Five minutes with… Laura Harper-Hinton

The author and co-founder of Caravan talks about her love of chilli and the importance of injecting a little nature and culture into the weekend

Food and Drink 15 Apr 2019

Caravan's Laura Harper-Hinton
Pizzas at Caravan
Caravan Fitzrovia

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why?

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down.)

It’s not a piece of advice that was given to me, but something I was inspired by as a teenager after reading the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The phrase has always stuck with me and any time I’m feeling like a need an internal pep talk, I repeat it to myself!

I’m a super positive person and I try to bring that into everything I do, as I think positivity breeds positivity and great things then follow. However, in reality, life isn’t always rosy, so when the going gets tough, that’s what I say to myself.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?

It depends what type of my work we’re talking about. Jonathan Rutherford Best was a huge influence on my business career. I worked for him for eight years and he taught me not only about running a small business, but about humility, warmth and how important people are to your success.

What ingredient can you not live without and why?

Chilli. I am obsessed with it! In fact, I’m pretty sure I eat it in some form every day, that’s how much of an addict I am.

What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?

My headphones. I’ve got little wireless earplug ones and Bose silencer ones, depending on what I’m doing. I cannot live without music.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?

That’s such a tricky question to answer as I love so many places. Our well-travelled food philosophy means I am always trying places from all over the world and you get wonderful inspiration from the most random experiences sometimes. A long-standing favourite is Roti King – I love Malaysian food and this is some of the best in London.

What do you like the most about your favourite London restaurant?

It’s no frills, relaxed, hidden away, democratic and banging food!

What do you like to do on a day off?

Hang out with my kids. I have two little boys, which makes things very busy but enjoyable. I try to do something ‘nature’ and something ‘culture’ with them every weekend – London is the best place for that. Hampstead Heath, Walthamstow Marshes, theatres and live music… the list is endless.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?

Music and travelling. I’ve always loved music and as I said, cannot live without it. Growing up in New Zealand you seem to develop an innate love of travelling. I’m obsessed to the point that if I don’t have a trip booked, I start to get very anxious.

If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?

Can I have two? I’d love to have Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem. Both have contributed such a vast and fundamental amount to the feminist movement, in the context of gender and race discrimination.