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NetworkTen Interview: Aurora Stories

Victoria Metaxas Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Hi, my name is Victoria Metaxas and I am a photographer and lifestyle/travel blogger here in London. I’m half English, half Greek and grew up in Dubai. I came to London for university, where I studied Economics. After initially pursuing a career in digital media, I spent six months in Milan last year to complete a diploma in Fashion Photography. I’m now back in London permanently, but who knows where the future will take me!

2. Tell us a little about your blog
My blog is a lifestyle site where I document my experiences in London and abroad through my photography. I use my photo skills to capture the atmosphere of a place, restaurant, event and so on, and write about what I experienced. Initially, I started my blog back in 2013 as a place where I could share the day to day pictures I took. Over time updating my blog developed into a real passion, and ultimately my full-time focus. From posting once or twice a month, I’m now posting up to 3-4 times a week, as well as working as a photographer for a number of bloggers and brands.

3. How long have you been writing your blog?
I’ve had my blog for two years, but this summer I decided to make it my full-time focus and give it a new name, rebranding it to “Aurora Stories”. The name Aurora derives from the goddess of light, so my blog is place where I can share the stories I create and capture of the light and beauty in the world that surrounds us.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
One of my most popular posts was my travel guide to Mykonos. Travel blogging is one of my favourite things to do as I love seeking out unknown spots and sharing it with others. I guess people love mini guides to places they might visit, and can jot down a few of my tips for while they’re there – I know I do it myself for the travel blogs I follow!

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
Instagram for sure. It’s a fantastic platform for visual influencers and creatives, giving people the opportunity to have a small sneak-peak into your blog and life. It helps me a lot in sharing small snippets from my upcoming blogposts, enticing people to go and read the full post.

6. What makes a good PR approach?
Staying true to the brand that you represent. It’s great when you get a clear understanding of the roots and ethos of a brand through the creative projects it is part of. For example, brand events that take you on real experience are brilliant ways to allow people to create an accurate perception of the product/service and see how it fits into the context of their personal lifestyle.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?
I would say a bad PR approach would be being reactive rather than proactive and following the trends. It’s important to think outside the box and look into how you can get a brand into people’s minds without stating the obvious. For instance, celebrity endorsements can sometimes be so forced that the brand loses its credibility – I much prefer to see products being associated with real, everyday people who I can relate to.

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?
I’m hoping to take my blog forward with more projects with lifestyle brands, restaurants and hotels next year, both here in London and around the world. You never know what is around the corner, so I love being kept on my toes and always ready for new experiences! I’m also looking forward to some exciting fashion projects coming up in 2016 with the fashion bloggers I work with.

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?
I would say Bloglovin’ – it is like my personally curated magazine. I love seeing what people have been up to, the latest shoots and amazing collaborations and projects. Everyday there is something new to discover and read about, so you never get bored.

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
14:10 today I was Guildford shooting a blogger project for the new Mazda roadster, with menswear fashion blogger, Martell Campbell. We had a blast shooting with a car, which I’d never done before! Martell and I shoot often, so it was so nice to have a change of scenery and add a little something different to our usual photo session.

Thank you, Victoria!

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu

The Language of Food Dan Jurafsky

The Language of Food Dan Jurafsky

“Writing with knowledge and wit, Dan Jurafsky shows that the language of food reflects our desires and aspirations, whether it’s on a fancy French menu or a bag of potato chips.”
— Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

For foodies and non-foodies alike The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu by Dan Jurafsky provides an interesting insight into the world of culinary influences.

It might seem obvious that customers can tell a great deal about a restaurant from it’s menu but Stanford University professor Dan Jufasky embarks on a fascinating journey through The Language of Food, uncovering subtle hidden meanings, storytelling tropes and marketing jargon that influences the food we eat.

Interestingly, the fact that the way in which food is described heavily influences our decisions provides a yet another area for both restaurants and customers to navigate.

It is not as easy as there being good food and bad food. Storytelling tropes and marketing language may have the ability to dress up average food to something that it’s not and similarly, we may disregard amazing food because it is not described in the way in which we would expect. In the same way that great imagery can do wonders for a restaurant by luring customers in through their website or social media, Jufasky’s book suggests that the way in which food is described is equally important. Clearly the value of a poached egg is far lower than a Old Cotswold Legbar poached egg but the dissection to why is where Jufasky interestingly elaborates.

