Travel and work in five minutes with George Blower: chef, F&B strategist, fermenter-of-everything and photographer based in Penzance, Cornwall.
1 — What’s the food scene like in your part of Cornwall?
I’ve been here nearly two years now, and it’s definitely growing into a thriving place for good, honest food. Obviously we (Cornwall) have long been known for amazing fish, but the microclimate we have down here twinned with lush pasture and rich soils has birthed a myriad of incredible producers on land too. From heritage rare-breed pigs and ex-dairy cattle to organic Cornish lemons, melons and more, it’s an incredibly exciting place to live if you have an interest in food. And whilst we are rich in the produce caught, reared and harvested, we do lack the diversity of places to eat at. Perhaps I should open a Lebanese-come-Carribean-come-Korean joint to satisfy my cravings…
2 — What’s been a particularly memorable place you’ve worked as a chef?
It’s gotta be a mixture of most places I’ve worked. The warm, welcoming comfort of Nuno Mendes at Taberna Do Mercado giving you a hug, an espresso and a pastel de nata to start each day was joyous. So was the camaraderie and beautiful family I found whilst working at Silo – the world’s first zero waste restaurant in Hackney Wick. Never have I worked with so many dedicated, passionate people under the guidance of the mastermind, Douglas McMaster. Most memorable of all though, would be the kitchen residency I had last year – five minutes from the sea. Across 80 covers, myself and my team cooked from a woodfired oven and a humble grill celebrating the best of what the region had to offer – all from a converted shipping container. It was so busy, but the rare moments of calm to close up for a few hours and take a lunchtime swim were glorious.
3 — And where has your work taken you beyond Cornwall?
It’s only since really in the last year that my love and passion for food has resulted directly in travel opportunities, having ditched my chef whites for life as an F&B Strategist. I recently got back from a research trip to Sicily which was amazing. It’s hard work, often doing far longer hours than I would at home, but it’s all rewarded on the days where you’re quite literally being paid to wander Sicilian streets, chat to locals, find the best haunts and eat the best food.
4 — Finally, what are your travel plans for the months ahead?
Living where I do you really do lap up what it gives you in the summer months, and holiday when winter sets in. Soon I’ll be off to Nepal for three weeks of hiking, eating countless variations of dal bhat and momos, and rekindling my love for a country I’ve spent months in before. I’ll be in Mexico from Dec–mid Jan to celebrate my 30th spin round the sun, and likely to be spending time on a small Greek island (Leros) where my dad lives, sometime around Easter.
Follow George on Instagram @blowersplace
Three questions for Yo Hosoyamada, a Japanese illustrator based in London with an eye for architecture, places and spaces.
1 — When you’re travelling, what’s your go-to medium for recording observations and ideas?
My go-to is definitely photography! I love snapping spontaneous shots everywhere I go, which gives me inspiration on composition and different spaces to translate into an illustration later on. If I have time, I will sometimes whip out a small sketchbook and do some scenic studies.
2 — You’ve worked on a number of illustrations for travel clients – what’s your process behind creating scenes and spaces?
Based on the themes and subject matter within the brief, I usually look at reference images online and try to get a good idea of what they look like first. I then try to compose the different elements into a dynamic spatial scene! It’s always exciting when I see a scene that I imagined in my head come to life on paper.
3 — Finally, what are your travel plans for the months ahead?
I am currently travelling in the Puglia region of Italy. It’s very exciting as I have never been in this particular area of Italy. I’m also planning to travel to the US later in the year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that as well.
Illustration from Yo’s Business and Traveller commission.
Three questions for Maria Oliva, an interior designer for hospitality projects and fellow Walthamstow-based creative. A feature we’re doing as part of our newsletter content.
1 — With your specialism in restaurant design – what places are next on your list to visit in London?
I have a ‘eating out’ list that I keep updating — I’m sure it will never end. But that’s the beauty of the restaurant scene in London. At the top of my list I have: Ikoyi Restaurant St. James’s (which recently got in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), The Princess of Shoreditch and Jeru. The list goes on and on...
2 — Your Instagram highlights interior details found on your travels – what’s been your most memorable experience?
It’s very hard to pick one. Every trip is a source of inspiration. But perhaps Milan is where I can collect most of my design treasures. I love to visit the city again and again because, like London, the design scene is in a constant state of change.
3 — Finally, what are your travel plans this summer?
Somewhere in the British countryside with my motorbike. I like to have the freedom to make very loose plans without worrying much about the destination. I know that I’ll stop when I feel it’s time to do so. This gives me the opportunity to enjoy the journey, keeps me open to new discoveries and focused on the present.
Photo from Maria’s Portobello Road Restaurant project.
Three questions for Tian Khee Siong, London-based photographer, cyclist and Covers collaborator. A feature we’re doing as part of our newsletter content.
1 — There’s a lot of people away at the moment! What places have caught your eye recently?
I have a long list of places I want to visit. Currently it’s: Paris for some Le Corbusier and Palace of Versailles, Helsinki for architectural sightseeing and also the Amalfi Coast.
2 — You’re always cycling around London, what’s your favourite part of exploring by bike?
I enjoy exploring most parts of London but to choose a favourite I think it’s south-east London. I like seeing the changes from one area to another with surprisingly a lot of greenery in between. I’m also keen to explore Egham and Windsor.
3 — Finally, what are your travel/holiday plans this summer?
There’s no overseas travel plans just yet, but for a short local break, a walk up a munro is on the cards.
Photo taken by Tian outside Eindhoven Centraal.
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