Meet Ben Perers Cook on Berwick Street Market

Over a year ago, the traders of Soho’s Berwick Street Market launched a campaign to “keep Berwick Street Market independent” after hearing that Westminster City Council had decided to privatise the market with barely any consultation.

The market, with its traditional fruit & veg stalls as well as hot and cold street food, flowers, fabrics and fashions, has been independent for over 300 years.

As has been the case in other well-established London markets, traders started to see their licenses being terminated without warning and the horizon was looking bleak and expensive.

But this is no sob story!

Over time, the petition not only gained traction but the attention that came with it saw the ‘decades of neglect and mismanagement’ being remedied with the introduction of fresh talent on the market. Promising new traders are making waves and bringing a much-needed boost to this beautiful and historic street.

To celebrate this indy success story, we spoke with one of the market’s newest traders, a wing slinger serving spicy soul food to all of Soho: Lord of the Wings Ben Perers Cook!

What do you love about market life?

I love popping down to different markets and chatting to traders. One thing that is unique to the street food industry is that, pretty much universally, everyone is passionate about what they are serving. Take a look at any market and you’ll find a bunch of traders that would happily talk about their food for hours. Being surrounded by this enthusiasm is such an amazing experience, and drives you onward. Big shout outs to Nick & Mike at Orange Buffalo who helped pave the way and also Lani at Daja Chicken who has been super helpful!

What’s special about Berwick Street Market?

Berwick Street Market is one of London’s oldest street markets, it’s slap bang in the centre of Soho, — London’s bohemian heart, and is occupied by a host of independent traders. It’s great how, thanks to the founding of the Berwick St Market traders association, chaired by Robin Smith of Soho Dairy, the market fought off the privatisation scheme with help of a petition signed by over 10,000 people. The independence of markets is of obvious importance to people and it should undoubtedly be listed as an asset of community value. Everyday at the market is like one big family barbecue, and everyone’s a part of it, traders & customers. It’s an unparalleled sense of community.

What’s the story behind your venture in particular?

Lord of the Wings started life as the brainchild of my old man, who married an American. Although me and my brother were brought up in London, we grew up on American food. We would visit the family over there and one standout dish was Buffalo Wings – beautiful fried chicken wings covered in a spicy and tangy cayenne pepper sauce. It was my Dad’s idea to maybe one day set up a wing-shack here in London. Since then I’ve fallen in love with the food and with the idea of sharing it. I got a job in a kitchen while I was at university to enhance my culinary skills, me and my Dad have been on a pilgrimage of New York State, trying wings at every dive or sports bar along the way, and spent years perfecting our Buffalo sauce. Luckily since leaving university, street food’s rising popularity gave us a low-cost platform to get straight into it.

What’s the most important part of running a street food stall for you?

When I started in food, the aim was making the best wings ever. That starts with using the best produce. The best produce should taste great but should be farmed in a humane way. My product isn’t the best product if the chickens live in a cage and never see the light of day. I have a platform and have a responsibility to use this platform to promote sustainability. Lord of the Wings should also cause minimal harm to the planet – we only use recycled and recyclable packaging and all the oil we use is recycled or covered into renewable energy; nothing goes to landfill. An important factor of running an ethical business is that it keeps us motivated. We are giving and not just taking and that makes it much more worthwhile to know that we aren’t the only ones benefitting from our business.

What’s important about eating local for you?

Local food is generally fresher, healthier and tastes better. It incurs less spoilage and loses fewer nutrients because it spends less time travelling from farm to plate. It also helps to build better-connected communities. Eating locally allows you to gain more awareness of what you are eating – the traders will have extensive knowledge on what they are serving you, and where it comes from. After months of going to butchers and wholesalers, I approached a farm directly and we’ve now built a fantastic relationship… Since we started on Berwick St, we’ve been getting our garnishes and chillies from the market. Both Jim and Jimma provide top quality fruit and veg and have done for generations.