Food for thought, as it were.

There are also interesting details regarding the etymology of words and the relationship between certain foods such as macaroon versus macaron, why we say “toast” when drinking wine, how old Middle Eastern stews became British fish and chips and that Japanese tempura and ceviche are also connected to the latter. Naturally having an American author it does lend itself to a more US view but who does’t want to know why Yankie Doodle Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni?

NetworkTen: Bruce Millar

Bruce Millar Header Image

1. Hello, who are you?
Bruce Millar, the main writer on The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. I also contribute to and help edit The Sunday Times’s two other restaurant supplements, covering the best 130 places around the country where you can eat for £20 and “around the world in 80 meals” — the best ethnic restaurants in Britain.

2. Tell us a little about your publication and your role within it…
We publish in association with Harden’s Guides, using their tried and tested methodology for collating marks and reviews sent in by thousands of genuine diners who have spent their own money on eating out. So we believe that although enjoyment of a meal is subjective, our ranking is as objective as it is possible to get. My role is to visit restaurants selected from the 100 and interview the chefs. I am not writing a review but describing what is special about each restaurant, and why our voters have chosen it.

3. Recently The Times editor John Witherow shared his expectations for 2016 and predicted “the resurgence of print”. Have you seen evidence of this already?
It certainly appears that the long and steady decline in newspaper print circulations as at last levelling off. Online has all sorts of advantages in terms of speed, convenience and accessibility, but I think people may be realising that it is not considered, edited or mediated in the way that good serious newspapers are (precisely our mantra for producing Social Media content for ourselves and our clients;  consider, edit and mediate and nothing less – Krista Booker, Director, Fourteen Ten). Much of the content of social media is like being shouted at in a bar.

4. Martin Ivens, Editor of The Sunday Times, said: “Our readers already enjoy a great package… The Dish adds extra spice to the mix, satisfying the thousands of them who have a love for all things food.” We have enjoyed the launch of this supplement, is it here to stay and are there any plans to develop it?
Interest in all aspects of food and cooking keeps on growing, and the Sunday Times is sure to go with it. I’m not privy to the commercial decision-making, but I can only see The Dish developing further, in whatever form that may take.

5. What makes a good PR approach?
Interesting, restrained copy with a decent amount of factual detail that shows some insight into the product it is promoting, as well as some insight into my requirements as a journalist, is always appealing. Soft-sell is always preferable to hard-sell.

6. What makes a bad PR approach?
Breathless and cliche-filled copy full of hyperbole is always underwhelming. If it’s sprinkled with spelling mistakes, I assume it was written by a know-nothing school-leaver on work experience — and that the executive responsible was too busy lunching a client to do the work. (thank you for raising this Bruce, these are practices Fourteen Ten work very hard to avoid, in fact we tend to take our Interns with us on said lunches – David Farrer, Director, Fourteen Ten)

7. What was your restaurant moment of 2015?
Too many to count. But if you insist… well, finally eating at L’Enclume after reading about it for so many years was wonderful — 18 courses at lunchtime, and I didn’t feel stuffed. I had eaten at Sat Bains in Nottingham before, but he came top on our list this year, and it was great to catch up with him and eat his brilliant cooking again. And I had never tasted with such intensity as I did at Araki — it was a revelation to eat sushi prepared in front of my eyes by one of Japan’s greatest masters, now working in London. And it is amazing how expense powers your concentration… A fortnight in the summer in Tokyo and on the Izu peninsular a bit further south included at least half a dozen great restaurant experiences — including a place where you catch your own fish in a big tank before the chef slices it up for you. The standard is extraordinarily high because all Japanese are serious foodies, so a bad restaurant will soon go out of business.

8. We understand you have a keen interest in Japanese food, which is your favourite Japanese restaurant in London and why?
I really enjoyed Koya in Frith Street, now closed but replaced by Koya Bar. And Namban in Brixton is a great addition — opened by an American fan of Japanese food.

