jordan smith | hand of glory

Heading up the kitchens of the Hand of Glory and the man behind hotdog and burger pop up Wild Dogs is Jordan Smith. A man with northern roots who’s passionate about food and pubs. His piece de resistance, a proper northern roast.

Where do you live in London and what do you like best about that area?

I live just off Church Street in Stoke Newington with my girlfriend. What makes the area so special for me is that all my mates live here so going for a swift pint or dinner is easy. I run two kitchens in Hackney, Hand of Glory in Hackney Downs and The Victoria in Dalston, living 10 minutes walk away from work is a massive bonus as I’m not a fan of commuting. But if i’m honest, its all about getting a top kebab and Stokey offers the best.

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How did you get into food and where did that love come from?

My love for food stems from the place i was born. I grew up in the Lake District in a small town called Ulverston where the food scene and produce is incredible. Food has always been the highlight of my day. I remember playing for my local under 12’s football team Swarthmoor FC and looking forward to the meat and potato pie my dad would bring me after the game more than the match itself. My Grandparents owned a bakery so I grew up around the smell of freshly baked hot cross buns, Eccles cakes and soda bread. How could you not fall in love?

You don’t shy away from your roots and pimp out your Proper Northern Roast to the East London massive, but what makes a great roast and how has the influence from back home made it into the Hand of Glory?

I’m a proud Northerner and love my roots, I’ve been in London for 15 years now and class the city as my home. I’d say 80% of my pals are Northerners, so that’s why I still sound like an extra from Kes. Four years ago I decided I needed a change and to give my life a shake up. I went back to the lakes and worked with a butcher called Pepsi, he taught me the art of sausage making and butchery. After a few pop-ups in east London, I managed to secure my first Kitchen at the Hand of Glory and Proper Northern Roast was born. I’ve now expanded into my second venue in Dalston at The Victoria. I love everything about a Sunday Roast. Its all about family, friends, tradition, and a good excuse to have a glass of wine on a Sunday. When I was a kid my grandad used to take me for long walks in the Lakes every Sunday and would return to my grandma’s roast, the perfect end to the day. I wanted to recreate that feeling with Proper Northern Roast. The perfect roast to me is all about the gravy and those little extras. We go a bit crazy with ours. Roast and mash potatoes, cauliflower cheese, honey roast carrots and parsnips, a yorkie is a must for me whatever meat you pick – a pig in blanket is a nod to my sausage making days. In my opinion, if you’re not full up with a massive smile on your face when you finish, it’s not a Proper Northern Roast.

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When you aren’t cooking, where do you venture out for food and drinks and what do you love about those places?

The most exciting thing about living in London for me is the food scene, such amazing things are happening at the moment. I’ve just started a food and indie radio show on Hoxton Radio Mondays 2pm – 4pm. There I talk about my favourite places to eat and the food geek in me gets to meet the folk behind my fave London haunts. Some of my favourite places to eat and drink in London might be; Breakfast – Blue Legume on church street. £7 for breakfast and a coffee before midday. Nothing better than a bargain to start the day Lunch – Old Spialfields Market. Hoxton Radio is based in the market which is a massive bonus as their new food hall is amazing. My current favourites are Monty’s Deli Reuben sandwich served with a pickle. Dinner – Hawksmoor. I had the owner Huw Gott in for an interview on my show. I love this place and the new refurbished Spitalfields restaurant is stunning. I love steak and they have mastered the art of cooking it. My favourite dish I’ve had for a long time is their homemade crumpets with crab. Delicious. Special Night – Hereford Road in Notting hill. A real treat. Classic British neighbourhood restaurant. Menu changes daily and they serve rice pudding. Cocktail – East London Liquor Company. They distil there own gin and make a mean Tom Collins. Boozer. The Axe. Stoke Newington. Me and my friends new found local. Hidden gem of a pub with great Keg beers. Late night – Best Turkish Kebab. Stoke Newington. If you have been here after a few drinks you won’t disagree.

What would be your ‘perfect’ day in London?

Lazy Saturday mornings are the best. Get up around 10am, cook scrambled egg and bacon for me and my Mrs whilst listening to the football build up on 5 Live. I love listening to football on the radio as it reminds me of Saturday morning in my dad’s car. I’d head into town in the afternoon. I love just walking around the posh areas in London. I used to work as a waiter near Marylebone high street when I first moved down and would sit and have a coffee and a daydream on my break. I saw Noel Gallagher and Rodger Daltrey from The Who in the same break once and I’ve loved the area ever since. I would head to Notting Hill for early dinner at Hereford Road, the roast Quail and aioli is amazing. Finish the evening in Stoke Newington for a few pints with friends.