As part of our week-long series, we’ll be introducing you to the Londoners featured in the latest Completely London magazine who have found the perfect balance between the call of nature and the demands of urban life. From spoon carving to cheese making, these city dwellers have artisan living down pat.
First, we meet James Eagle and Hermione Cross, the Camberwell-based Salmon Smokers.
When James Eagle began preparing his alcohol-infused smoked salmon at home in Camberwell, his girlfriend Hermione Cross was quick to encourage him to go full time. ‘I loved what he was producing and the way he was so enthusiastic,’ she says. ‘And because it’s a process that takes up a lot of time, I ended up working with him because it was taking over my life anyway.’
The pair now sell Pished Fish products each weekend at farmers’ markets, including Oval, Herne Hill and West Norwood, with James masterminding what Hermione describes as ‘smoked salmon cocktails’. James explains, ‘In my job I spent time in Scandinavia and noticed gravadlax was often cured with alcohol so I started experimenting with infusions.’ Working from a purpose-built space in the garden, James mixes alcoholic-flavoured cures with different wood smokes. ‘Something like gin and citrus will get smoked over apple and alder wood, while heavier spirits like rum and whisky go with oak,’ he says.
For now, they plan to keep it low-key. ‘People love that it’s made in Camberwell in somebody’s back garden, so we want to keep it artisan and local,’ says Hermione. ‘That way people can meet James and me, and find out how it is done.’
Photography: Chris Terry