Connecting with Founder James Hill and food.social

How did you come up with the idea for food.social?
I have been in the travel media business for two decades, first building a Japanese publishing company for Japanese Global Travellers, then I Launched ‘BeIn’ City guide, and finally founded LUXOS Magazines, luxury travel guides distributed in 4 & 5 star hotels across several different countries. Apart from working with luxury brands, I regularly talked to chefs, restaurant owners and all kinds of venues looking to create experiences. My sister-in law is a lawyer and opened my eyes to the change of regulations for home restaurants as well as the success of new businesses like Airbnb and Uber. So I thought that this new sharing economy trend was definitely the path to follow and decided to create something that could “connect people through food”.


How has your experience in the travel space helped you?
I have been travelling all around the globe for the last 25 years, and one thing I’ve noticed is, when travelling people are looking to connect, discover new experiences and meet new friends. I really felt we needed a new kind of platform that could bring all these people and experiences together, that’s how food.social was born.

connecting with founder james hill and food.social Connecting with Founder James Hill and food.social WhatsApp Image 2019 06 12 at 00

Do you like to host?
You can ask my wife: when I am not travelling my passion is to open the door to my home and invite all my friends to enjoy great food & wine. Even when I travel I love discovering new restaurants, meeting the owners, chatting with chefs, and just generally learning more about their stories. Now that we have launched food.social we are working with incredible creative people that see food in their own unique way, and we are turning their visions into wonderful experiences that both local and international guests can enjoy. What’s amazing about this platform is that guests can become hosts and viceversa. 

connecting with founder james hill and food.social Connecting with Founder James Hill and food.social WhatsApp Image 2019 06 12 at 00

What do you tell your hosts?
I tell them to be a beacon of bright light for guests, help them to enjoy life, let them try new and unique ways to eat. The hosts need to create the optimal meal sharing opportunities in order to become that bridge for people to meet each other and share their experiences with their friends and loved ones.

What’s next for food.social?
We are confident that after launching pilot market in Milan followed by official launch in London, we will be looking to expland to New York City by end of Q4 2019, our global role-out will be organic and new markets will want to be part of the world we are creating. food.social is like a baby, it will need support, love and attention as we hope it will grow and develop into something special. 

The Ultimate Bucket List of Cheesy Experiences in London

While there is no conclusive evidence as to where cheese making originates, we can safely say that the world is a better place because of cheese in it. Can you imagine just how much flavour our lives would be lacking if it weren’t for cheese? We shudder to even think of it! If like us, you too are a true cheese devotee, and happen to find yourself in London then here’s the ultimate bucket list of cheesy experiences you must have in the city:

1. The Cheese Truck

This no frills food truck is what you need to chase down if you’re in the mood for a ridiculously cheesy grilled cheese sandwich. Their aim is to show people just how amazing British cheese is and they do so quite successfully by melting locally sourced cheeses combined with artisanal breads. Popularly found at Maltby Street Market the truck travels a lot and you easily find their location via their social media. While their deliciously gooey sandwiches are heavy on the stomach they are quite light on the pocket with cost for two being just £10.

2. The Cheese Bar

If you’re not satisfied with simply a grilled cheese, then fret not. The founders of The Cheese Truck decided to expand their horizons and have opened their flagship restaurant in Camden – The Cheese Bar – also known as the cheesiest place in London. Need we say more? Head out to Camden Stables Market to get your hands on some of the cheesiest comfort foods out there.

3. Alpes

Experience the magic of hot melted raclette at this small Alpine bistro in a shipping container in Pop Brixton brought to you by famed street food vendors Raclette Brothers. The fact that they decided to open up a permanent space is a testimonial to their Raclette Savoyarde (priced at £9 at Alpes) being worth the hype.

4. Oli Baba’s

Forget your Mozzarella Sticks or Cheddar pops and make way for your new addiction: Halloumi Fries. Oli Baba’s at Camden Market (and now at Netil Market) call themselves as the original creators of Halloumi Fries and this delicacy full of middle eastern flavours is something you can simply not afford to miss when in London. Their Camden stall serves literally only their flagship dish priced at an affordable £6 and topped with Zaatar Yogurt, Pomegranate Seeds & Molasses, Mint, Sumac and Turkish Chilli flakes.

