King Cook’s Insider’s Guide to East London

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East London forces you to be streetwise, so you can always adapt to any situation. After leaving school at 15, I worked my way up from market food stalls, pub kitchens, 5-star hotels to Michelin-starred kitchens but then I hit a wall. After reconnecting with my Buddhist roots, I went meat-free and launched my own vegan operation. Before lockdown I had four Cookdailys running in Hackney and Central London. At first, I thought we could just ride through it all but when I saw my friend’s vegan places closing down, I thought maybe it’s time to take a break, take a breather. In the end, one year away from the vegan scene to spend time with my family became three.

During lockdown, I was doing a lot of research into Japanese food culture, especially small family-run Japanese restaurants. No matter how busy the cities are, or how advanced, there are always these little culinary gems hidden away, working hard, day in, day out. Coming back to the scene, that’s what I wanted to channel. Keeping it simple, it’s just me in the heart of Shoreditch. So, I put my name on the door: it’s King Cookdaily because I promised myself I want to be in the kitchen cooking and overseeing everything every single day for at least a year.

Follow King Cook on Instagram or find out more about King Cookdaily, 10 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR. Mon-Sat 12-9.

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