Latest News

The Good Life Experience


13 Dec, 2017



We love an end of year list; records, films, books, you name it. As card carrying foodies, we decided to compile a list of our own, a list of our Food Heroes of 2017. So, in no particular order, here goes.

1. Stephen and Bethan Stevens
For founding and running Sosban and The Old Butchers on Anglesey and in so doing bringing one of Britain's best resturants to North Wales.

2. Rob Evans and Chris Roberts
For their new book For the Love of Food, an exploration of British food heroes that's self published as a side project for Rob and Chris. We salute them!

3. Jackson + Levine
Broadcasters Laura Jackson  and Alice  Levine teamed up back in 2013 to found their sell-out supper club, and have gone on to food world domination with a 2017 cookbook and major brand collaborations. The book, 'Round to Ours', is described by The Times as an instruction manual for a generation.

4. Yasmin Khan 
Armed with little more than a notebook and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, British-Iranian cook Yasmin Khan traversed Iran in search of the country's most delicious recipes. Her fantastic book The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen is a favourite in Cerys' house, and we are eargerly awaiting her next book, Zaitoun, (out in 2018), a collection of essays and recipes inspired by her travels through Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

5. Valentine Warner
For continuing to champion real local food and cooking it outdoors with genuine enthusiasm and humour.

6. Anja and Jon Jacob
The founders of Great Glen Charcuterie cure the very best local meat at their base in The Highlands. Great product, massive passion, great people.

7. Matthew & Iain Pennington
Owners and chefs of The Ethicurean, a restaurant tucked away in a Victorian walled garden near Bristol, the Pennington brothers champion seasonal, local and sustainable food through fermenting, pickling and curing. Ethically conscious and the food is spot on.

8. Nadiya Hussein
Since her triumph in the final of Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya has gone to become a much loved columnist, author of five books and television presenter too. This year she was named by Debrett's as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK.

9. Bill Granger
For opening his fourth restaurant in London and bringing his unique laid-back Auzzie cool to the Brits.

10. Cook for Syria
Shining a light on the desperate plight of children in war torn Syria through cooking, sharing recipes and the power of social media. In raising money for Unicef’s Children of Syria Fund, Cook For Syria is making a real difference. And the cook book -a collaborative effort from a number of our favourite chefs- is excellent.

11. Lord Logs
Mark Parr supplies some of the best restaurants in London with logs, charcoal and woodchip, and has worked with some of the greats; Francis Mallman, Niklas Ekstedt and Yotam Ottelenghi, to name a few. His passion is completely infectious.

12. The India Club Restaurant
The India Club on London's Strand has functioned as an Indian restaurant and hangout for Indian journalists and intellectuals since 1946, with former Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi among its guests over the years. This year it sees it's existence under threat with the building it is housed in under threat of internal demolition. You can sign the petition to save this institution here.

13. Meera Sodha
For Made in India, a book that shows us that we really can cook proper Indian food at home, and for her latest work, Fresh India, which we love too. Simple, accessible, brilliant.

14. Thomasina Miers
We make a beeline for Thomasina's Guardian column each weekend, and her latest 'Home Cook' is possibly our favourite of all her tomes (and that is saying something). It's good, fuss-free food, and loads of it - 300 recipes!

15. Ella Mills
Deliciously Ella is a phenomenon but the nay sayers (who hate the idea that a young woman might achieve massive success) love to knock her. Not us! Ella champions healthy living to her 1.2 million followers on Instagram, she has three delis, her range of snacks is carried in supermarkets across the UK, her cook books are best sellers...and she's only 26. Go Ella!

16. Karam Sethi
For creating the phenomenal Gymkhana and introducing Londoners to a new style of Indian cooking. Absinthe lassi or venison biryani anyone?

17. Harry Eastwood
For Carneval, a proper book on meat.

18. Angela Finlay and Team
For Dulse and Brose, their restaurant in Portree on Skye. Amazing food, great design and no pretension.

19. The Herbert Family
Tom Herbert has his own section in this list but the rest of his (large) family deserve their own place because of their work with the brilliant Hobbs House Bakery.