9. We’ve seen trends for dishes such as Yakitori, Okonomiyaki and more recently Ramen in London. Are there any new Japanese foods you expect, or would like, to take their turn in the limelight?
What I really like in Japan are the highly specialised restaurants. There are legendary places that only serve one dish, but it is perfect. I went to one tiny yakitoria that sold nothing but bits of chicken barbecued on sticks, but there were half a dozen chefs working flat out and probably 50 different items on the menu. That would be great in London…

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today (or yesterday)?
Eating lunch in the canteen: rice and beans that I cooked at home, for reasons of both taste and economy.

Thank you, Bruce!

Walter & Zoniel in Flaunt Magazine’s #CALIFUK issue

Walter & Zoniel Header Image

London based artist duo Walter & Zoniel feature in the current issue of LA’s quarterly fashion culture magazine Flaunt. Never straying far from exceptional and unique content (watches on pregnancy stomachs anyone) the Alpha-Ation series from Walter Hugo & Zoniel is exceptional.

The series is an ongoing project of exclusive portraits that have been taken using a giant hand-built camera with a brass lens dating back to 1850. The images are shot directly onto positive paper so the artwork has no negative or possibility of reproduction and then hand-coloured and 24 carat gold gilded. The subjects of the portrait artists are celebrities and a perspective of their profile has been featured to produce and ode to the modern day relationship with the portrait and acts of flattery and adulation.

Subjects include Emily Watson, April Ashley, Andreas Kronthaler, Daniel Lismore, Lindsay Lohan, Fran Cutler, Aiden Shaw, Lulu Kennedy, and Tinie Tempah.

The creative is an impressive roll call (below), the initial collection of the ongoing project can be followed here and you can buy the #CALIFUK issue of Flaunt now.

Photographer: Walter Hugo & Zoniel at
Hair for Emily Watson: Lisa Eastwood for
Makeup for Emily Watson: James O’Riley for
Hair and Makeup for April Ashley: Gia Mills for, London using Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
Groomer for Andreas Kronthaler: Nadia Altinbas at
Hair for Lindsay Lohan: Larry King for
Makeup for Lindsay Lohan: Natalie Piacun at
Groomer for Tinie Tempah: Natalie Piacun at
Concept and Direction: Rose Forde at and Jack Guinness.

Single-Dish Restaurants: Is Less More?

Single-Dish Restaurants

According to research from the “restaurant discovery” app Zomato one in ten new restaurants opened in London since April is a single-item restaurant. This trend (and the frustrating no-reservations policy) originated in New York and if the queues are anything to go by it’s going down well here too.

With the arrival of restaurants like Come Fry With Me, Mussel Men, Balls & Company and Egg Break to name a few it’s easy to see that there’s a market for these niche restaurants. But does all the excitement mean that the trend is here to stay?

One advantage of these super-niche restaurants is that customers don’t have to face indecision or food envy and they do say that less is more. Without an extensive menu the dreaded choice is already made for us and you would think that a narrower focus makes for a better executed dish, but as Jay Rayner pointed out in his review of Ooze, “if you’re a specialist restaurant, it’s crucial that you take your one main dish pretty seriously”.

If you’re only going to do one thing you need to do it really really well. There are no excuses and nothing to hide behind so if you’re going to go down the super-niche and focused route you need to be pretty great at what you do. Surprisingly this is not always the case and some restaurants are unable to sustain the custom such as Fulham Road’s Fire and Feathers, coincidentally has now now swapped one single-dish for another from chicken to steak with newcomer Orange Buffalo.

When single-item restaurants started taking over New York two years ago Billy Lyons wrote an interesting article shunning the way this generation of chefs is “forgoing the traditional stylings of success, opting for Instagram and Twitter fame, and leaving fine dining for fast casual”. A 2013 article by Luke Nicholls for Big Hospitality highlighted some further issues that the rise of single-item restaurant causes for the industry observing that “single and dual-item restaurants are changing the chef’s skill set enormously and not necessarily in a good way since the ability to cook a great burger or cook eggs 10 ways does not automatically entail that someone has the grounding or traditional skill set”.

