By all accounts, Laura Jackson is the proverbial hostess with the mostest. Those who have sat down to one of her fêted group dinners and shared a conversation with the sprightly Jackson can attest to that fact.
Friendly, warm and engaging, Jackson is never one to shy away from a good chat. Channelling her innate chin-wagging capabilities into a savvy business op, she is currently busy talking all things Hoste - her new lifestyle brand and podcast which explores food, travel and interiors.
In the spirit of Hoste-ing, we thought we'd flip the (scrumptiously scaped) tables on her and headed east to get the scoop on Jackson's event-planning secrets. Over the course of our two-course meal (mains and pud), we eyed Jackson's little black book of lip-smacking restaurants and favourite florists in east London, jotted down (six pages of) travel tips for Mexico (and Sri Lanka) and taste tested some recipes perfect for feasts great and small.
One misconception about East London is…
That it's still cool.
How would you sum up your postcode's dress code?
Everything and anything.
Where should we head on a Saturday morning?
I love Violet on Wilton Way for a cup of coffee and a catch up with friends.
Some great local cafés to try out…
Tromsø in Forest Gate near me does the best cinnamon buns.
Where's the best place to workout?
Frame. I love going to the Shoreditch branch for fun, easy workouts - and I never feel awkward.
I love the Prince George on Parkholme Road for a nice bowl of chips and a G&T.
Who does the best coffee in town?
There are lots of good coffee spots, but I do love a latte from the Tin Café in Haggerston. I've been going there for 13 years.
Where's good for lunch near you?
Arch Rivals on the weekend for brunch or lunch.
You're known for hosting mighty dinner parties. Can you tell us about some of the local suppliers you use again and again?
I love a dinner party! I always use Worm for flowers, though I also adore Kitten Grayson Flower and Palais. For wine, I go to Passione Vino- what owner Luca Dusi doesn't know about wine isn't worth knowing. I tend to use Jones Hire for tableware for big events, but when hosting at home I use a mix of charity-shop finds, high-street purchases (I love Zara Home, H&M Home and Habitat) and things I buy online from Etsy and eBay. Linen, I buy from either Cloth House in Soho or Dalston Mills Fabrics- my friend Victoria Bain makes them into beautiful napkins for me.
One place only locals know about is…
Campania and Jones on Columbia Road - I've had many a birthday party in the back room there. It's such a special, romantic place.
East London's best exports are…
I love Secret Smokehouse - founder Max cures the most delicious smoked salmon. I bought the fish mix recently for a fish pie and it was delicious.
Favourite shops in East London?
Milagros on Columbia Road which sells the best colourful Mexican goodies, including bags, plates and glassware. I also love Straw London on Wilton Way - founder Emily collects the most amazing, interesting pieces from around the world. I like Goodhood for clothes and homeware. Atika Vintage Department Store (formerly Blitz) is my favourite charity shop. Conservatory Archives is excellent for plants.
For interiors nirvana check out…
J&R Marble in Leyton.
What's your London secret?
I like to take the riverboat from Canary Wharf along the Thames to the Garden Museum in summer. I love this place! The little café there is a real gem; food is seasonal, fresh and always delicious.
What are you working on at the moment, and what's next?
I am working on an interiors TV show as well as lots of exciting events for Hoste, including a residency in Tuscany and a beach table on the Isles of Scilly with my friend Simon Stallard.