20. Paul McGlynn
The Oyster Shed on Skye is simple, slightly chaotic and absolutely brilliant. The food is as fresh as it gets, the provenance amazing and the view unbeatable. Follow the hand painted signs, twist up the track and bingo!

21. Fafa Gilbert
For introducing so many people to food rooted in Ghana and doing so with panache and wit. 43k Instagram followers can’t be wrong.

22. Genevieve Taylor
We love everything Genevieve does and await her new book 'The Ultimate Wood Fired Oven Cookbook' (out early next year) with much anticipation. Eyes peeled. In the mean time, check out her latest book, Masterchef Street Food of the World here.

23. The Farquharson Family
There are lots of good farm shops and cafes in Scotland but The Farquharsons have the edge and not just because this busy shop is always full. The Farquharsons believe in community and their Finzean Farm Shop is a proper local hub.

24. Mike Keen
If you saw his fantastic chicken candelabro at The Good Life Experience, you will understand why Mike Keen is on this list. A truly adventurous chef, we urge you to seek out Mike's food in 2018.

25. David Edge
Dave runs Calon Wen, the Welsh organic co-op. He's a third generation farmer whose work is paying dividends.

26. Olia Hercules
For her brilliant, inspiring and very readable Kaukasis, The Cook Book.

27. Nigel Slater

28. Felicity Cloake
For her brilliant restuarant reviews in The Guardian.

29. Sabrina Ghayour
For the brilliant book Feasts. If you haven’t yet discovered ‘the golden girl of Persian cooking’ then do so now.

30. Simon Wright
For his brilliant Welsh cafe and food store, Wright's Emporium.

31. Tom Herbert
Tom's new book 'Do Wild Baking; Food, Fire and Good Times' is one of our favourites of 2017. Over 50 inspiring recipes made easy by Tom for The Great Outdoors. 

32. ​Rawia Bishara
A veritable feast for the eyes and a new discovery for us, Bishara's 2014 cookbook Olives, Lemons and Za'atar is inspired by a childhood spent in Nazareth and the hills of Galilee, an adult life spent in multi-cultural New York and family summer holidays in the Mediterranean. 

33. James Whetlor
Through his company Cabrito, this former River Cottage chef is doing important work in promoting goat meat. Support him!

34. Claire Thomson
For her September 2017 book The Art of the Larder. Simple but very clever.

35. Yotam Ottolenghi
For continuing to push his amazing British/Israeli food forward. His influence is huge and growing. We salute you!

36. Randolph Hodgson
In 1979 Hodgson founded Neals Yard Cheese. It's hard to over estimate the importance and continuing relevance of Neals Yard. 

37. Damian Clisby
Chef Director at Petersham Nurseries, Damian's endless enthusiasm and creativity makes him one of our all time food heroes. Damian works closely with Action Against Hunger and in March this year trekked through the Himalayas with a team of London-based chefs, in a bid to raise over £100,000 for the charity's lifesaving programmes around the world.

38. Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson
For creating Homedods a premium supplier of beans from UK farms. In Norfolk a hodmedod is (normally but not always) a hedgehog.

39. Ozzy Gandaa
Ozzy Gandaa is the man behind Notting Hills GWK Catering. Passionate about cooking fresh food, onsite for events, from children's parties to corporate dos, Ozzy uses fresh, local ingredients wherever he can. He makes everything from scratch, from vegetarian burgers to his famous chickpea curry. Not only a local food hero in Notting Hill, Ozzy is one of the brave heroes that fought off the London Bridge terror attackers earlier this year.

40. Liam Burgess
For Wales' amazing Nom Nom chocolate company and for his constant energy, can-do attitude and all round eccentricity. Wales has its own Willy Wonka. 

41. Gaz Oakley AKA Avant-Garde Vegan
Chef Gaz turned vegan overnight in 2015, and through Instagram and YouTube has grown a massive and loyal vegan following for his brilliant and inventive recipes. His debut cookbook, Vegan 100, is out in January.

