Back in Old Street for another coffee with, hey it’s not my fault they have a bunch of really nice coffee shops in the area. Today’s ‘Coffee With….’ guest Duval is an artist, musician, chef and all round maker of things. One could easily describe him as a modern day renaissance man. We met a few years back through a few mutual friends and I have been a huge fan of his work ever since.

I headed up to Old street for our shoot and waited for Duval by the station as agreed, he cycled in after a short wait. We exchanged greetings and made our way to the coffee shop. Our conversation began with cycling, which was a perfect fit for our coffee shop destination. Duval stated his love for the freedom he gets from cycling around London and not having to be on packed tubes and buses (all Londoners have experienced this). After a not so short walk, we arrived at our destination – Look Mum, No Hands. The reason it was a perfect fit is because Look Mum, No Hands is a bicycle shop as well as a coffee shop. We grabbed a table and placed our orders Flat White for Duval and a Latte and some pastries.

As we made our way back to our table with our food, Duval mentioned he had just perfected a recipe for apple and walnut bread. This prompted me to ask about the upcoming recipe book for their supper club – The Groundnut, we spoke about how they got the deal and the vision for the book. Let me explain what The Groundnut is, it is a supper club he runs with few friends where they add their own twist to classic African and European recipes. An example of this is the okra muffin they gave me during one of their earlier events I covered. Yes, you read right – an okra muffin, which was amazing by the way. Duval mentioned how skeptical he was initially about the muffin but the minute he tried it he was converted. We spoke about the supper club and the future plans they have for it.

Our drinks arrived while Duval mentioned he spoke to Nicholas that he was meeting me for a coffee with shoot. During their conversation Nicholas told him about a film called Coffee and cigarettes that I should check out a film that consists of 11 short stories with coffee and cigarettes as the common thread. Duval and Nicholas are responsible for the soundtrack of my coffee with video. This prompted us to discuss Duval’s musical side, like I said Renaissance man. We spoke about the awesome album he released in 2012 Dukobanti and his surprise at how people responded to it (a huge fan of it). As we spoke about his upcoming music projects, Duval got a call from his brother to confirm the name of a singer that they said I look like – Leon Timbo. I don’t agree, I guess it’s the beard.

After the phone call we moved on to his recent trip to my motherland – Nigeria, we spoke about the similarities between Nigeria and his home county Sierra Leone, the beautiful culture, food, music, art as well as the issues they face. We agreed that it is sad to see countries with so much promise not reaching their potential. We carried on speaking about his trip he mentioned that his trip brought him inspiration for his work. This led us to discussing what inspires us in our work; music has always been my biggest source of inspiration but of late its not working. He admitted it comes in bits for him also but he gets his inspiration from anything from music to projects that have nothing to do with art to cooking. I told him about my upcoming trip to Lagos and how I hope it will bring me inspiration.

We finished our drinks and wrapped up the shoot, we thanked the manager for our complimentary drinks (what a great guy) and made our way into town.

Check out Duval’s work here, The Groundnut here and his album – Dukobanti here.

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