We met Naomi on a freezing, sunny morning in Shoreditch, the anticipation of delicious treats tangible among our little group. Our first stop was the iconic Beigel Bake, a stalwart of the London bread scene on Brick Lane. Naomi shared some history and insights into the family and business, and we pottered about behind the scenes before tucking into the most succulent salt-beef bagel. Mouths still watering, it was onto the next, as we wound through east London’s historic social housing projects while Naomi told us about the regeneration and gentrification of the area. At a Columbia Road bakery, we discussed the science of sourdough, sampling slices spread thick with unctuous salty butter.
The goal of the day’s walking tour was to discover why East London has proven such a fertile setting for London’s brilliant bread-makers, and Naomi showed us traditional bakeries, sweet-treat specialists, and free-from pioneers that call the exciting area home. Our walking tour was peppered with historical context and personal anecdotes from Naomi, a former lawyer turned food blogger and recipe developer, who founded Instagram’s Band of Bakers.