When our eagle-eyed social media editor spotted a review of the wonderful Lusitania in Little Portugal (next to Vauxhall Gardens) on our Twitter feed she was intrigued. After a few clicks, she contacted the reviewer and it was none other than Vauxhall resident and PR superstar, Hugh Smithson- Wright. For your reading pleasure, let Hugh tell you what Vauxhall and his community mean to him….
Who are you and what do you do? I’m Hugh Smithson-Wright and I’m a restaurant PR and communications consultant. What that means in short is that I promote restaurant clients, mostly small independents, by getting them in the papers and online. I also advise clients more broadly on their communication strategies, whether that’s online, social media, internal and external communications, and if needed – which you hope it never will be – crisis communications. I’m also a podcaster; my weekly show Hugh’s Joy Of Food is about my love of eating out, and in.
What does Vauxhall mean to you? Vauxhall means the world to me. I’ve lived in and around SW8 almost exclusively since 2000, and last year my husband and I bought the flat we’d been renting in Little Portugal from our landlords so now I’m settled here for good. Vauxhall’s changed a lot in that time physically, but I think its fundamental personality and character remain unchanged – diverse, multicultural, safe, welcoming and accepting. You can truly be yourself in Vauxhall, whatever ‘yourself’ might mean to you.
Your favourite part of Vauxhall? It would have to be the RVT, which I’ve been going to even before I moved to Vauxhall and love with all my heart – it’s such an important and historic LGBTQ+ venue – and the area immediately around it. I love to walk and relax in Spring Gardens, I go to every show I can at the amazing Above The Stag Theatre, and I rely on Shop & Go for all my favourite Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking ingredients – I love that shop!
Tell us something no-one knows about you….. Oh wow, that’s hard! My life is such an open book that I don’t think there’s anything no one at all knows about me. But a gossipy fun fact is that about 20 years ago, I was editor-at-large for one of the very first-ever online LGBTQ+ magazines, called Coo-ee! I met and interviewed a handsome, young gay cabaret singer, who years later went on to become a very famous Hollywood movie star; the interview and Coo-ee! itself, have long since been deleted…but I still have my handwritten notes!
Why not read Hugh’s review of Lusitania in Little Portugal on his new episode of #HughsJoyOfFood. He also helps a listener to plan her post-pandemic dinner-party menu. Listen here!