Flash-grilled: April Jackson

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with April Jackson owner of Jamaican restaurant Wood & Water in London's Brixton

Related tags April Jackson Wood & Water Jamaican cuisine

The owner of Jamaican restaurant Wood & Water in London's Brixton on the importance of humility, how she is inspired by Monica Galetti, and her dream dinner party guests.

What was your first industry job?
I opened Three Little Birds [Jackson's first restaurant] in Brixton six years ago having never worked in the industry. We subsequently relaunched it as Wood & Water last year​.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
High paid lawyer.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Monica Galetti is well accomplished, but when I met her many years ago she was humble and had a great sense of humour. To achieve a lot in this male dominated industry could not have been easy yet she seems to be a lovely person, which is inspiring.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
I have lots of pet hates, but I’d say when chefs use dirty cloths and chef shoes.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Someone once asked me why are there no black people in the kitchen.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Sweet and spicy.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
“Definitely Caribbean ‘inspired’ because it just taste like English people trying to cook the food from a Jamie Oliver recipe or something. Don't even ask me why the 'jerk' chicken burger bun was bright red. Weird. On top of all that, the food came to £200 for seven people.”

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Hellshire fried snapper and festival.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte, I’m rarely in the mood to be told what to do, especially if I don’t trust you yet.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Endo at the Rotunda.

Favourite fast food joint?
Devon House Patties in Kingston, Jamaica (I don’t eat fast food in the UK).

Most overrated food?

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Bethany Frankel, Chelsea Handler and Ava DuVernay.

Twitter or Instagram?

Tipple of choice?
Rum (Jamaican), or riesling (German).

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t... just joking! Buy a good mattress and invest in a chiropractor. Have the humility to learn from others and don’t think you know everything because you have watched Kitchen Nightmares​. You will have amazing days and shitty ones, but don’t let the bastards grind you down.

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