Shonette Laffy is a food blogger based in Bristol, known for her quirky, in-depth approach to Easton’s gourmet scene. She appeared at this year’s Bristol Food Connections, sharing her knowledge with the local community…
A healthy appetite for food, a healthier appetite for life, and a super healthy appetite for Bristol, that’s ‘A Life Less Organised’, independent blog penned by Bristol based Shonette Laffy. With a penchant for sniffing out the lesser known culinary haunts of Bristol’s vast quarters, she personally makes it her job to fly the flag for all us foodies out there.
Shonette’s got her finger on the pulse, she’s the first to know about a new restaurant, or pop-up kitchen. And did you say popcorn chicken? Okay, perhaps she draws the line when it comes to the typical fast food chain, but when it comes to supporting and reviewing Bristol’s independent eateries, she’s your woman.
We had a quick catch up with the lady herself.
How long have you lived in Bristol for, and what attracted you to Easton for its vibrant culture and particular, its foodie communities?
I’ve been in Bristol for 8 years, and lived in Easton for 4 of those. I ended up in Easton just because I could afford it at the time, but then really fell in love with the area; I love the street parties throughout summer, the gorgeous creations at the Easton Arts Trail, going for a gentle bike ride along the cycle path, or just having a rowdy night at The Plough – it’s got so many sides for such a small neighbourhood.
What is so unique about Easton’s food culture and how do you think inter-cultural influences have really played a part in our experiences of the cuisine today?
I think Easton is lucky to have such a mixed and multicultural community, and that is definitely reflected in its food businesses. St Marks Road is a small high street but has a really nice mixture of cafes and restaurants – you can get an amazing tagine at Le Casbah, a great curry at Thali Cafe, a vegan feast at Cafe Maitreya, or just stock up on some weird and wonderful ingredients at Sweet Mart. Stapleton Road gets a bad rep but has some really good shops and cafes too – good if you’re in the mood for trying something new.
Where is your favourite – hands down – place to eat in Bristol and in what ways does the city cater for all tastes?
Argh, what a question! I have different favourites depending on what I’m in the mood for, but one of the best all-rounders has to be The Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road; they do everything well,whether it be great value small plates for dinner, chilled beers on their front terrace, or a hearty hangover brunch! Bakers & Co, Three Brothers, Flow, Katie & Kim’s, Bravas and Bell’s Diner all up there though!
Your blog, ‘A Life Less Organised’ – what compelled you to start this, and has it evolved from when you first began writing it, to an entirely different beast?
It started as a way for me to write down ramblings really – it wasn’t intended to be a food blog or be read that widely at all! Slowly I started adding guides for pub crawls and roast dinners, mainly because I found myself emailing lists of suggestions to friends and colleagues all the time and couldn’t be bothered to keep typing the same places out! I’m really pleased with how well-received the blog is now, and it’s not too much upkeep; I aim for two posts a month which isn’t difficult – one events listing piece each month, and one food guide.
What’s the best thing about blogging in Bristol and why did you pick food as your specialist subject? (Good choice, of course!)
The best thing is that I never run out of great things to write about! I can’t believe the amount of new businesses, events and festivals that have started in Bristol in the past 3 years, it’s a testament to the creativity and adventure of Bristol, and it’s a pleasure to blog about.
I also love hearing that someone found your suggestions useful and had a really good meal or drink somewhere – I love people telling me where they’ve been and if they’ve used the blog! Writing about food was just a predictable option for anyone who knows me – I’m always going on about food and trying to visit the new places cropping up all over town, so it’s an extra excuse to say that I’m doing it to write about!
You’ll be hosting a tour around Easton – are you used to public speaking and do you feel really energised by meeting with different people and sharing your knowledge – it must be a real buzz!
Despite being a bit of a chatterbox to my friends, I actually hate public speaking, but luckily the owners of the places we’re visiting will be doing most of the talking – I just have to shepherd the group and try to be good company on the walks in between venues. I am really looking forward to meeting some new people though, that’s single-handedly the best part of any event I’ve run.
Do you feel that it is essential, as a blogger, to get your voice and niche area laid out from the outset, so as to have strength in your convictions, or would you say that blogging gives you a freedom to explore and evolve as a writer?
I think the best thing about being a blogger as opposed to writing for a magazine or someone else’s website is that you can write about anything that means something to you – ultimately the blogs that I like and read the most are down to the personality of those writing them rather than what it is they’re talking about. It helps to have a thing that sets you apart though – there are so many food blogs in particular, so I like that my ‘thing’ is the event listings and round ups; not too many people are covering that in Bristol.
What are you most looking forward to, at this year’s Bristol Food Connections?
Where to start? Probably Durty Gurties at Avery’s Wine Cellars, and the Eat Your Words event at Flow, although I’ve got my eye on a few other events…
Of course I’m really excited about my food tour too – it should be great fun!
Shonette Laffy is a food writer and blogger based in Bristol. She maintains her own blog, ‘A Life Less Organised’ and is a regular contributor to local favourites ‘Saucy Pans’ and ‘Simple Lampoon’.
For more information on Shonette Laffy and her blog: www.lifelessorganised.com