42. Everyone at Fareshare
Fighting hunger and tackling food waste. Go Fareshare!


43. Sheila Dillon
For her work as presenter of Radio 4's Food Programme and as founder of the BBC Food and Farming Awards.

44. Tom Hunt
Conscious of how our food choices make our greatest impact on the earth as individuals, eco chef Tom Hunt loves talking about food and sustainability, touring the world with his talks and cookery demonstrations.

45. Illtud Llyr Dunsford and Liesel Taylor
Founders of Charcutier Ltd, purveyors of outstanding charcuterie from their farm in South Wales.

46. Anna Jones
Anna Jones is a cook, food writer and stylist who has worked with with some of the UK’s biggest food brands and best-known chefs. Anna believes that vegetables should be put at the centre of every table, and is devoted to helping people make a long-term commitment to eating well and feeling amazing. Her new book 'The Modern Cook's Year' is a joy.

47. Nick Weston
At Hunter Gather Cook, Nick Weston runs foraging and cooking courses in an off-grid Tree House HQ. Exclusively using live fire, Nick showcases how game can be used in a less traditional way. And we are in love with his truffle-hunting dog, B.

48. Niklas Ekstedt
Swedish star chef Niklas Ekstedt is founder of the Michelin-starred EKSTEDT, in Stockholm; a restaurant that uses only Scandinavian wood in their magnificent fire pit or their wood-fired oven to give the food a truly unique character. Food from the Fire: The Scandinavian Flavours of Open-Fire Cooking is excellent.

49. Roger Phillips
Roger's knowledge of wild food, and mushrooms in particular, is just phenomenal. He has sold well over 4 million books, and inspired many a budding forager along the way. He is a festival highlight at The Good Life Experience, every single year.

50. Nick Davis and Family
For their amazing Usk Vale turkeys. The turkey industry can be a shady one but there are lots of good farmers doing things properly and the Davis family are amongst them. Seek out Usk Vale or your local equivalent.

51. Gill Meller
Head Chef at River Cottage, and part of the team for over 10 years, Gill Meller's wonderful book, Gather, was named one of The Telegraph's Top 100 Books last year. We are big fans of his gentle approach to cooking, championing food that’s been produced in the most natural way it can be.

52. Hang Fire Smoke House
Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn traveled to America back in 2012, on a roadtrip of epic proportions to find out ‘what exactly is American bbq?' Fast forward to 2017 and the pair have taken the slow and low world by storm to affectionately become known as ‘The First Ladies of ‘Cue'. Their restaurant in South Wales, the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, is booked out months in advance, so get yourself on the list and head to Barry.

53. Michael Thomson
Cheesemonger turned cheesemaker, Thomson is making Young Buck in Northern Ireland. And it's great.

54. Jamie Corry
Jamie has almost 20 years' experience of working as everything from bushcraft instructor to deer stalker, countryside ranger and youth engagement officer. He has a passion for only eating meat that he has hunted or raised, knowing exactly where the animal came from and that it had a good life. 

55. Will and Gillian Kerton
For bringing the Droitwich Saltworks back to life with Churchfield Salt.

56. Diarmuid Rogan
For his amazing smokery, Upton Firehouse.

57. Tom Griffiths
Tom's launch of Flank in Spitalfields was hotly anticipated and it lives up to the hype. The restaurant offers modern, seasonal, British, nose to tail cookery, using an open flame barbecue. One of Flank’s key messages is that sustainable cooking is the only way we can eat quality beef in the future.

58. Cook With Rosie
London-based Rosie Trotter Cookery runs cookery classes to encourage healthy and creative eating for all ages. Her classes are hands-on and messy, just as they should be.

59. Peter Hannan
For his work Glenarm Shorthorn Beef in Co. Down. Aged in his salt chamber, this is regarded as some of the very best British beef.

60. Lopè Ariyo
For the amazing recipes from Nigeria that make Hibiscus and must-own book for any cook keen to delve further into African food.


A weekend of discovery + adventure, music, food, books + the great outdoors