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Simon is a former food editor and senior writer for Metro. After an eating tour that stretched from Ho Chi Minh City to Sansepolcro, Tuscany, he settled in London where he worked for Esquire and lived in a council flat two minutes’ walk from the Borough Market. He now freelances from Auckland for the likes of KiaOra (the Air New Zealand magazine), Monocle, Cuisine, Home New Zealand and Metro, where you’ll find columns on eating and drinking, as well as the occasional feature on topics as varied as bread and the politics of waste. His first book, Food Heroes, was published by Penguin in October 2012. You can email Simon on sfg (a)

Rainy Thursday night dinner Summer: cherry tomatoes, cooked ever so quickly until they melt, thrown over spaghetti with lots of basil. Winter: pork chops with fennel and chestnuts.
Takeout coffee
 Mine – single origin plunger in a thermos. I buy my beans from Coffee Supreme or Coffee General.
My local restaurant
 For a special night, The Engine Room – brilliant food, great service, now an Auckland classic. For a cheap night, we go to local Malaysian Chef Rasa Sayang up the road in Birkenhead. 
Food bible 
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
Auckland secret
 The Shanghainese breakfast dumplings from Little Fatty (AKA Tasty Takeaways) on New North Road in Mt Albert: they’re half fried, half steamed and they have boiling stock inside.


NATALIE SMITH – Writer at Large

Natalie started writing for the online magazine Runway Reporter when she was still studying towards a post-graduate diploma of journalism at AUT. From there, she got her first taste reviewing at Metro before moving to Sydney, where she worked for Russh and did a stint at an advertising agency. She has written for the likes of MetroCanvas, US Nylon, Kia Ora, the Sunday Star-Times, and blogs at Magic Surrounds. In October 2012, she relocated to London, becoming EHN’s Writer at Large as well as holding down a job as a digital strategist at R/GA. We miss her and hope London doesn’t keep her long. You can email Natalie on ns (a)

Rainy Thursday night dinner: Tiny, friendly, cosy – Railroad is what you want. The set menu is £19.50 for three courses: last time I visited we had a simple fatoush with radish; slow-cooked lamb with tahini and roast cauliflower; and a dense, moist chocolate tart.
Takeout coffee: The best coffee (in my opinion) is to be found in East London is at HUH, a boutique which sells takeout flat whites alongside a small selection of very good magazines (Port, The Gentlewoman), art books, striped T-shirts and Happy Socks. They also have a wonderful online magazine of their own.
My local restaurant: I’m two minutes from Exmouth Market and ten minutes from Islington’s Upper Street. How could one choose between Moro and Ottolenghi? I give both my equal attention (when I’m feeling flush).
Food bible: Time Out is overwhelming. These guys do a pretty good job of er, editing the chaos into something manageable.
London secret: It’s not very secret, but the £5 Borough Wine fill-your-own wines are a godsend. Also, to save yourself running around the city finding various obscure ingredients, this website has some wonderful things.


DAVID STRAIGHT – Photographer.

After studying at Massey University in Wellington, the Auckland photographer worked his way around the planet – he interned at Magnum Photographers in New York in 2006, then shifted to London where he lived and worked for three years assisting a celebrity photographer on shoots as varied as James Bond and Dior in such exotic locales as the Bahamas. David is obsessed with books. His first photography book, The End of London, was recently shortlisted for the Dummy Book Prize at the International Photo Book Festival in Kassel, Germany and has since self published, and is working on, several more. You can see his work at and you can email him on ds (a)

Rainy Thursday night dinner Palestinian cous cous with roast beetroot, goats cheese, fresh mint, pumpkin seeds etc.
Takeout coffee
 You can find me at Alleluya.
Local restaurant
 Nishiki. Perfect for long noisy social dinners.
Food bible 
River Cottage Veg. Sustainable and smart.
Auckland secret 
The fish burger from the Huia General Store. The best burgers full stop.