Things To Do in Barnes, Battersea, Cheam, Clapham, Epsom, Fulham, Kingston, Putney, Surbiton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Wimbledon

Recipe For Success

Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, Ainsley Harriott, Michel Roux Jr, Anton Mosimann, Gregg Wallace, Eric Lanlard, Claude Bosi, Bruce Poole, Adam Byatt.

What unites these super chefs? Simple, they all choose to base themselves in south west London. Yet, despite this remarkable array of talent congregated in our area, south west London is not widely recognised as a foodie location. There’s been no Evening Standard feature on the ‘culinary Mecca down south’, nor a Time Out guide to ‘London’s celebrity chef quarter’; but fortunately we do have the Time & Leisure Food and Drink Awards.

Now, you may think this is crass trumpet blowing on my part, but these awards really have grown into something significant for south west London. And that’s got little to do with us and everything to do with you; the readers. Since the awards first started back in 2011, you’ve cast some 20,000 votes for restaurants, bars, pubs and suppliers from across south west London. Thanks to your support these awards have managed to flourish into something truly meaningful, both for the establishments that win and for the reputation of our area.

As Adam Byatt (chef proprietor of Trinity and Union Bistro) explains: ‘these awards are reaching new levels of popularity; a sure sign of people’s confidence in the standard of restaurants in south London.’

We certainly hope so, because having a reputation as an area of culinary culture is self-perpetuating. I remember interviewing Jamie Oliver a few years back and he said he’d decide to establish his first ever Recipease in Clapham Junction because he’d heard the area had a lot of resident chefs and foodies. Equally, on page 22 in this issue, we visit the new Cactus Kitchen in Clapham. One of the reasons Michel Roux and the Saturday Kitchen team chose to move to Clapham was because so many of their featured chefs lived nearby.

Perhaps then, this is how is should be. The culinary class of our area is known by those in the know. A foodie’s secret, shared only by those who live, cook and vote here.

Jon Watt is editor-at-large of the Clapham & Battersea and Fulham editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.