What do you envision for the future of Lord of the Wings?

We’ve only just started in Soho. This is our first permanent spot and I’m really looking forward to creating a following and being part of the community there. We hope to establish this as where Lord of the Wings ‘lives’, and then we’ll go from there.

Photos by Gabe Owen & Kristen Perers


Instagram: @LOTWings
Twitter: @LOTWings
www.lordofthewings.co.uk


Tackling Food Waste in Copenhagen

As we all become increasingly aware of climate change and environmental degradation, it begs the question of what we as consumers can do to lessen our impact. It can often seem like an uphill struggle to become a conscious consumer when the global food production system leads us to make food choices which can be laden with negative environmental consequences, such as that food has often travelled miles to reach our plate, and comes covered with loads of unnecessary plastic packaging.

Food waste is another major global issue and one which we should all be aware of our role in. I was shocked to discover that roughly 1/3 of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted. This means all of the resources going into making that food are also squandered, such as all of the fossil fuels, water and pesticides required to produce food amounting to nothing more than waste which harms our planet. Whilst a lot of this waste happens during the production process, there is a significant amount of food that is wasted on the consumption side, such as by supermarkets and wholesalers chucking out perfectly edible food, and by households – the Danes throw out around 20% of the food they buy every year.

Copenhagen has made commendable progress towards the reduction of their food waste and has become somewhat of a European leader in the area. Its also one of the world’s most sustainable cities, coming in 14th on the sustainable cities index (all that cycling has to count for something) and has plans to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital in 2025. However, there is naturally a long way to go. Whilst I’ve been living in the city, I’ve discovered a number of ways to become individually involved with food waste reduction, which happens to also be very helpful in terms of eating well on a budget, always welcome when you’re a student in one of the world’s most expensive cities!

Foodsharing Copenhagen

The first of these is ‘Foodsharing Copenhagen’: part of the global movement of food sharing to reduce food waste, raise awareness of the issue and organise a food surplus redistribution for people in need. The food distribution takes place twice a week; on Wednesday and Saturdays, and operates through a principle of the unconditional sharing of food with nothing in return but a donation. The organisation is run entirely by volunteers, making it the 2nd largest volunteer organisation in Denmark. Food Sharing Copenhagen redistributes around 2 tonnes a week, coming from just one wholesale market, demonstrating the huge amount of waste that can occur from even the tiniest area of food production and consumption. The volunteers not only distribute the food but chat to people at the events, thereby educating people on the wider issues of food waste. The organisation also hosts events and meals focusing on the theme of food waste, and it’s super easy to sign up to volunteer via Facebook if you fancy becoming more involved with the movement.

Community kitchens

Next on the list is Kafa X, a community food kitchen serving up delicious vegan food from local Nørrebro greengrocers that would otherwise be thrown away, alongside bread donated from local bakeries. The meal is served up at 7, for a small donation of just 20DKK and it’s BYOB. I would suggest getting down there a bit early though as there are plenty of regulars so it can be hard to find a space. Kafa X also operates through volunteers and welcomes anyone who fancies helping out, meaning you can bag a free meal as well in exchange for your efforts.

Other community kitchens to check out include:

BumZen Community Kitchen, KraftWerkets Folkekøkken, and Abasalon alongside others serving up affordable and delicious food.

Supermarkets 

Wefood: ‘Denmark’s first- ever surplus food supermarket’

WeFood sells products that would otherwise be thrown out from supermarkets, wholesalers, and producers who cannot sell their products due to excess production, food nearing the expiration date, or damage to the packaging. The food is sold by WeFood at a 30-50% markdown of its original price, and the profits go to the charity ‘DanChurch Aid’ who tackle poverty in the world’s poorest countries. As highlighted by their website, ‘Wefood is for everyone; whether you want to support the fight against famine, stop food waste or simply want to save money on your groceries’. The WeFood supermarkets are currently located in Amager (Amagerbrogade 151, 2300 KBH S) and Nørrebro (Nørrebrogade 58, 2200 KBH N).