We must ask the question that is there a finite amount of times we are happy without a wider choice? This notion was muted by Rayner in his recent review of Piquet: “In a London overrun by concepts and formulas, by places offering small plates and sharing plates and things served on slates or by the 100g or by the bushel and peck, a place like this is quite simply a relief. It has starters, main courses and desserts. It has food cooked by someone who knows what they’re doing but is more interested in serving you lunch than in winning a place in some gastronomic hall of fame”.

Is the opening of Piquet the turning point for the single-dish restaurant to lose favour with London diners? Zomato’s findings also stated that one in ten new restaurants opened in London since April is a single-item restaurant is actually “double the number in the same period last year” so perhaps we have now reached saturation? New openings on the horizon include single-dish restaurants Shuang Shuang (hot-pots), Le Bab (kebabs) and Strut and Cluck (turkey) but equally we have Bellanger, Oliver Maki and The Lighterman. Possibly another sign that we are now edging towards a return to our previous preference of more actually being more?

Will Grumpy Londoners Embrace Death Cafes?

Death Cafe Header Image
London is fairly open-minded and forgiving when it comes to new trends and ideas. All we have to do is look at the number of quirky and gimmicky restaurants that have been welcomed with open arms like the Tube Carriage Basement Gallery, sex-shop-entry La Bodega Negra or the Hurwundeki experience of Korean Food with an order of short back and sides.

But we have a question. Would a “death café” be one step too far?

Chatting about all things death over a flat white and a muffin might seem a bit odd and not everyone’s idea of a relaxing activity but perhaps “death cafes” would encourage us Brits to talk about something so often avoided. We find the subject of death awkward and in general avoid talking about IT but considering IT is unavoidable perhaps we should become more comfortable with the subject.

If you do want to get behind “death cafés” you can purchase one of the £50 shares that are being sold in a crowdfunding campaign in the hope of raising the £350,000 needed for a permanent café in London where people would meet for a coffee and to discuss the likes of recent bereavement, assisted suicide, or cremation with the café’s staff and other customers.

NetworkTen: Crummbs

Crummbs Header Image

Our NetworkTen Q&A sessions help us to develop relationships with and listen to our media.

Here is what Crummbs have to say about their blog, exciting plans for the future, what makes a good (or bad!) PR approach and what they were doing at 14.10 today.

1. Hello, who are you?
Hi Guys! It’s Stacey from Crummbs here!

2. Tell us a little about your blog
Crummbs came about 3 years ago, just when supper clubs & pop-ups were really starting to gain momentum. Remember when Flat Iron was above a pub in Shoreditch? Or Forza Win were unknown in Cambridge Heath? My friend Chris & I were always running about town, trying out the latest places and were often asked by our friends for recommendations. And that’s how Crummbs was born! Now we aim to let you in on the very best that London has to offer. And it offers SO much! We are totally in love with this city and hopefully that shows through the site. We now have a lovely bunch of writers to help us out and make sure we’re covering everything!

3. How long have you been writing your blog?
3 years now – and the time has totally flown! We started out doing really short tweet length reviews – things have really moved on since then! I cringe a little at some of our very first blog posts. It’s really satisfying to see how it’s grown.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?
Ooo, that’s tricky! Competitions or soft launch offers are always super popular. We’ve got an amazing prize on the site now actually – you can win a private chef to come to your home and cook a meal for 4 people!

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?
My favourite is Instagram – I find it such a happy place for foodie news. It’s obviously so visual & easy to engage, everyone has time for a double tap! It’s the one that’s grown the quickest for us as well.

6. What makes a good PR approach?
Over the years I’ve built some amazing relationships with PRs – it’s the ones that take the time to understand your site and send you relevant content. It’s always nice to meet up so you can put a name to a face too!
Some of them are genuinely so nice, I’d happily go for a bottle of wine with them, regardless of if we were talking shop! They look after us and that makes we want to look after them.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?
Obviously we get inundated with emails, as you can imagine! So it can be a little annoying if I’m sent a press release about a gnome (I’m not kidding, I’ve actually had this, more than once. Haha)

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?
We’ve just launched an exciting new section called “Around the World”. This is where we share all of our top tips to Sleep, Eat, Drink & Do, outside of London. So far we’ve got NYC & Amsterdam up, but will shortly be adding Paris, Barcelona & Goa!

