Jurate of Karaway Bakery and Paul of Sussex Fish on home cooking, the Borough community, and connecting with customers
Interviews: Viel Richardson
Image: Alice Mann
Jurate on Paul
I joined the Market in early 2014 and from my first day there, Paul and I just clicked. Our stalls have always been neighbours, and when I was new he was just so kind and friendly. From the beginning I could see that he was a perfectionist and it was important to him that he give his customers the best quality fish. That was reassuring to me: I had heard that about the Market, but to see it as soon as I arrived was really nice.
He is a proper entertainer when he’s on the stall. You can see that he likes to entertain his customers, but he also entertains the other stallholders as well. From first thing in the morning, he’s always singing away.
You can clearly see that Paul loves the community here at the Market. He is someone who enjoys the energy of other people and he is always involved when there is something going on—to be honest, quite often he has started it. He is right at the heart of the little community we have in this part of the Market. Everyone here likes and respects him. That makes it a great environment to work in.
He also loves his food. I am from Lithuania originally and he really likes it if I bring in some of my cooking. Even though he sells fish, he also loves meat dishes and salads. Sometimes he will give me some fish at the end of the day and just ask me to surprise him and cook something interesting. Sometimes we will go somewhere to eat after work, and he has been round to my place for dinner. In fact, lots of people have thought that we are or have been a couple, but that has never been the case—we are just very good friends. He particularly enjoys my sauerkraut soup, roast tomatoes, and scallops. He also likes salads and vegetables. If he could have anything from my stall it would probably be one of the sweet pastries. He does have a sweet tooth.
When we celebrated his 50th birthday, I have never seen the Market so united. Everyone gathered to applaud him and show their love and appreciation. There were flowers and prosecco and the reaction of the people was lovely to see. That is the best present I can think of from the Market. That and a whisky.
Paul on Jurate
You have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy working behind a stall at Borough Market, and Jurate definitely has that kind of sunny personality. She also has a real passion for cooking and is a really good cook. You can see it coming across when she is talking to the customers. They can recognise that love of food, and you can see them connecting with it. I love cooking as well, and that is definitely one of the things we bonded over.
Jurate has a real depth of knowledge about the products on her stall. She understands the baking side and the qualities of all the breads and pastries she sells, the differences between them, the best way to eat them. If a customer asks a question and she doesn’t know the answer, she’s determined to find it out. She goes to the bakery to see how things are done and ask questions. She is committed to being the best she can be. It is really admirable.
She makes a fantastic sauerkraut, the best I’ve ever tasted. I’ve been lucky enough to try quite a bit of her cooking over the years and it’s always good. Jurate is very interested in nutrition. She is very interested in using healthy ingredients and cooking them in ways where they keep their nutritional value. There is no boiling things to death.
If I was going to get her something from elsewhere in the Market it would definitely be some flowers, because she loves them. On the food side, they sell some really good olive oil and honey here and I know she would appreciate that. From my stall she would probably choose our squid—it’s maybe not something you cook every day, but she has some great recipes for it.
It was a good day for all of us when Jurate came to work here. You could tell straight away that she would love the characters here. It might be that it reminds her of markets back home, but you can really see that she enjoys being part of the Market community, and I think the community really loves having her here as well.