew there were training courses and books on fundraising, but you had to send off for the printed catalogues.
When I first spotted the web whilst doing a Masters in Information Science (while my day job was as a fundraiser at Amnesty International UK), I knew I'd found an ideal medium to gather and share information on fundraising, both for myself and for many other fundraisers.
I'd already been working towards that at Amnesty. I'd already created an international email discussion list for Amnesty fundraisers around the world - this was before we got access to the web as staff at Amnesty. This enabled us all to share experience, materials and advice via email - saving a lot of time and money on some international meetings.
To answer who inspired me - I'd say my remarkable fundraising colleagues at Amnesty, plus two authors that switched me on to the potential and practicalities of digital communications - Howard Rheingold and Ed Krol.
What are your ambitions for the site and its role in the fundraising sector?
I want the site to adapt to whatever many fundraisers need in terms of advice, ideas, examples and inspiration. I have never wanted or expected it to be the sole destination point online for fundraisers - from the outset I have encouraged and accepted content from anyone or any organisation with practical advice or information from fundraisers.
As such, I've always avoided duplication of content - if someone publishes good fundraising content, we link to it and write about it. We don't for example carry a funding database - there are too many good providers who offer that, and we link to them.
The site has already adapted considerably over the past 20 years. From 1996 it functioned alongside an email discussion list - the UK's first such list for professional charity fundraisers. The list then became integrated with the site as a web forum, and now it is hardly used as most professional discussions take place on sites like LinkedIn or Yahoo! discussion groups.
I've got plenty of ideas about how I can make it easier to bring relevant material to each fundraiser and actually help them cut down on the volume of information they get. Equally, I'm aware that can restrict the serendipitous nature of much of the broad range of fundraising material that I publish.
At least the site now functions effectively on mobile devices. Fundraisers, like most people, want and expect information straight away, wherever they are.
When do you think attitudes will change towards street fundraisers?
I'm not at all confident that public perceptions of street or face-to-face fundraisers will change, despite the good efforts of the sector, it's self-regulation and campaigns like #ProudFundraiser.
Although face-to-face fundraising is probably the extreme example, I can't think of a single fundraising channel that donors and the general public welcome with open arms. Telephone fundraising? "Too American, won't work here". Email fundraising? "Spam fundraising more like". Direct mail? "Junk mail, my friend". Events? "Not another sponsorship request".
When people stop giving by a particular method, then the charity needs to adapt and move on. Until then, we can continue to try to explain why some charities find this method of fundraising effective (and not just in terms of the bottom line), and carry on using it to support organisations' charitable objectives.
Where does the internet fit now for charities and how they fundraise?
Digital communications underpins all elements of fundraising. That's not to say online or text donations are the dominant source of income. Paper-based direct mail is still the major source of voluntary income for UK charities and will be for a while I expect.
But I see digital communications supporting all areas of information - from publicising the need for support to demonstrating impact and results. It has transformed some areas of fundraising: remember how many months it used to take to collect sponsorship money before JustGiving flipped that and succeeded in generating money for charities often before the event?
It also underpins much of the work that fundraisers undertake, from finding a fundraising job in the first place, through training and professional development, to day to day work such as prospect research, data analysis of giving patterns, sharing and discovering fundraising ideas with supporters via social media (like #nomakeupselfie), emulating fundraising successes shared on sites likesofii.org, and creating and sharing videos and images that support the fundraising messages.
Let's not forget email too - it is still probably the most effective digital donor retention method, especially when used in conjunction with offline methods such as direct mail and the telephone.
So I have never used the phrase 'e-fundraising' about my site and about digital fundraising. I always assumed, even back in 1994, that digital was just a part - an increasingly important part - of fundraising.
Why does baking and charity go so well together?
Baking is fun and creative and so too is much fundraising by individuals. If you're going to give up your time and perhaps some money for charity you're going to want to make it a pleasurable experience. If there is cake to eat at the end, who can complain?
Baking is just one of many aspects of daily life that members of the public have embraced and converted into a fundraising mechanism. Runners have their charity half-marathons, adventure seekers their parachute jumps, readers their charity book stalls. Baking is just the latest, and handily high-profile popular obsession that has been turned into a wonderful variety of fundraising campaigns and opportunities.
Which charity campaign has stood out for you in 2014?
The campaigns that have excited me the most this year are, you won't be surprised to learn, those created by members of the public and shared via social media - #nomakeupselfie, #ALSicebucketchallenge and the many variants.
While they are in no way the norm for fundraising, they are significant developments because:
* they worked (demonstrably!)
* they weren't developed by a charity
* they were visual
* they were an opportunity for any individual to say "I'm part of this"
* they were fun
* they were inclusive - "nominate three of your friends"
There are some powerful drivers in there that charities have woken up to. This doesn't mean that the selfie hashtag driven campaign is the future of fundraising - far from it. But it does mean that the public understands digital fundraising, and is not going to wait to be asked to join in to help their favourite charity.
Thank you so much to Howard for some great answers and inspiring words. Fundraisers have a tough job and our donations and support make a big difference in the UK and across the world.
This week, first and foremost is my friend's cousin and comedian, philanthropist and actor Hussain Manawer.
1. Who is your inspiration?
Inspiration, I cant say there's one person that inspires me there have been a lot that have inspired me along my journey. But i am more inspired by positive things that happen around me, and i am lucky enough to witness such as charity, good deeds and helping out others. That inspires me to do what i do, with regards to a person I'd say Will Smith, I love how he has always been himself on
/ off screen and that's something i aspire to do.
