Watch out Greg Wallace, Seb Jewell is after your job! The London Welsh full back is fast developing a growing reputation and following as a food and restaurant critic, and there’s no knowing where it will lead him.
The cause of this culinary commotion is Jewell’s blog #WhatSebEats which has food lovers hanging on his every word as he dishes up advice on where and what to eat in London with an equal measure of passion and humour, and his growing expertise and knowledge is going down very well with his London Welsh teammates.
"I do get a lot of texts from boys saying ‘I’m central, where’s good to eat?’ or ‘what have you eaten lately that’s good?’. It can be nice but if you recommend somewhere and they don’t like it you’re in trouble," said Jewell, who kicked the winning conversion to give the club its first-ever Premiership victory, against Exeter Chiefs at the Kassam Stadium in 2012.
"To play rugby and then write about rugby would defeat the object of what this is for me. It’s nice to have something away from rugby and I really enjoy it.
"My main aim is to make people hungry. I try and keep it light-hearted and jovial as well as highlight the food, but the main aim is to make people want to eat. People always message me and say ‘just read your blog and I’m now starving’ and that’s ideal."
Seb’s Top 5 Dishes
- Smokehouse, Chiswick: Beef short rib bourguignon
- The Sands End pub, Fulham: Scotch egg
- Eight over Eight, Chelsea: Black cod
- Sticks N Sushi, Wimbledon: Tuna tartare
- Ben’s Canteen, Battersea: Chocolate brownie with peanut butter ice cream
Jewell began writing for a Chelsea and Fulham lifestyle magazine called DV8 as its restaurant reviewer four and a half years ago and would later become assistant editor. The inspiration to write about food came from his parents.
"I took them to dinner in Chelsea and as we were driving down the road I was saying ‘I’ve eaten there and I’ve eaten here’ and they said ‘have you ever thought about writing about it?", recalled Jewell, who joined Welsh in 2011 after spells at Harlequins, Wasps and Esher.
About a year and a half ago he then began his search to find London’s best burger, a quest he chronicled in his ‘Burger Blog’.
"It was a way of eating more burgers and keeping my writing going. From that, however, I realised it was probably unhealthy just to eat burgers every time I went out, and it also limited me to what London had to offer. So I changed it to everything," he added.
"It’s definitely something I want to do going forwards post-rugby, and I think the fact that it’s food related coming from a professional sportsperson is a good concept. Or food in general, whether that’s writing or opening a café or coffee shop."
Jewell will have ample chances to continue his culinary tour of London, having last month re-signed to London Welsh. Next season’s Championship campaign will be his fifth season at the club – a two time Championship winner with the Exiles, Jewell had plenty of motivation to stay on.
"London Welsh is a great club to be at and it’s where I’ve felt most at home during my professional career," said Jewell, who had made 68 league appearances for the Exiles since joining from Wasps in 2011.
"We’ve achieved a lot here. Obviously this season hasn’t been great, but we’ve been promoted twice. I’m also close to playing 100 league games for London Welsh, and that’s something I want to achieve at the club."
Of course, the principal goal in 2015/16 will be to clinch a third Championship title.
"It’s weird to be looking ahead to next season before the current season has already finished," said Jewell, who is one of 15 members to the current squad to re-sign to the Exiles for next season, to add to seven already under contract for 2015/16.
"Speaking to the boys who’ve also re-signed and the guys still under contract we really do have a point to prove, both as a team and personally. The chance to win the Championship again and show that we do deserve to be in the Premiership is very exciting."
Tickets: London Welsh vs Saracens
Tickets for London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens on Saturday 16th May (kick-off 3:30pm) at the Kassam Stadium are available here or by calling the London Welsh Ticket Office on 01865 717661.