LØS

Løs is another supermarket making a difference, targeting the area of unnecessary plastic packaging. Løs are a ‘packaging-free grocery store’ where you bring your own container or grab a reusable one in the store, thereby hugely minimising the unnecessary waste that comes from food shopping. The shop also priorities both organic and locally grown produce, so you know you are getting the really good stuff. Løs highlights that when people have the power to decide on the quantity of what they’re buying instead of in prepackaged amounts, they are far more likely to only buy what they need, therefore directly reducing household food waste. So go grab a jar and some Tupperware’s and head down – they also reduce prices by up to 50% when fruit and veg are nearing expiry, so another good place to find a bargain as well.

Apps

TooGoodToGo

‘Download Too Good To Go and Eat Good Food with Good Conscience’. The tagline of the app ‘TooGoodToGo’ sums up their ethos, and once you have downloaded the app you can scroll through different restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets to see where has an excess of food that day, pay and go and pick it up at a discount price (normally at least a 50% of the original price). This is a great way to try out different restaurants as well, the last time I used it I got an amazing selection of Moroccan food. All of these initiatives have contributed to Denmark successfully reducing its food waste by 25% in the last five years. The app is also currently operating in 6 European countries including the UK, so its definitely worth downloading to check out where else you can have an impact on food waste reduction.

YourLocal

YourLocal cooperates with Denmark’s largest organisation fighting food waste ‘Stop Spild af Mad’ (Stop Food Waste). On the app you can decide which shops you’re interested in, and then recieve a notification once they have surplus food – super simple!  There’s also loads on there to choose from, so have a look through and see what takes your fancy.

So there you go, a huge selection of different initiatives to try out in Copenhagen, and hopefully inspiring you to think about the environmental consequences of food waste, whilst eating some delicious food.


Photo by Karoline Hill with permission from Foodsharing Copenhagen. 

 


Oma Bistró

‘Oma’, which means ‘grandmother’ in German, brings to mind feelings of comfort and warmth, and big dishes of homemade, heartening food. This sense of cosiness is reflected in this light and airy bistro, which boasts an extensive menu of local, seasonal products for every time of day.

The interior of Oma recalls a hipster-esque vibe, with exposed brick walls, glass vases of single flowers, mismatched, distressed chairs and, most surprisingly, randomly placed bicycles. However, the style seems more effortless than forced and serves to create a warming, cosy atmosphere – like the inside of a mountainous log cabin. The vast range of diners also reflects the unassuming feel and sincerity of Oma, with solo readers enjoying their morning espresso alongside family get togethers and students catching up over brunch alike.

There is a range of coffees for the caffeine-addict as well as fresh orange juice, milkshakes with chantilly cream, fruit smoothies and beer on tap. Whilst I went for classic scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon, my friend opted for the French toast with cream and fresh fruit. Both dishes were fresh and delicious and beautifully presented in simple, white bowls.

Oma has something for everyone, for every time of day. Located on a seemingly quiet corner on the streets of Barcelona, it is an oasis of calm and comfort within the bustle of the city.


227 Consell de Cent
08011 Barcelona


Craft Sisters

Jægersborggade is one of my favourite streets in Nørrebro, a neighbourhood in the northern part of Copenhagen whose cobbled streets are full of life and creativity, with a delightful selection of boutiques, cafés and jewellers. Jægersborggade is located between Nørrebroparken (a park) and Assistens Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery and park, with avenues and cherry blossoms in spring. A definite must when in Copenhagen if you want to feel the local Nørrebro vibe.

This is where you’ll find Craft Sisters. A colourful universe that makes my design student heart ache. The small shop displays pillows, puffs, mirrors, carpets, blankets, baskets and ceramics from Nepal, India and Morocco (among others). The shop is a declaration of love for craftsmanship, it supports artisans and promotes the empowerment of women through craft-making. All items are handpicked on trips to the countries mentioned above, and since there is no middle man, fair trade between artisans and the shop is ensured. The items in the shop are vibrant while still suitable for the Scandinavian consumer.