5. Champagne + Fromage

This French bistro in Covent Garden serves the best – yes, you guessed it – Champagne and Fromage (cheese) combination. A fine selection of Champagne, some brilliantly put together cheese and charcuterie boards as well as seasonal specials and tempting desserts – all served the french way. The best part about this eatery is that it’s not just an eatery – you can very well purchase their finest grower Champagne and over 50 types of soft & hard cheeses to take home with you.

6. St. Moritz

Visit London’s oldest Swiss Restaurant, St. Moritz, for an authentic Fondue experience. Located in Soho, this place is popular for serving an amazing blend of bubbling Swiss cheeses with a variety of breads and seasonal vegetables. An average cost for two is £45.

7. The Cheese Wheel

Hot and fresh hand rolled pasta swirled around generously in a giant Grana Padano cheese wheel. This is your cheesy pasta dream come true, trust us. Made with signature white wine, garlic and chive sauce, their pasta is topped with only the finest artisan ingredients. You can find The Cheese Wheel at Kerb Camden Market.

8. La Fromagerie

Another French cafe and shop that should not be missed by cheese connoisseurs is La Fromagerie in Marylebone. You can enjoy breakfast and lunch featuring the exquisite cheeses on offer at the store daily, or indulge in their Cheese & Wine tastings on Friday evenings. Cost for two on an average at La Fromagerie is around £30.

9. Kappacasein Dairy

Visit their stall at Borough Market for some fantastic Raclette and toastie, or if you want to satisfy the cheese nerd in you, then you can visit their dairy in Bermondsey. Open to guests exclusively on Saturdays, the Kappacasein Dairy is great opportunity to taste their cheese and see how they are made. Take home locally produced cheese with you and impress your friends with some cheesy delights as well as trivia!

The Tourist’s Guide to British Gastronomy: 11 Things to Taste When in the UK

1. Fish & Chips

The classic food of the Brits – fish and chips is a dish as simple as its name suggests. It consists of fish fried in batter and served hot with fresh potato chips (or fries, as the rest of the world likes to call them).

2. Full English Breakfast

One cannot visit the UK and not treat yourself to a traditional Full English Breakfast. It often consists of bacon, eggs (fried, poached or scrambled), fried or grilled tomatoes & mushroom, bangers (sausages), buttered toast, black pudding, bubble & squeak and baked beans – all of this served with a mug of good ol’ tea.

3. Scotch Eggs

Scotch Eggs are a popular picnic snack in the UK, so if you’re heading to spend the evening at Hyde Park make sure to pack this local favourite. Scotch Eggs are essentially hard or soft boiled eggs that have been covered in meat and bread crumbs before being deep-fried to perfection.

4. Sunday Roast

Everyone likes to enjoy a hearty scrumptious meal on the weekend, and the UK is no different. A traditional Sunday Roast will consist of roast beef and roast potatoes accompanied by other vegetables, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding. You’re likely to find this on the menu at a pub near you!

5. Pie & Mash

Pie & Mash is as basic (and as delicious) as the name suggests. A simple cold waster pastry stuffed with minced meat and served alongside mashed potatoes and parsley sauce. Certain Pie & Mash stores will also offer jellied eels on the side, so look out for those.

6. Bangers and Mash

An alternative to Pie & Mash is Bangers and Mash – consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes, served at times with onion gravy and peas.

7. Toad in the Hole

The Brits do like to name their food in the most straightforward way as possible – in this case, they just called it exactly what it looks like. This dish is prepared with sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter and served with onion gravy and vegetables.

8. Bubble and Squeak

You may have spotted this dish served in the English Breakfast, but what exactly is a ‘Bubble and Squeak’ and why is it so called? Essentially speaking, this particular dish is simply all the leftover veggies from previous meals, combined with boiled potatoes and shallow fried. Bubble and Squeak refer to the sounds that are made while the dish is frying.

9. Yorkshire Pudding

Do not confuse this item for a dessert just because it’s called pudding. This popular side dish is prepared by baking a batter of eggs, flour and milk. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any British meal.

10. Sticky Toffee Pudding

This classic British dessert consists of an incredibly moist cake, topped generously with toffee sauce and served with a dollop of vanilla custard on the side.

11. Spotted Dick

Despite the unfortunate name, this is a British dessert you got to try. It resembles a sponge cake, but is actually pudding, made out of suet and dried fruit, often served alongside custard.

