London is one of the most exciting places to stock your pantry. You can source vegetables only grown within the M25, honey created on a rooftop in Hackney, or from further afield the freshest sashimi grade salmon and vibrant Thai mint.
Being based in London is a bit of a blessing for someone like me. My job as a food stylist and home economist means I am regularly seeking out anything from unusual African produce, the best looking Italian vegetables to a particular brand of Swedish flatbread. Sometimes I have to track down totally out of season produce, which is one of the downsides, but as we are always having to work months ahead of publication dates (shooting a wintery Christmas feature in 30c heat in a log cabin was surreal), or restricted to a two week period for shooting a book whose ingredients span a year on the fruit and vegetable calendar, you have to take it on the chin.
In late 2014, I collaborated with Herb Lester to write and compile London’s Larder, an illustrated map which offers a selection of the best and most interesting food and drink shops in London. It features some of my local favourites such as Fin and Flounder (excellent sustainably sourced fish who always help me track down bits for shoots) and London Star Night (for Vietnamese and Thai produce and surly staff) to places like Cobble Lane Cured (for British charcuterie cured in an Islington garage) and Newington Green Grocers (for stunning produce).