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?
Instagram – I think I’m actually a bit addicted. And then straight onto emails. Literally – while I’m still in bed, before my eyes are fully opened.

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?
I was eating the most delicious hazelnut cake from Balthazar! It’s just round the corner from the office – dangerous!

Thank you Stacey from Crummbs, we hope we get to go for that bottle of wine!

The Rise of Gourmet Food Delivery

Guardian Article

Emine Saner and Marina O’Loughlin recently published a very interesting article in The Guardian on the subject of gourmet takeaway. We often order supper in the office when working into the night and with so many high quality food delivery services to choose from the ordering decision causes much debate.

Once upon a time takeaways meant greasy pizzas, cold egg-fried rice and congealed curries and consumers could be forgiven for turning their noses up at food delivery. But not anymore. As Sane states “UK is a takeaway nation” and goes on to quote findings from Mintel that “23% of adults order a takeaway once a week or more”, “33% order one at least every month” and interestingly “JustEat, one of the giants in online takeaway ordering, recently reported that orders and pre-tax profits were up 50% in the first half of this year – and of the countries it operates in, the UK is its most lucrative market”.

Here at Fourteen Ten we shunned Just Eat in 2013 when we discovered Deliveroo. No reviews and no disappointments, just high-quality restaurants offering decent food, delivered efficiently and politely. Designed as a way for customers to order “amazing food from the best loved local restaurants who otherwise may not offer delivery”. We have since worked directly with Deliveroo with our clients Rossopomodoro, Shikumen and Ekachai and their vivacious consumer-facing way of working that is so evident in their brand has always made for fun collaborations.

With other delivery companies including HelloFresh, Pure LondonLunch Bxd and North London Asian favourite Too Too Moo we’re spoilt for choice. Does this huge rise in food delivery mean the end of eating out? We hope not because we’d much rather be eating our Deliveroo in the location of it’s creation as opposed to our desks but it comes down to convenience and thanks to the rise of gourmet food delivery we no longer have to compromise.

NetworkTen: Tea Time In Wonderland

Tea Time In Wonderland

Our NetworkTen Q&A sessions help us to develop relationships with and listen to our media.

Here is what Tea Time In Wonderland have to say about their blog, exciting plans for the future, what makes a good (or bad!) PR approach and what they were doing at 14.10 today.

1. Hello, who are you?
 Bonjour, bonjour, very well thank you. I have coffee and triple chocolate cookies – I’m ready for everything! Hope the day is going well your side too!

2. Tell us a little about your blog

Friends used to come to London and ask me – Are they any boutique hotel in Camden? Which trendy restaurant do you recommend? Where can I go for an out-of-this-world cocktail? And so the blog was born – a happy place where you can find the extra in the ordinary, a little inspiration to make the day better. I’m often asked – what do you write about? Being French, food is central to my life. You might want to avoid my blog if you are on a diet! But mostly, beautiful things – little adventures around the world, street art in London… I like to surprise people.

3. How long have you been writing your blog?

5 years – I started when my son was born. It remained a hobby for a long time then served as portfolio, leading to new opportunities. I now freelance – a mix of travel writing, blogging, doing translations. Strangely, it means more working hours… but I love that every day is different. I might be going to a travel show in the morning, do a restaurant review for lunch, meet clients in the afternoon, before covering a cocktail event in the evening, start typing a post on my train back. The rhythm is rather fast paced, I get to meet incredible people. It makes you feel very alive.

4. What has been your most successful post and why?

My “20 ideas to enjoy the week-end in London”, which I post every Thursday is very popular. The one that got the most hits though was about a 23 Carat Gold body treatment at the Dophin Square spa… followed by Romantic ideas for London…

5. Which social network is the most successful in driving traffic to your blog?

Twitter – isn’t it fascinating how a picture, a tweet can go viral in no time? But I am hooked on Instagram, what a source of inspiration!

6. What makes a good PR approach?

Developping a relationship with the bloggers. If I feel generic/part of a huge mailing list, there is little chance I will feel very involved in the campaign. But sound passionate, make me part of the family and I’m in.

