Enter the Culinary World of Jackson Boxer
I'm not sure actually! I’ve always loved food, and was very greedy, but took it for granted. It was only when I got a bit older and found myself far from home, deprived of anything resembling love, that food took on profound emotional significance for me
I try to think of every meal in terms of family and in terms of the love and generosity of spirit that my parents represent. I also think of cooking as a beautiful sacrifice. I try to give as much of myself as possible. I figure that the more care and love I put into the process, the better the end result. Much like my experience of being a son, and much like my experience now of being a father.
We heard that the idea behind St.Leonards Restaurant came about during ‘a very drunken lunch’ — could you tell us a little bit more about the story behind this?
Our farm in the country is a wonderful retreat from London, work, and all its pressures and pains. It’s where I do my favourite cooking. Andrew and I were feeling overworked and uninspired, and decided to blow off service one day and recuperate. We took a large rib section of particularly good bee from our fridge, an enormous brill, some beautiful crabs and shrimp, and absconded to the country. Here, we set about lighting a big fire and slowly roasted both the food and ourselves in the blazing sunshine and cold white wine. It was a thoroughly memorable day, time seemed to slow measurably, and the good feeling and conviviality was abundant. We thought it would be lovely to open a restaurant which embodied these values.
We all get bored. I get bored of cooking the same thing. I get bored of eating the same thing. Familiarity breeds comfort, but also contempt. It's important to keep yourself on your toes, and the same goes for your guests. The produce we use, the way we cook (slowly over a log fire); and the combination of flavours and textures, are all unusual and extraordinary. Ultimately our aim is to be delicious, and I hope we have achieved that.
East Ham remains my favourite neighbourhood for exploration. There is such a wonderful and diverse array of subcontinental cuisines, and it represents a lot of what I absolutely treasure about London.40 Maltby StreetLyle's
I think 40 Maltby Street still flies under the radar somewhat. I've never had a less than wonderful time there.
There is very little that gives me more pleasure than working in my restaurants, but I don’t really enjoy dining in them. I take pride in the quality of my cooking, but my capacity for endless self-criticism means it's not a restorative experience. My favourite places in London to eat are Quo Vadis, St John, & Lyles, as these are the restaurants I visit the most. My dad's deli in Vauxhall, Italo, is up there, too.
Idiosyncrasy and authenticity. We're all gorgeous weirdos running restaurants, and they should be reflective of that. I'd say my dad's shop is perhaps the greatest example of this.Italo Deli
I haven't been to a new opening in London in ages. Since opening St. Leonards I really haven't stopped, so there is such a huge backlog of amazing places in town on my radar that I haven't yet made it to. Given the first opportunity, I would really like to go down to visit the boys at the Fordwich Arms, who are both tremendous people and exceptional talents, and are by all accounts, absolutely crushing it.