What and who is Cocktails and Calamari?…
We started writing a food column for a local magazine under the name before taking the leap and opening a small food stall specialising in.. you guessed it. Cocktails and Calamari.
We now operate for events, pop ups, supper clubs and have also launched a street food operation to the business to, working through some of London’s top markets.
We try to keep an ever changing menu for our customers so they don’t get bored, but there is always our signature calamari, and always a vegan dish. For private events or catering we like to create a custom menu, especially designed for you, or you can choose from one of our stock menus that we are currently working with.
A bit about Billy…
Food and drink became a big part of my life early on, I guess like most people. At first it wasn’t actually about the food or the drink at all! when I was a kid, going round to relatives or out for a meal was a chance to actually spend time with my family. I mean I was pretty happy with just the atmosphere and getting to see people who I hadn’t seen in a while. To be fair this is still the case, but I have a much deeper appreciation for the food and drink now!
I fell into working in a Spanish restaurant whilst I was at college. Running food and drink, clearing tables. There wasn’t much else I could do at 17, and in all fairness, I loved it! Two shifts a week became three, three became 4, and before I knew it I was often blowing off college to go to work instead. (I do not condone this at all!)
Before I knew it, I had been in the industry a couple of years. Bartending was fun! I guess it was like going out every night, yet still getting to be slightly creative with cocktails, which I liked. I spent time in various different restaurant and bars, both in the UK and Gran Canaria. Most of my college friends had all gone off to uni and I had now settled in with a totally new crowed. One where food, and definitely drink was a passion! it was infectious.
My wife, Kayleigh has definitely broadened my food knowledge and passion. She is a superb cook! Food and drink is definitely our biggest hobby. We will cook from fresh every day, (I say we, *Kayleigh*) and are always on the look out for something new to try or local events to go to!
A bit about Kayleigh…
So, where do I start with my love of food? Anyone who knows me will say that almost every conversation we have starts with an anecdote about something I have eaten or a food festival/restaurant I want to try out. Food, genuinely, is my life; it’s my moment of calm, my moment of happiness and a kind of therapy.
I have always eaten everything, as a kid my Mum said I would scoff food down at record speed and wasn’t fussy about what was on my plate. I grew up with my Nanny Dot’s roast dinners, rock cakes and tomato sandwiches along with sharing fish and chips with my Nanny Betty. My Mum and Dad couldn’t cook to save their lives (even though my Dad would beg to differ) Mums repertoire consisted of Colman’s packets and the odd Findus Crispy Pancake, Dad on the other hand couldn’t cook meat without over cooking or potatoes without boiling to death – but hey, it was family and it was comforting.
Every Sunday and Nan’s for a family roast and 5pm tea with Mum, in front of ‘Zap’ were always the highlight of my day. I’ve always loved cooking shows but never really knew I was into cooking, Ready Steady cook and Masterchef had me hooked since 2000; loved watching these chefs in their element.
It was going to University in Brighton to study Photography that saw my interest in cooking grow, Mum wasn’t there to do a spag bol anymore so had to step things up a bit. I became pescatarian whilst at university 10 years ago, as all 3 of my housemates were vegetarian so it made sense. Being short of money, others around me were splashing out on ready meals and Dominoes whilst I was making up recipes to use up the last bits of veg in the fridge.
I started moving away from the chain restaurants (even though I worked in one after Uni – where Billy and I began our romance!) and started reading blogs, looking at foodie awards and becoming interested in trying out new restaurants. Being with Billy saw this obsession become a hobby for two, we spend most of our spare time exploring new foods, trying out recipes and hunting down restaurants. Every holiday and outing revolves around the food and drink we can eat. I love anything spicy, seafood or Gin based.
Billy stirs and shakes the cocktails whilst I conjure up the latest recipe in the kitchen.