What do Londoners Eat Everday?

One can find n number of listicles on the internet that will lead them to the best eateries around London. But what a Londoner really eat on a daily basis? Surely not all of them are hanging out at Michelin starred restaurants or the fancy new establishment that promises to re-innovate British food. If you’re curious to eat like a local, then read on to find out what a typical working-class Londoner’s daily meals look like.

Meal 1: Breakfast

No one has the appetite, the time or the luxury to afford a full English Breakfast on a daily basis. Most Londoners will typically grab their favourite cereal, a quick toast or portion of eggs and a cuppa tea or coffee. Most Londoners have to rush and catch the tube to work, so breakfast affair is kept as short as possible, and energies as high as possible. Those who cannot spare time to whip up breakfast at home will often make a quick pit stop at their local cafe or the good ol’ Pret.

Of course, once in a while, one may indulge in traditional English breakfast which includes bacon, bangers, eggs, veggies, toast, baked beans and more as desired. Given the number of things that go on the traditional breakfast plate, one would usually head out to a local restaurant or pub for a good breakfast deal.

Meal 2: Lunch

Lunches on weekdays are usually kept compact. A sandwich, a drink and a bag of crisps. Most local supermarkets and groceries will offer meal deals during lunchtime that offer multiple options on combos. A sandwich can be easily switched up with a wrap or salad to break the monotony but the overall meal composition remains pretty standard.

On weekends though, one may prefer something more elaborate. The traditional route is to opt for a Sunday Roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, veggies and Yorkshire pudding. However, the brunching trend has really caught up with the city and nearly every popular eatery offers great bottomless brunch deals to help you wear off the week’s stress and gear up for the next week.

Meal 3: Tea / Dinner / Supper

Depending on how early the final meal of the day is had, it can be called tea, dinner or supper.  As one returns home after a long day at work, tea helps the system relax and recalibrate. The hot beverage is followed immediately with a meat dish accompanied by veggies. Curries, pasta and rice have come to become favoured meal selections nowadays.

There are plenty of takeaway and delivery options easily accessible all across the city, so one can quite easily include international food for a mid-week dinner instead of having to wait till the weekend to go out.

How to make the most of your short trip to London?

If you’re visiting London for a short while and would like to learn more about the food habits of Londoners, then the best way to do so would be to find a food host near you and sign up for an food event that entices you – a walking food tour, a culinary workshop or even a home food dinner. There’s no better way to experience local food than by sharing the meal with a local in their own home.

3 Reasons Why You Should Host a Food Event At Your Place

Ever wanted to share your passion for food with rest of the world? Have you always wanted to open a restaurant to serve that one dish that never fails to impress your guests? Are you looking to make an income doing what you love from the comfort of your home? Then hosting a food event might just be the thing for you. Here are 3 reasons you should sign up as a food host:

1. Show off your culinary talents

Hosting a private food event at your home will allow you to go big with your passion for food and cooking. You will get to share your love for gastronomy with travellers from all around the world, and get an opportunity to show off your culinary talents, one event at a time. As a food host, you’re completely in-charge of the menu, the ingredients, the cooking technique and the plating options. Become a food host and let the Chef in you soar!

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2. Enjoy a rich cultural exchange

Food hosting at your home is like having your own little fancy restaurant. When you host a food event at your place, you invite guests hailing from various countries and different cultures into your home. You open up your private space to let in new people and allow them to discover your world the way you want them to. This unique experience creates a platform for learning, sharing and building lifelong friendships.
 
If you’re worried about how safe is it to let complete strangers into your home: don’t fret. Social dining platforms like food.social ensure that the guests are verified account holders, and most importantly, they share the same love of food as you.

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3. Make money for doing what you love!

Last, but most definitely not the least: becoming a food host means that you will get paid to do what you love! Isn’t that the dream? Depending on the intricacy of the experience you’re offering, you can charge anything upward of €60.
 
Cook up your favorite meal, set up your dining table in your own unique style and serve your guests an experience that they’ll never forget. All of this, on your own terms entirely. You decide what gets served, the date of the event and the time. You also decide exactly how many guests you’re willing to host at a time. All you have to do is sign up as a host on food.social and we’ll help you kickstart your culinary journey!