Sustainable Kitchens

Spoon whittling and more

Join us this month to chat with our senior kitchen fitter James on why he loves Sheffield, spoon whittling and ice water swimming. James has many years of experience on site fitting kitchens and bathrooms, and has even lived in New Zealand! We managed to catch him before he headed out to site, to get the low down on his life in Sheffield and his furry friend Logan.

Are you a Sheffielder?

I am originally from Romford in Essex, but was drawn to Sheffield by my partner who went to university here and some friends who we both met whilst travelling in New Zealand. Sheffield has so many great outdoor activities to get involved with, so it was an easy choice to settle down here.

What do you like about your job?

I love seeing the end product. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a stunning kitchen at the end of a fit. I also really enjoy pushing my own abilities and trying to get that elusive perfect fit.

headshot of James for a chat
James and his dog Logan out for a walk.

Where are your favourite places in Sheffield?

My favourite Peaks spot has got to be Win Hill, and then the Norfolk Arms is my favourite pub in the Peak District. You’ll find me in there all the time once pubs are allowed to reopen again. Food wise you can’t go wrong with Street Food Chef – banging.

Is there anything positive you discovered during lockdown?

I started getting into ice water dipping in the second lockdown. I immerse myself in freezing cold water for a few minutes – my dog Logan loves it as well. It started off as a bit of an adrenaline kick, but now I find it really peaceful. It helps me calm my mind. I also really love baking my own bread. Although, I am yet to make a decent loaf – so far they’ve all been a disaster.

man ice water dipping
James ice water dipping one evening! Would you be able to hack it?

What is your dream holiday?

Get me to the mountains. Literally any mountain. Any time of year. Any country. That’s where I feel the most at home. Some people like to sit and stare at beaches or cities, but I just want to be able to stare at mountains every hour of the day.

What is your favourite thing to cook? And why?

I like cooking Thai and southeast Asian food. It always tastes amazing and is simplicity at it’s finest. Thai red curry is definitely my go to.

What’s your go to Sheffield takeaway?

I’ve recently discovered a Korean food place called Ginseng. It’s absolutely mint! My top recommendation is the Korean style sweet and spicy double cooked sliced pork belly.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Climbing, biking, running – anything outdoors! I also started carving and whittling spoons about a year and a half ago. If anyone wants to follow my journey and see a few cool spoons, my Instagram handle is @spoons_by_jamesb.

hand carved spoon
The finished spoon. This one is carved from birch.
James carving a spoon
James whittling a spoon in his living room.

Do you have a favourite movie? 

I think Avatar and The Matrix. Avatar really resonates with me. I would love to find an alien planet that lights up and be able to ride dragons. Find myself a blue girlfriend, just the usual stuff. And The Matrix is a classic. I can’t even describe how good it is. Just watch them both

Have you read anything recently that you would recommend?

The Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not going to explain what it’s about as it’s a mid-part of like a 10-part series. But just trust me when I say it’s brilliant. Anything by Brandon Sanderson is brilliant.

Describe your dream kitchen.

Just well thought out. A considered layout is extremely important and I would like it to be quite a modern kitchen. Fitted by me, and I would want all the pull-outs. If it can have a pull-out then I want it in my kitchen.

small black dog logan at win hill
James' dog Logan at Win Hill for sunset.

Tea or coffee?

Obviously if it was artisan coffee then a flat white please. But, if I am being offered tea or coffee in someone’s home it’s got to be tea. And I take mine with biscuits – preferably chocolate hobnobs.

We hope you enjoyed reading our chat with James! To see some more of the lovely faces behind Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens, visit our Meet the Team page.

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