Meet Hema Sabina Kalia. Not only is she an incredible cook, food photographer and retoucher, she’s also a local for over 37 years – a true one of our own! We caught up with her to discuss what a funny old time it’s been and the positives to be found in having a little more time to spend in your local community.
‘Having been born in Kennington and living here for 37 years, Vauxhall and South London are home to me. I have been able to see the area go through many changes over the years and see all the wonderful new small businesses that have opened.’
We couldn’t agree more, there have been some incredible changes in the area, and some of the small foodie hubs are just one of the many highlights. ‘My favourite part of Vauxhall is the New Covent Garden Market on Sundays. It’s a market that sells everything, but what I love the most are the street food stalls. My favourite stall to visit for breakfast is the Colombian stall with its delicious empanadas, meat skewers and coffee.’
While, of course, it’s been tough throughout the year, with the obvious sadness of not being able to see loved ones, for Hema, it’s had some unexpected turns for her. ‘I’ve been lucky enough to have worked from home throughout. Just like many others during the lockdown, I decided to learn about baking and took up an online bread course, from which I decided to create a micro-bakery from home, delivering bread and sweet bakes to locals. I did this for two months and I’ve been able to meet and connect with so many new people in the area.’ The lack of time spent travelling to work, for her, became a blessing. ‘I have spent more time practising recipes and doing more food photography. Recently, I have been able to help local businesses such as 24 The Oval and Vanilla Black Coffee & Books with food photography for their social media and websites’.
But of course, as we start a new year, thoughts turn to how to take the learnings from the last 12 months and develop them in 2021, which Hema is incredibly excited about. ‘Who knows what the new year will bring! With this year being so unpredictable, I plan to take each moment as it comes. I’m hoping to create more of my own recipes and work with more restaurants to shoot some of their wonderful food’.
It’s always lovely to catch up with a true Vauxhallian, we love hearing your stories. If you’d like to share your tale about life in our little neighbourhood, then please get in touch. Drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.