In the final of our Christmas interview series we caught up with the inspirational Alex Head, chef and founder of Social Pantry, a London-based catering and events company that employs ex-offenders. We spoke to Alex about how 2020 has been for her and her business and how she is approaching Christmas this year.
How will you be spending Christmas this year?
I am so excited about Christmas this year!! I want to make it extra special after such a rubbish year. We’ll be spending it with my family, we’ll all head down on Christmas eve and have a fun filled Christmas day centred around one big turkey meal in the evening. It’ll include a long walk, sloe gin, games and one hell of a cheese board!
What are your own personal Christmas traditions?
I love a really special breakfast on Christmas day, I’ll buy duck eggs and streaky bacon from the local butchers, we get given side of salmon from George’s Granny, we’ll squeeze oranges, pop the fizz, have ‘proper’ coffee and stacks of croissants with homemade crab apple jelly. Starting the day with a delicious breakfast is one of the best parts of the day. Christmas day will also involve going to the local Church service and a walk so that we can make room for the main meal!
What will be on the menu? Any favourite recipes?
I have to say that we have always done turkey which is a tradition I now quite enjoy, not always a whole bird, a turkey crown is great for smaller crowds. I haven't quite decided on dessert yet, we are not fans of Christmas pudding so a trifle, chocolate log or treacle tart are all options at this stage! I am trying to keep the menu all British this year so am excited to be sourcing a fully British cheese board of dreams.
Are you a dress up or dress down Christmas girl? What do you like to wear on the day itself?
It has definitely varied over the years, this year we are dressing up as we haven’t at all this year. I am going for a loose fitting, black dress with some statement jewellery and bright, fun lippy!
What is your favourite Christmas tune?!
Hearing ‘Driving home for Christmas’ on Christmas eve gives me all the feels….(it also reminds me of one year that we broke down in a van….lol!)
Any causes will you be supporting this Christmas?
I’ll be supporting my ex-offenders this year, making sure they have somewhere to celebrate
Christmas, we often organise a meal place at the local shelter if they have no family at all.
2020 has been a year unlike any other - what are your reflections on it looking back?
Gosh, I have so many emotions! I started the year a new Mum, my baby was born on 31 st December, so a very new Mum! That of course has all the challenges, but I loved it. Trying to manage a business through a pandemic with a new baby was tough at times but I am
grateful that my catering and café business has survived the pandemic, surely next year will be
As a business in the catering and hospitality industry this year has been especially tough - how have you adapted and what is your approach to the Christmas season?
We are selling all sorts of wonderful hampers, from pantry products to three course meals, you name it we are hampering it! The ones going out today are zero waste canapes which arrive in mini glass cloches with a brochure on how to enjoy them!
Last but not least - what are your 5 top picks from our Gift of Goodness.
It is always so hard to choose!!
Been London – Ridley Crossbody – Gold!
Chaleca – Half Fingers Mittens – Mustard
Luna & Noon - Shanthi
Le Janna – Green Zebra Print Clutch