7. What makes a bad PR approach?

Getting my name very wrong and trying to push a product definitely not in the spirit of my blog. Do have a look at the site first. Morph suits or e-cigarettes for a cheerful foodie/travel blog? Not likely to work… It’s simple logic.

8. Do you have any exciting plans for your blog?

I’m considering e-publishing. I have revised three travel books for Hachette – US National Parks, Vienna, and putting the final touches on the London one. But being paper based, space is limited. So many places I would have liked to mention! So why not make one of my own with my favourite walks in London like Tower Bridge-Bermondsey-Maltby st and Druid St market?

9. What is the first site you check when you go online?

I’m always on the lookour for the latest trends so I go through Time Out-The Londonist-London on the Inside-Evening Standard Going out-A Little Bird-The Guardian every single day, in a row, in that order. Followed by my friend’s Farrukh’s Twitter feed – @implausibleblog – he takes amazing pictures/videos and is as much a cakeaholic as I am…

10. What were you doing at 14.10 today?

Editing pictures of a 4 days escape to Northumberland with Visit Britain for a future post. Such a gorgeous region – we walked along Hadrian’s wall, watched the stars, listened to a storyteller by a chimney fire, visited Alnwick Castle (where a Downton Abbey episode and part of Harry Potter was filmed) as well as Bamburgh castle with its incredible view on the sea. I can’t wait to go back and spend a few days walking through the countryside there!

Thank you to Coralie Grassin from Tea Time In Wonderland, we are particularly looking forward to reading about your favourite walks in London!

Pizza Masterclass with World Pizza Champion


On Friday the 13th November from 6pm Rossopomodoro Chelsea are hosting a pizza masterclass and dinner with the first ever female, World Pizza Champion Teresa Iorio.

The event is being held to celebrate that UNESCO have approved the bid to add Neapolitan pizza to their Heritage List. The former Italian Minister and Italian counsel will be available to speak to the press as well as Franco Manna (founder of Rossopomodoro) and the current and previous Champion and Rossopomodoro Pizzaiuoli Davide Civitiello.

About Teresa Iorio

An authentic Neapolitan woman Teresa comes from the big Iorio family (she is number 19 out of 20 children!) who all have a great passion for pizza. She followed the steps of her father Ernesto who opened his first pizzeria in Naples at the end of the ‘50s to learn the art of Neapolitan pizza to become one of the best Neapolitan pizzaiuoli in a male dominated profession. Teresa has been the first woman to win the prestigious Caputo Cup this September in Napoli. We are proud that she joins Rossopomodoro to support the UNESCO bid.

Event Timings

6pm: Aperitivo Reception
6.30pm: Live demonstration and tasting of pizzas from World Pizza Champion Teresa Iorio.
7.30pm: Press Conference with Franco Manna and Alfonso Scanio sharing their thoughts about reaching the second and final stage of the UNESCO bid.
Location: Rossopomodoro Chelsea, 214 Fulham Road, SW10 9NB, 020 7352 7677

About the #PizzaUNESCO Masters Tour

In order to support the UNESCO petition of adding Neapolitan Pizza to the World Heritage List Rossopomodoro has organised a #PizzaUNESCO Tour from Pizzaiolo World Champions Davide Civitiello and current, and first ever female winner, Teresa Iorio.

The individual masterclass will run for one hour when guests learn the secrets and making pizza from the two world champions, prepare their own dough under our masters supervision to take home and the opportunity to ask any questions. The masterclass will be followed by a special three course meal from The Masters Menu and a glass of Prosecco.

10th November / Rossopomodoro Covent Garden / 6pm**
11th November / Rossopomodoro Camden / 6pm**
12th November / Rossopomodoro Swiss Cottage / 6pm**
13th November / Rossopomodoro Chelsea /12.30pm* & 6pm*

£30 per person / booking required please contact your preferred restaurant to confirm.
*Teresa Iorio running the masterclass
**Davide Civitiello running the masterclass

If you would like further information on the Pizza Masterclass or UNESCO bid
please do not hesitate to contact Krista Booker