To coincide with the launch of our new collaboration with Laird Hatters, we'll be publishing a series of conversations with fellow hat lovers and friends of Billy Tannery. We sent each of them one of our two hat styles, either The Newsboy or The Baseball, and tasked them with capturing some photos of them in action.
There are some core threads that link everyone together. A hands-on lifestyle, a passion for the outdoors and of course a love of headwear. First up is James Strawbridge.
For those that don't know you, can you introduce yourself and what you do?
My name is James Strawbridge. I’m a Cornish chef, author and food photographer. I always try to use local, seasonal ingredients in my recipes and have a passion for cooking outdoors - on the beach, in my BBQ smoker or firing up the wood pizza oven. My hobbies include art, gig rowing and gardening. I used to keep goats myself when I was young and I love really the ethos behind Billy Tannery.
Sustainability is a major theme in your work, what are the easiest things you think we can each do to live better with nature?
Probably something simple like eating grass-fed and organic meat but less often, and building up a repertoire of exciting vegetarian dishes and local seafood into your diet to replace processed food. Beyond food I’d suggest an easy thing to do is to make the switch to a green energy supplier who provides your electricity from 100% renewable power and reinvests in clean technology.
You like to get outside to cook and explore, what are your tips for those who need a bit of inspiration to do the same this winter?
Invest in a small wood-fuelled camping stove and change your mindset and sense of occasion, so it’s not just about tents, hiking or summer BBQs. You can use a camping stove to cook on beaches, wild walks or in your garden for a fresh taste of the outdoors and some winter warming meals. It’s a real slowing down process, a rustic way of cooking that reconnects you with nature and feeds all your senses.
What's your all-time favourite hat and why? It could be one you have now or one from the past
My brown felted trilby with a leather band always sports a couple of pheasant feathers. I stole it from my dad several years ago and now my son has stolen it from me. It’s old, tattered and looks more gypsy roamer than dapper chap but I love it. Hats are made to be shared, borrowed or stolen so I don’t begrudge passing it on. Plus his name is Indiana so he deserves a strong headwear game.
I’m loving my new Billy Tannery x Laird Newsboy Cap so much that I’m wearing indoors at my desk - always a worrying sign. Never trust a bloke who wears a hat indoors… it’s just not polite - but when it’s this comfortable I’m throwing that advice out the window!
What's next for you in terms of projects?
I’m writing and shooting another cooking book for DK that's out in 2021 and working with some great food clients on recipe development and food photography through www.strawbridgekitchen.com.
I’m also hoping to be presenting a new show on TV in the spring that’s currently in the development stage so will keep you posted.
Billy x Laird