In this post we have had the pleasure of interviewing Lea (@iamlealou) , a German recipe artist and book author from South East London.
- Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Lea, but somehow people have started calling me Lea Lou a few years ago (which is, I suppose, due to my German surname, which starts with “Lu“). I came to London in summer 2015 to do my MBA at business school and to use the break from my former office life to push my freelance career as a writer, recipe artist and food stylist and photographer. The health-orientated lifestyle in London eventually inspired me to fulfill a big dream: I wrote a book, which will be published in Germany in a few months’ time and which is available in English on Amazon!
- Where do you live in London and what do you like/dislike about that area?
I live in the South East, somewhere between Greenwich, Deptford and Lewisham. It’s a pretty residential area, which I love, although sometimes I think I would love to live a bit more central. But then again, every time I run through Greenwich Park I fall in love with my neighbourhood again, it’s such a peaceful place! There’s lots to do and see in Greenwich town: markets, museums, restaurants and, obviously, the observatory!
- If you could choose one place in London to live in, what would it be?
Mmhm that’s a tough one. I love Notting Hill – I mean, who doesn’t!? The stunning houses, the wide streets, the beautiful restaurants and bars – it’s all so welcoming! However, I’m also a sucker for the East: The area around Shoreditch, Hoxton and Haggerston is not just fun on weekends, I believe, with its famous flower market on Columbia Road. I also love the energy and atmosphere in this part of town on weekdays, there’s such a creative and fast-moving vibe in the air. I love the boutiques, concept stores, bars, restaurants and many coffee shops! One of the places that makes me happy every single time I’m there, is Arnold Circus near Shoreditch High Street. I could sit on that circus forever and watch people passing by. Plus, Leila’s General Store is just a stone’s throw away – a cute little café with contiguous grocery store selling delicacies, seasonal produce and delicious bread. A flat somewhere near that circus would be a dream come true!
- What restaurants would you recommend?
As I’m earning my living with the creation of recipes, I am always surrounded by food and therefore normally eat at home. However, I would never say “no“ to a pizza at Franco Manca or to dinner at “Antico“ on Bermondsey Street which also has a cosy gin bar in the basement.
What makes London truly great, I think, are its food markets – there are so many, and all of them are wonderful – from the obvious Broadway Market (Saturdays) and Borough Market (Wednesday – Saturdays) to the more uncharted markets in Brockley and Herne Hill, for example.
- Where do you like going out on a weekend?
Right after I moved to London, I fell in love with Bermondsey Street near London Bridge. It’s both a foodie street but also has great bars and pubs. “214 Bermondsey“, the aforementioned gin bar below “Antico“, does great drinks, and then there’s the very popular pub “The Woolpack“, but I also love “Garrison Pub“ across the street. If you’re looking for a place to eat, try tapas at “José“ or head across the street to “Casse-Croûte“ for delicious French food!
- If you could choose to have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it in London?
That’s quite simple: I wish I could fly, or well, even better, beam myself. I often suffer from the distances in London – I cycle wherever I can, but often there is no way around public transportation. If only I could be in Notting Hill within five minutes rather than one and a half hours that would be a very much appreciated superpower!
- Are there any hidden gems you know about that you would like to share?
My very own “happy place“ in London is Brockley Market (Saturdays from 10am – 2pm), where fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread and fish are sold as well as street food, breakfast and coffee. There’s a very special vibe about that market: It’s both hip and very down-to-earth at the same time. The market stalls are set up in a square surrounding benches where people sit and chat and eat. I tend to forget London’s business here for an hour or so whenever I come for a coffee and croissant.
- If you could change 3 things about London, what would they be?
Firstly, I would love to decrease the prices for rent, that’s for sure! It would be nice to also make the air fresher and healthier. Thirdly, I would make sure there are safer ways for cyclists like me – we’re often on the very bottom of the hierarchy on London’s busy streets, I feel!
- Other than London, is there any other city in the world you think is a must? Why?
I’ve been to Istanbul three times and love so many things about this vibrant city! I don’t think I could actually settle there, but for a visit it’s definitely a must! Other than that London made me realise that I’m not so much the “big city girl“ I thought I was. So, Amsterdam, Lissabon, Hamburg and Stockholm are definitely on top of the list of my favourite places!