Welcome to the Jericho Kitchen Journal – Where it all started!

Every month I intend to write 2 or 3 journals giving you all the news from the Jericho Kitchen but as importantly sharing my food journey.  This was utterly inspired, after a long overdue visit to London last week.

If you know me then you know my utter frustration with Oxford and the lack of opportunities here for new businesses – high rents, the difficulties in getting into Oxford and then the price of parking here.  I have been living back here for over 16 years and every year I think it will change, or even that I can start a change to allow new start ups and new ideas not just large chains – I still haven’t changed my mind or given up hope!!

So whilst we wait for the opportunity to find our own venue and expand with all the ideas we have waiting to happen I decided to be more active and positive in finding the equivalent in other cities.   Think Bristol and all it’s community projects, Bath has similar set ups and then of course there is London… an incredible melting pot of energy, ideas and regeneration galore.

Last week I decided to have a food fact finding session.  I hadn’t been to London in nearly two years – the business keeps me here for far more time than it should, I need to make time to make opportunities happen, clearly.

My first visit was to where my passion for food was cemented and the seed for my own cookery school sown – La cucina Caldesi nestling in the back streets of Marylebone. I felt very emotional as I peeped through the window and saw a space that I loved to bits – so much fun was had there, working long hours but with fabulous people and meeting life long friends – Ursula!! It is still my inspiration for the venue for the jericho kitchen – small, simple but real and full of passion and laughter.

After a walk through Regent’s Park to Primrose Hill (my old stomping ground!) we stopped off in Regent’s Park Road the beating heart of Primrose Hill, it really does feel like a village and I would really recommend visiting.  This little street has bagel bars, juice bars, the best pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, old school classic restaurants – Lemonia and Odettes and fabulous traditional London pubs that allow people to spill out onto the pavements on warm summer afternoons – LOVE IT!

Then it was off to find a recommendation from Ursula called Mercato Mayfair.  Located in a Grade 2 listed church in North Audley Street just 1 minutes walk from the madness that is Oxford Street.   This place absolutely blew my mind and if you love food please, please, please visit.

As you walk through the door the energy, noise and smells hit you like a speeding train.  I felt instantly alive and wanted to visit every food vendor that occupies this hauntingly beautiful converted church.

The way it works.  All the tables are in the centre of the church and situated around the edge on two levels are everything from an oyster and lobster bar, simple bowls of pasta, bao buns, a community garden store to Asian fusion street food, German Kraft beers and to Italian Gelato (the best pistachio ice cream I have ever had).

I would dearly love for something like this in Oxford.  We have such a small selection of amazing quality food here (too many chains full of cheap food) and we need to up the anti and bring an ethos like Mercato’s:

“MM is a movement centred around building a community that understands the importance of nutritious and ample food for everyone. We are a collective of people passionate about seasonal produce, emotive food, community inclusion, and the preservation of the environment.

We aim to use natural and traceable ingredients to create tasty dishes, whilst also celebrating the cultural nuances of our many traders. The focus is on the ingredients, artisan producers, the community, and visitors..”

So, please make a trip to the big smoke and please check this outstanding venue and bring back to Oxford some of their energy and passion and embed it here!   Check out their website https://mercatometropolitano.com

I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas about creating something like this in Oxford or of any other amazing places you have discovered on your food journey.  Basically any conversation with like minded folk are a joy, over and out! Em x

Jericho Kitchen Cookery School - IMG 3400 scaled - Welcome to the Jericho Kitchen Journal - Where it all started!