Interview: Feroz Gajia
When curating alcohol season Anna and I felt like it was really important to also discuss abstention from alcohol. Operating in the UK with its pub culture and as people who enjoy a nice bottle of wine or cocktail, it is easy to assume that alcohol is a given when going out.
But the trend amongst people coming into drinking age is to drink less, the UK has a huge Muslim population that doesn't drink as a matter of religion and people in the industry are thinking more about drinking less as people are speaking more frankly on the high rates of substance abuse in the hospitality sector.
To contribute to this perspective I asked Feroz Gajia, food writer, chef and co-owner of Bake Street in Stoke Newington. As the operator of a halal business, Feroz has never made alcohol a part of his business plan and why it was important for him to create a space without alcohol. Feroz also spends much of his time keeping tabs on London's restaurant scene and shares how he navigates dining as a person who doesn't drink in a city that has a heavy drinking culture.
It is also worth mentioning that I work for Feroz at Bake Street and this interview was conducted in the cafe office so you may hear some little chirps and pipe gurgles. We are both used to these sounds so we didn't think much of them during recording but don't worry, your headphones aren't acting up!