5 Foodie Minutes with … S-J Griffey

We’re lucky that we get to hang out with cool foodie folk. We reckoned you’d love to find out a bit more about what makes them tick, both on the ‘shop floor’ and in life generally. We call the series “5 Food Minutes with …

Here’s a thing … Mr and Mrs Deli are about to have their first holiday since The High Street Delicatessen opened 18 months ago. BUT, we wanted to make sure you could still get all the great tastes, your regular fix of Coaltown Coffee, that bottle of wine for friends, a fine selection for your cheeseboard …

Our lovely friend Sarah-Jane Griffey, barista-extraordinaire, foodie, talented graphic designer and indefatigable bundle of energy will be manning the fort! We spent ‘5 Foodie Minutes With …‘ S-J to find out what inspires her.

Hi, who are you and what foodie mischief do you get up to in your day job?

So, my name’s Sarah-Jane, or ‘SJ’ as everyone likes to call me! I’m a Freelance Graphic Designer/Signwriter/Typegeek but I work part time in a lovely speciality coffee shop in Bath mostly running around entertaining customers and trying fill a little part of their day with a smile. The main focus is coffee and tea so there isn’t a huge range of food but there is cake … very good cake made by a local baker called the ‘Organic Cake Company‘. The other treat is the chocolate drops we use for our hot chocolates (from The KoKoa Collection and Willies Dark Chocolate). Oh, and I mustn’t forget the Bertinet Bakery pastries first thing in the morning!

What inspires you?

So many things inspire me. For design, it’s nature, talking to people, reading a book, listening to music. As this is a foodie question, it would have to be the seasons. It’s incredible how much tastier food is when you get it or grow it when it’s not forced. After one recent trip to my local farm shop the knobbly carrots emerged as a pate with cashews, ginger and a little bit of coriander. Pretty good for just 30p! All that recipe book inspiration paid off!

Where in the world do you get to hang out doing your foodie thing? Can you tell us a little of what is so special to you about ‘place’?

If I had to hang out at a place and eat it would be Castle Farm Cafe in Midford. It’s run by Sarah and Rob and is a vegetarian cafe in the middle of the countryside. It’s not pretentious and you always feel welcome. Everything is cooked or made fresh and it inspires you to get more creative.

Which 3 food (or drink) producers should the foodie world know more about?

ONLY three! Okay, these are not my top three, but they’re the ones that spring into my head at this very moment.

The first is the coffee from the Roundhill Coffee Roastery. They’re a great team and they love what they do – taking the business of great coffee seriously but having a laugh along the way.

Secondly, I’ll go for something foodie. The Chocolate Society, based in Bruton. It’s owned by Al, who is also the chief chocolatier. It is no surprise that they’re getting great exposure at Liberty’s and in the press as everything they do is beautifully made and packaged. Oh and the taste! Well, their Hokey Pokey Honeycomb is gobsmackingly awesome!

The final one I’ll pick is Bramley & Gage. They make a delicious gin called 6 O’Clock and their tonic is delicious just on it’s own with ice and lemon. I love their packaging and website and if you’ve never had a Slider before…this is the one to start with! {good call, SJ, they’re on our radar too – Mr and Mrs Deli!}

Where was your last holiday … any ‘hidden gem’ recommendations?

My last holiday was in Devon. I’m lucky enough that my second cousins own a bungalow in the South Hams and since I was tiny my family have been able to go there every so often. It’s heaven for me as you can walk to the sea and go cowrie hunting. You forget about everything, even for a little while. I’d love to tell you some hidden gems…but then they wouldn’t be so hidden! But if you do find yourself in Hope Cove after a long walk along the coastal path, there’s a hotel where you can sit and take tea and scones. But ‘sssshhh’ don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!

What is your favourite meal?

These questions don’t get any easier do they? It really depends on the time of year or where I am. However, I have to confess that Mrs Deli makes a really delicious butternut squash risotto. I tasted it when I turned up at Rose Chapel feeling pretty poorly; that meal was just what the doctor ordered!

You have £30 in your wallet/purse and an open mind about supper – where do you head to locally and what do you buy?

There’s a great farm shop near me called Neston Park Farm Shop. I’m vegetarian and they have some great treats in there to tempt me with. I’d probably make myself a tagine using seasonal vegetables, chickpeas, sultanas and some spices. I’d just add a gorgeous couscous, a fresh herb one with orange segments. If I have any money left, I’d get a Bramley apple and stuff it (and perhaps a cheeky local beverage?!?).

Favourite food writer?

Alys Fowler. I’m not sure she is classed as a food writer but she loves food and wrote one of my favourite books, ‘The Edible Garden‘. I came across her when she did a series about her garden and eating from it for a year. Her hints and suggestions on creating a hybrid garden which you could eat from all year were inspirational. She creates simple, no-fuss recipes that are all about flavour.

Most comforting ‘comfort food’?

I would love to say something highly creative here. But my most comforting food is a slice of fresh sourdough toast with homemade jam on. Paired with a mug of tea and a good book. I sound like such a cliche!

Thanks for sharing your evident love for food and passion for life with us, SJ. You are a perfect fit for The High Street Delicatessen. We reckon you are going to have a great time hanging out with our lovely customers!