This is the Long Story
I started Rocket & Squash in May 2010 for a whole host of reasons, though I don’t really remember now what most of those were.
Perhaps it was to motivate me to tick off the restaurants on my ever-growing list of places to go, and to regularly cook new things. It might also have been because I thought that writing a blog would provide me with a creative outlet; an escape from my job as a City lawyer, based around the things I liked doing the most.
Whatever the spark, I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
In December 2011 I decided to leave the corporate world, as I finally realised that I wanted at least to try and earn a living in the food industry.
Since then I:
- re-trained as a chef, achieving distinction grade for the Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma at Westminster Kingsway college
- did and still do occasional stints in high-end restaurant kitchens, sporadically host occasional supper clubs and help other chefs with their events;
- was the Assistant Producer and Food Consultant on Raymond Blanc’s ‘How to Cook Well’;
- develop and write recipes for weekend supplements, food magazines and brands;
- do cookery demonstrations and lessons at festivals and cookery schools;
- speak at events and host Q&As;
- consult for corporates on food trends and things that are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ about the food industry;
- menu develop for new restaurant/takeaway concepts; and
- helped build a wholesale business for the British cured meat specialists Cannon and Cannon, and was for a while a Creative Director and then a non-exec director of the company.
Please do get in touch if you’d like me to do any of the above with and for you
That said, I mostly write.
- My debut recipe book — On the Side: a sourcebook of inspiring side dishes — was shortlisted for the inaugural Jane Grigson Trust Award for food books by new authors and for the Best First Food Book at the Guild of Food Writers 2018 Awards.
- My second cookbook, The Borough Market Cookbook; recipes and stories from a year at the market, was published in October 2018 and has been a ‘best seller’.
- And my third cookbook, Crave; recipes arranged by flavour to suit your mood and appetite was published in May 2021. It was named ‘Best Cookbook’ of that year at the 2022 Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards.
- My wife and I have written Welcome To Our Table, a book for children celebrating food around the world, brilliantly illustrated by Harriet Lynas.
- I was the main writer, curator of and contributor to Bloomsbury Publishing’s London edition of Eat Like A Local.
- I frequently contribute words and recipes to Borough Market’s Market Life magazine.
- My written work and recipes regularly appear in (among others) Waitrose & Partners Food, Waitrose Weekend, The Sunday Times Magazine, BBC Good Food, OcadoLife and The Guardian Feast. And have featured in The FT Weekend Magazine, The Guardian Cook (as Resident chef, August 2016), The Independent on Sunday RIP (as resident cookery writer, November 2016), The Telegraph Weekend, The Saturday Times Magazine, Sainsbury’s Magazine, Delicious Magazine, Olive, EasyJet Traveller, Munchies.com, Mens Health, Historic Royal Palaces Magazine, The Covent Garden and Marylebone Journals, The Foodie Bugle, Cereal Magazine, Toast Magazine, Eater, and Metropolitan Magazine.
- More awards and commendations for my work, and for this blog, are listed here, if you’re interested.
No doubt the website will continue to evolve over time – probably charting or at least reflecting my descent from the comfort of salaried lawyer, to enthusiastic chef student and wannabe food writer, to abject failure, poverty and then the inevitable creep back to my former profession.
At the time of updating this, I am 41 years old and still have most of my hair. My beard is going grey, though.
I’m rarely happier than when I’m sat with a slice of well toasted sourdough, good butter, great anchovies and an overpriced filter coffee.
London, April 2023