Craft Sisters are collaborating with WAWCAS, a Danish-Nepalese NGO that helps Nepalese women living in poverty gain independence. So many fates in Nepal are still determined by the ancient caste system, and WAWCAS works to make sure that women are able to build a life in dignity and a better future for their children. The NGO has developed a 16 month training program that helps disadvantaged and underprivileged women become entrepreneurs with their own business (for which they are given loans to start). The women receive training and are often able to work from home. WAWCAS empower women while they tirelessly fight the battle of equal rights: since 2007, they have pulled more than 2000 Nepalese women out of poverty.

Craft Sisters opened in October 2016 and as such is still fairly fresh on the market. However, it has quickly won the hearts of Copenhageners – and for good reason. There is clearly a growing interest in Copenhagen to consume more ethically, sustainably and locally – and this charming little ray of sunshine hits home on all three.


www.craftsisters.dk

Jægersborggade 53
2200 København N
Denmark


Photos by Henriette Friis

 


Pinkmans Bakery

A fairly recent addition to the plethora of buzzing cafés and restaurants to grace Bristol’s Park Street, Pinkmans offers a huge variety of fresh food on a daily basis, as well as cocktails, beers and wines further into the evening.

Upon arriving, you’re instantly drawn to the incredible display of cakes, salads and jam-packed rolls on show in glass cabinets, and soon become part of the audience of admiring customers. Pinkmans, being primarily a bakery, also offers a vast array of freshly baked breads – as they say themselves, ‘Bread out the oven at 8am’. From a white sourdough to a more adventurous ‘walnut boule’ (toasted walnuts and black treacle), this truly is a baker’s heaven. Inside, the décor is simple and minimalist – with rows of filament bulbs and long benches making maximum use of the fairly small interior.

For breakfast, a range of meals, including smashed sweet chilli avocado and salsa on toast (£5.50) are available until midday, or til 2p.m. on weekends. Lunches include salads, ciabattas as well as more hearty tagines and hot dishes. Having been to Pinkmans a few times, I decided to branch out and try one of their sourdough pizzas, which you can see being prepared and baked in the ovens at the back of the café. I went for the artichoke pizza (£8.50) – with toppings of artichokes, garlic, pepper, pesto and ricotta. The sourdough base made for a delicious, chewy crust, complemented by the excellent mix of garnishes.

With something for everybody, Pinkmans stands out as a café which attempts and succeeds in providing their customers with fresh food and drinks, making for a relaxed but stylish dining experience.


85 Park Street, Bristol
BS1 5PJ
0117 403 2040


Tradewind Espresso

Whitewashed walls, hotchpotch furnishings and a counter teaming with dainty almond friands and hefty carrot cakes, Tradewind Espresso is an instagrammer’s dream. Occupying just a small footprint at the upper end of Whiteladies Road, with a little nifty design, owners Patrick and Tahi host seating for around 20 sippers and slurpers inside and another dozen or so in their wood-clad hidden garden.

Set up in September 2015 and business relation to Roasted Rituals, the Hengrove-based roastery, coffee is at the centre of this independent venture. With V60 filter methods and no paper French Press, you would be forgiven for feeling this is all a little too ‘on-trend’. Fear not, high chairs and local businessmen sit alongside the monochrome ‘straight out of Shoreditch’. Both beautiful and welcoming, this is style with substance.

Behind the perfectly scattered cushions and chunky wooden tables lies an unadulterated dedication to quality, the perfectly balanced coffee clearly benefits from their direct connection to source. Custom blends and single origin roasts vary on rotation, but you can be sure to rely on Highground, the house espresso blend offered year-round for its weight and complexity, versatile enough be supped alone or as part of a milkier creation.

