Like Fortnum & Mason and Borough Market, Paxton and Whitfield’s flagship shop on Jermyn St is one of London’s iconic food destinations. The finest cheese shop we have ever set foot in, you smell it long before you walk in, and remember it long after you walk out. Whether you’re after Wild Garlic Yarg, Perl Las, or Caerphilly Gorwydd, this shop ought to be your first stop. The business received its first Royal Warrant in 1850 when it was appointed cheesemonger to HM Queen Victoria, and it has enjoyed many accolades, royal and otherwise, since.
In every industry, there are people that everyone knows and in the fine food world, Paxton’s Sales Manager Jeremy is one of them. A very great friend and an extremely clever cook, he certainly is one to know. Here we chat Beefeaters, Coca Cola, and nose to tail eating.
WHO TAUGHT YOU TO LOVE FOOD?
My Nan – she cooked from scratch shopped every other day and never wasted a scrap of food. Chefs would love her and I miss her.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
Gosh – should I admit this? A Beefeater Steakhouse near Cowbridge – although to be honest as a result I still do a killer floater coffee, with or without Bailey’s.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?
I wish I could say fresh seasonal fruit and bread I baked at 6am. But in reality I’m not really a morning person, hence a double espresso (usually a quad) and 1 or 2 Tortas de Aceite (flat breads flavoured with whatever. They are crisp, sweet and delicious. I buy mine from Monika at Brindisa)
WHERE DO YOU GO OUT TO EAT?
I prefer to eat with my friends in and around our kitchen tables, although getting out and about is a pleasure as well.
Winter for me is all about great pubs, comfy sofas and plenty of game. Spring is all newness and fresh food, tonnes of asparagus and lamb. Summer means alfresco, sitting out doors, be it a fab cafe in London or a table on terrace overlooking the sea (as Kirsty & Phil would say location, location, location.) Autumn I crave pubs with roaring fires and comfort food all over again.
WHAT DOES HALEN MON GO BEST WITH?
Are you kidding? Everything. I use it and abuse it daily – but my friend Sophie Turner loves it in her Bloody Mary.
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY FOOD PLEASURE?
Really? Service station sandwiches, beans on toast and, sorry, full-fat Coke, it really is the real thing.
DESCRIBE WALES IN FIVE WORDS
I am proud to be Welsh because we understand and know the significance of:
These will never be lost.
WHERE DO YOU THINK IS AN EXCITING FOOD SCENE OR CITY?
North Wales and Anglesey is pretty cool. From charming pubs and restaurants to great producers and innovation – it’s got it all within a small but perfectly formed area – from Snowdonia to the North Wales coast and the tip of Holyhead, it is a food triangle to get lost in.
WHAT IS THE MOST UNDERUSED INGREDIENT?
I am a big fan of nose to tail eating – how can you chuck away anything from an animal that you have loved and cherished?
WHAT DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU GET HOME AFTER A LONG DAY (OR NIGHT) AT WORK?
Clearly seasonality counts but maybe skirt steak flash grilled or a duck egg or 2 and fresh watercress, well seasoned, of course. Five minutes, job done.
Illustrations: Jess Lea-Wilson