I grew up on a farm in the Devonshire countryside. From as early as I can remember I wanted to open a cafe at home on the farm. We lived in the middle of nowhere and so, perhaps very sensibly, my mother talked me out of it! However, I did continue to grow vegetables and pick plums, which I sold from our garden gate. As I grew up, my love of food only became stronger and, a few years after graduating from Durham University, I decided to quit my ‘proper job’ in Financial PR and went to cookery school to train as a chef. After gaining lots of catering experience, cooking for a handful of high profile clients, doing some food styling and working on Nigel Slater’s television programme, I decided it was finally time to open my own cafe.
This is the second St Clements. The first was on a temporary lease in the gardens of Middle Temple. There I learnt a lot and although by now I had the first of three children, I knew I wanted to find a permanent site. It took months of looking, and a long and painstaking refurbishment, however in March 2014 we opened the doors to St Clements, Parsons Green.
Seasonal, fresh and high quality British ingredients lie at the very heart of my cooking and recipes. Wherever we can we will always source from local, small and artisan producers, not just because their produce tastes better, but also because it is much better for our overall health and the environment. Our ingredients are fundamental to everything we make and we do our best to let them shine in our seasonal dishes. I think it’s what makes St Clements special.
Keeping our menu in tune with the seasons requires constant love, care and attention – but it’s also hugely exciting and rewarding to be led by the incredible fruit and vegetables that shape our days, weeks and months here in the UK. We’re very lucky to work with some extremely talented artisans, experts and producers – those on the same page as us – who truly love food and care about where it comes from.