2. What has been your proudest moment?
Proudest moment, ah that's a hard one I have a top 3, first one is climbing mount Kilimanjaro, something I never thought would be possible, secondly running with the Olympic torch, and thirdly being cast to make an appearance in east enders as myself with billy Mitchell which was a big moment for me and all those around me.
3. When did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
Around a year ago, I met Kevin Hart and things changed (without sounding cringe) I was at work and was called to interview him and took a day off to do it, I loved it so much and never wanted to go back! Nobody knows this but I actually did the interview on behalf of a third party who didn't want the footage in the end. So I kept it and uploaded it on my channel, the maddest thing is it was the second video I uploaded and for it to be with a legend like him, I was over the moon.
4. Where do you see HussainsHouse in five years time?
Hopefully on TV 5 nights a week on a national channel either in the UK or US.
5. Why your House?
Because I've always had so much fun at home, with my siblings, parents ,friends that come over the vibe is just always there! I just wanted to share this with the world
6: Which interview do you wish you could do again?
Everyone thinks I would say Kevin hart, because he is the biggest, but for me the moment that really stole my heart was when I met a US radio personality called 'Charlamagne' who is known for being notoriously rude and blunt and famous for arguments on air with drake and Kanye when I walked into the room he looked at me and said 'omg I'm a fan, thank you for coming Hussain' and that was mental I watch a lot of his shows if not everyone and for him to acknowledge me and show me that respect was unreal, and because of that I could have got more real-ness out of him in in the interview but I played it safe. So if it was any interview I could do it again, it would be him!
Any recommendations on who i should interview next week? Please do let me know.
John Patrick Acquaviva is currently the Venezuelan freestyle football champion, and ranked amongst the top 16 in the world. In March 2012 John was named an Olympic Torch Bearer after having been nominated as a Future Flame on the Coca Cola website, John was the first freestyler to be involved with the Olympics in any way.
I hope you know the format now. Five questions: who, what, when, where and why.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration are people who have accomplished things against all odds and by themselves, people such as Rodney Mullen (skateboard legend), Zyzz (Australian bodybuilder), etc.
What keeps you in Manchester?
I've loved Manchester ever since the first time I came here, its my favourite city in England for living in, the main thing I like about it is that you can live somewhere relaxed and laid back but yet be only 10 minutes away from the city life, if it had better weather it would be the ideal city (but that's just England for you!)
When did you realise that you had this talent?
I never "realized" I had a talent for freestyle, I was absolutely terrible at it when I started off and it took me months and months of training 5-6 hours a day by myself to learn my first few tricks, I wasn't one of those guys who just picks the balls up and starts doing crazy tricks after a few days.
Where would be your ideal freestyle destination?
Merida in Venezuela, ideal temperature and hardly ever rains, that would definitely be one of my ideal training destinations, as far as freestyle culture and crews go it would probably be Paris.
It has always been a constant strive for self improvement and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be, not just in freestyle but in every aspect of my life, I currently have a lot of hobbies and interests such as photography, film making, dj'ing and music production, fitness and weightlifting, social media marketing, web design, etc. I like to keep myself busy with new challenging things all the time otherwise I get bored.
I've always said comparing football with freestyle is like comparing hockey with figure skating, just because one of the elements is the same doesn't mean they, as sports, have anything to do with one another.
Which footballer would you model your game on?
I don't model myself after any footballer, I don't like or watch football at all!
Thank you very much John. Great answers and great to see that hard work can lead to great opportunities.
About Nick, from Nick:
I've been eating and writing about burgers since the end of 2010, when I finally put metaphorical pen to paper and set up the blog.
At the beginning, and as happens with all the best ideas, the masterplan for Hamburger Me was the result of a slightly boozy lunch and a decent burger at a pub near Smithfield's Market. I *may* have started to wax lyrical about the burger, when a dining companion piped up and told me to shut up and write a blog about it instead, and so Hamburger Me! was born. Since then I've been reviewing and tasting burgers all over capital and my knowledge of burgers is now only matched by my expanding waistline…
Who would your ideal burger blogging partner be?
I'd love to go blogging with Ronald McDonald and the Hamburgerlar, though I doubt I'd end up managing to eat any, so maybe that's a bad choice. Actually, I think the perfect wingman would be Brian from Family Guy - as a genius and functioning alcoholic, he'd be great company on both counts!
What are three core ingredients for your perfect burger?
Just three - tough gig. Ok, it'll have to be the holy trinity of B's for me - Beef, Bacon, Bun - get those right and everything is right with the world.
When/ if ever do you see the burger craze in London ending?
I think it's become less a craze, and more a category in its own right. When you see that burgers on a menu outsell the next closest menu item by a ratio of 2:1, and chains like Byron selling for £100 million, you know it's become part of the fabric of the London eating scene, let alone the wider UK which has seen an explosion in independent burger joints in the last 18 months.
Where do you see yourself and the site in five years time?
A whole lot bigger. Both me and the site! I've started doing some burger consultancy work with brands, so I see that growing. I also see the potential for other food verticals, or perhaps expanding the reach of my reviewing - watch this space (and keep reading the blog!).
Why hamburgers and a site about hamburgers?
I just LOVE burgers...oh, and my day job is in digital marketing so combine the two and you get a burger blog. It also allows me to try things out that I wouldn't be able to get away with at work, which is quite fun.
Which food type/cuisine would you blog about next if you had to?
Chicken burgers? Seriously it would likely be wine rather than another food (how can you replace the glorious hamburger, it would feel like cheating!). I'm a huge wine fan and have a few hundred bottles laid down in a warehouse up north, both for drinking and investments, so I'd probably start writing about that.
Thank you so much- definitely a source of inspiration and information for me.
Good luck Nick and I am sure I and many others will be keeping up to date with Hamburger Me.