Hello! I am The Food Beaver and I am on a journey to discover local, fresh, quality food in Leigh-on-Sea and surrounding areas in Essex.
Apparently when I talk about food I do funny things with my face and hands. I put it down to an involuntary action which manifests when someone asks me a simple question like ‘what did you get up to at the weekend?’ which is followed by a rather long and unexpected waffling on about the joys of 24 hour marinated meat or my new-found way of roasting a potato. I can often sit silent in a conversation until the subject of food and wine is touched upon at which point I find myself poised to strike. I certainly don’t profess to be the best cook in the world but I do love talking about food. I quite enjoy eating it as well. I’m well aware that this obsession is not uncommon amongst our society, not least because I truly believe the UK has become a tremendously passionate and creative food nation (more of which I will talk about later), which not only has some of the finest produce in the world but also has some of the finest chefs, restaurants and outlets.
It is this fascination with all varieties of food (there is not much I don’t like, but I would say I’m more of a savoury than sweet guy) and such a huge choice of quality produce and vendors in the market today which has led me here. First and foremost, I want to keep discovering great food and most importantly, I want to share my discoveries so that more and more people can learn about and enjoy quality food from decent sources. Whilst I won’t be insisting on free range/organic etc, there is most definitely a preference for quality standards that I would certainly like to promote where possible, particularly sustainability. That also doesn’t mean that I won’t be indulging in some guilty pleasures every so often!
I live in an old fishing town on the South coast of Essex on the Thames Estuary called Leigh-on-Sea, which has an abundance of local and independent food and retail trade. One of the many things I love about Leigh is the fact that you can walk along the Broadway (high street) and only see a handful of ‘corporate’ chains, the majority of which are high street banks. Again, it’s the independent and local community spirit that I wish to share and celebrate in order to keep this rare culture alive. I will be featuring some of these wonderful independent outlets on this site as they really are the backbone of a culture which seems to be fading fast.
You might be thinking why such a name as ‘The Food Beaver’ and why talk about something that so many others are already chatting away about online, at work or with friends and family? Well, the ‘Beaver’ part is quite simple. When I was a young boy, I used to suck my thumb constantly, so much so that it actually made my front two teeth protrude out of my mouth and rest on my lower lip. Having two older sisters, it didn’t take long before the inevitable nickname took hold and I was then known to them (and their friends) as ‘Beaver’. Braces as a teenager solved the protruding teeth, however, the nickname seems to have stuck amongst my family ever since. Couple that with my apparent ability to ‘beaver things out’ (I’ve never quite managed to nail the specifics!) and my passion for food talk, it seemed obvious to my wife-to-be that I should be known as ‘The Food Beaver’. So here I am, a food beaver, on a mission to discover, enjoy and share what I hope will be some inspirational culinary treats. Please do join me!
The Food Beaver, February 2017.