5 Foodie Minutes With … Nicola Simons (Single Variety Co)

Every now and then we are going to hang out with some of the cool foodie folk we get to work with or who we have bumped into along the way to find out a little bit more about what makes them tick, both on the ‘shop floor’ and in life more generally.

We call the series “5 Food Minutes With …

Mr and Mrs Deli met Nicola at Top Drawer, a design-led show in London with an interesting Food Emporium where style and substance go hand-in-hand. We love the seasonal tastes of Nicola’s jams, preserves, marmalades and chilli jams so it was a delight to hang out for #5FoodieMinutesWith Nicola, to see what inspires her.


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

Hello, I am Nicola and I’m the founder of Single Variety Co. We take delicious fruits and chillies sourced directly from our farmers and turn them into delicious jams, with each jam showcasing just one single variety.

What inspires you?

Ooooh, good question! I just love food, if I’m not eating it then I’m thinking about it. I could never have imagined a job that wasn’t involved with food. I’m inspired by the seasonal fruit and chillies that our farmers grow, and I want to preserve them so we can enjoy them all year round! I also want to try out flavours that aren’t usually found, such as our Jalapeño Jam or our Alphonso Mango Preserve.

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’?

I hang out in crazy London! I have always wanted to live here, and since moving here over 10 years ago it has really become home. I love London because it is so busy, and has so many different places to eat. From the farmers markets (which I’ve worked hard selling jam at!) to the restaurants, there is always somewhere or something new to try.

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

Ok, to name just 3 is so hard.

So I’m sticking with some good friends who have been supportive along the way after we met trading at food markets.

Urban Cordial Company – Natasha makes delicious cordials from otherwise wasted fruits.

Husk & Honey Granola – Hedie makes the best granola and she’s just set up London’s first granola bakery from scratch in Bermondsey.

A Pie Party – Claire makes the most amazing pies, only available at a couple of select London markets at the moment but hopefully one day she’ll be delivering her pies far and wide because they are too good to miss.

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

Not my last holiday, but one of my favourite foodie destinations is Vietnam. Highly recommend doing a cooking course in Hoi An! The food there is just delicious.

What is your favourite meal?

My guilty pleasure is fish and chips! Can’t beat them, especially if a beach is nearby.

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

Ok, so I would take a trip to a London market and buy some fresh ingredients to cook that evening. When I traded at Herne Hill Market my Sunday night dinners were the best, created with all the food I’d bought at the market that day. I’d buy some fresh fish, seasonal vegetables, some wine of course. And lots of cheese for dessert.

Favourite food writer?

That’s a tough one! I tend to make up recipes as I go along, or combine lots of different ideas into one. But I do love my Delia Smith book; she never gets it wrong.

Most comforting ‘comfort food’?

Cheese toasties with our chilli jams of course (just the sort of thing that wows our crowd at The High Street Delicatessen)!


Brilliant, Nicola. Lovely to catch up with your foodie musings just as we are just getting ready to re-stock our shelves with your deliciousness!