Tom Moxham, who moved near the Pineapple pub a couple of years ago, works in advertising but has grown up cornered by food: a younger brother trained as a chef at Westminster Kingsway in King’s Cross, and his parents raised him on a steady diet of jambalayas and quesadillas. Tom has been drawing influence in his home cooking from across the world to document in his blog, The Mocking Bird. He hopes to open a cafe in the area one day.
When were you happiest?
Playing boules up on the Heath with my friends one day last summer. It was a scorcher so we broke up the afternoon with a spontaneous sprint to the ponds for a cannonball in our pants.
Where would you like to live?
The houses overlooking Hampstead number two pond. Imagine waking up to that view – except maybe when the circus is in town.
What is your favourite sound or smell?
A little bird sits on a branch outside of our bedroom window and sings the most extravagant song each morning. He makes me giggle even in the most mole-like states.
What is your greatest life achievement?
DJing at The Horn in St Albans before drum and bass act, Andy C. Some artists just have an overwhelming aura well before they even get on stage. The effect he had, and still has on people when he performs, is like nothing I’ve seen or felt.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Be nice to everyone. It makes life, and particularly London, much more pleasant.
Smoking those Indian Beedi’s from Camden Market. We used to sling them straight in our obscenely low-hanging backpacks and sneak into the back streets of lower Kentish Town to smoke them. I must have been about 14 at the time and what’s essentially dried and rolled up tobacco leaf would grace your throat like a cheese grater. A can of Lynx was always at hand to attempt mask the smell from Mum and Dad.
What makes you unhappy?
Not too much but I’d love to see the homeless gang up by Kentish Town station off the sauce and back on their feet.
What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
Face-to-face with customers and in food or drink in some form. I think working in a bar was still my most rewarding job to date. People are fascinating. I’d love to have a cafe in the area one day, with card-making workshops run by my girlfriend, and me leading a cycling club out on a Saturday.
What is your most unappealing habit?
I’m insatiably itchy when I’m cooking. I had to throw out a pair of jeans with a big yellow turmeric patch on around the crotch last week. There are two lessons there really.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Naked Saturday mornings in the flat. Breakfast, DIY and a good Hugh Grant style hip-thrust to some disco.
Where do you hang out?
I’m in the midst of cheating on Kentish Town a bit with Tufnell Park. I’m a sucker for the atmosphere in the Boston Arms for the football on Saturdays. A pre-match Lamb shish from Kusadasi easily rivals E.Mono, then an end of day sign-off liquorice and salted caramel cone from Ruby Violet for the marginally wobbly stroll home.
Who or what do you hate and why?
Arrogance. There’s a clear line between believing in yourself and cockiness. Bin it, it’s not cricket.
What’s been your best experience in the area?
Broadly speaking, the sense of community among everyone. Kentish Town Road is a central celebration of a wonderfully diverse area and everyone seems to get along just swimmingly.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My chicken legs. No matter how much I train for my triathlons, these twigs are here for good.
What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“The next station is Bedford.” (First Capital Connect conductor on the last train of the evening).
I don’t like secrets. I don’t even like when the girls on my team at work are whispering about lady things. I’ve learnt a lot about women in the past year.
What has your career taught you?
You’ll never be truly good at what you do unless you’re passionate about it.
What is your favourite dish and why?
I have to unashamedly plug my slow-cooked Moroccan Lamb shoulder with feta, pomegranate salad and harissa yoghurt (pictured). Tough to pip on a summer’s day.
What did you do today?
Cycled out to Hertfordshire with the Edinboro Castle’s cycling club. I’m now on the sofa putting off checking the bird on the BBQ as I think I’ve pulled a glute.
Describe yourself as an animal.
A mouse: erratic, resourceful, hungry.