Though their caffeinated offerings sit centre stage, the imaginative all-day brunch menu (available until 3pm) threatens to steal the show. Almost compulsory in Bristol these days, produce is sourced with attention to locality and seasonality, and everything that can be is made in house – nut milks, chutneys and cakes included. Sweet caramelised onions sit atop a pillowy soft rosemary focaccia, generously dolloped with peppery rocket pesto, spicy chorizo and oozy poached eggs (£9); an accomplished French toast (using house made brioche) provides the perfect sticky vehicle for cinnamon roast pears, a not overly sweet blackberry compote, creamy mascarpone and crunchy toasted buckwheat (£8); meanwhile the traditional Full English is lifted with smoky baked beans, wilted spring greens and slow roasted tomato.

With a well-priced menu of this calibre, Tradewind Espresso has firmly asserted its place on the teeming Bristol café scene.


www.tradewindespresso.com
118 Whiteladies Road
Bristol
BS8 2RP
0117 974 3477


Photos by Tradewind Espresso


Pago Pago

During my time living in Padova, this quaint pizzeria was without a doubt one of my favourite go-to spots. Swarming with locals on any given day, this gem of a restaurant serves up some of the best pizza known to man. Pago Pago impresses with its elaborate Mediterranean garnishes and attractive, low prices for both food and drink. It is the perfect place for an evening on a budget. If you’re in the mood for some wine or Prosecco, then I’d suggest purchasing a carafe  –  a comfortable two glasses of wine for just €3!

The signature pizza at Pago Pago and of Padova is the Napoletana. Using only the freshest Italian ingredients and made by the masterful hand of the chefs, this is the one to go for if you are looking for a typical taste of Padova. The saltiness of the anchovies contrasts sublimely with the sweetness of the tomato and the creaminess of the cheese. What’s more, due to the restaurants’ spacious interior, you can enjoy this special dish in the company of many good friends – just remember to book in advance as this popular haunt fills up quickly.

If you’re not quite in the mood for pizza or are only in the restaurant as the result of a very eager friend, then do not fret, there is also something for you. I have been told their homemade gnocchi is to die for, so that’s definitely worth a try.

Just to warn you, they don’t take cards. So remember to take some cash and enjoy a lovely evening!


Via Galileo Galilei, 59
35121 Padova
+39 049 665558 


Fishers

Stepping into this little seafood restaurant in Clifton, you are greeted by a nautical themed interior and friendly, attentive waiting staff. Warm, cosy and full of charm, Fishers offers the kind of intimacy you only expect at a local neighbourhood eatery. However, here, the food does all the talking.

For a business that prides itself on using seasonal fish, the variety is incredible. Just one look at the menu takes you to a world of fishy goodness. From whole baked seabass with chilli, coriander and lime dressing to haddock fish and chips in beer batter with mushy peas and tartare sauce, the current menu at Fishers is studded with exotic jewels alongside good old Blighty classics. It is a menu that has obviously been designed with a “something-for-everyone” ideology.

But the variety does not stop here. Owing to a sustainable ethos, all the seafood at Fishers (yes, all of it), is sourced locally. At Fishers, this is not seen as a nuisance, but as an opportunity; each seasonal menu showcasing the best the South Coast has to offer at that time of the year. The fish is all exceedingly fresh and you can really taste it.

My last visit was a New Year’s Eve treat and the 2016-17 winter menu featured baked skate wing (a personal favourite) with a Mediterranean style salsa. The tangy saltiness of the capers complimented the perfectly cooked fish beautifully. At Fishers, they seriously know what they’re doing!

A main will set you back in the region of £15, but you do get what you are paying for. If you are looking for somewhere in Bristol to celebrate a special occasion or fancy treating yourself, Fishers is perfect. Also, for any culinary whizzes looking to cook with local, quality seafood, the Fishers online shop should certainly not be missed.


www.fishers-restaurant.com

35 Princess Victoria St
Clifton
Bristol
BS8 4BX
+44 117 974 7044


Photos by Hester Underhill