Long-standing journalist, Steel City champion and brain tumour survivor – unLTD’s Brogan Maguire sits down for lunch with former Sheffield Telegraph editor Ellen Beardmore to discuss her latest business venture.
Ellen and I have a brief but friendly history, after crossing paths for just under a year while I was working at The Star, so the opportunity for a catch up was most welcome.
There are two main things that I knew about her – that she is one of the most well-connected people in Sheffield, and that she is a massive foodie (which bodes well for a lunch meeting) – but what I didn’t know was just how interesting her career, and personal life, have been.
A Yorkshire lass born and bred, Ellen moved to the city from Dewsbury when she was just 18, taking her first steps in journalism by enrolling on an NCTJ course at Norton College.
That year, in her words, made it “impossible to leave”, after falling in love with Sheffield and everything it had to offer.
She then got a trainee job with JPIMedia at the Pontefract and Castleford Express, commuting every day, before moving on to the Derbyshire Times.
“That was a real step up,” she tells me. “At the age of 19 I’d learnt so much, like doing door knocks and going to inquests, and I felt so ready for the next challenge. It was during the beginning of the digital era, so I started all their social media and helped them move online.”
Just 18 months later and Ellen was offered her dream job at The Star, where she worked for more than a decade and had several specialisms from politics to education – which is why she now seems to know everybody in the city.
Well, that and the fact she’s always the first person to try a new bar or restaurant.
“I also did a lot of food and drink writing in my spare time,” she adds as she tucks into a taco and sips her prosecco. “We didn’t have many meals out when I was growing up, so I’ve really made up for it since moving here.
“What I love about Sheffield is the indie vibe and the fact it has so many unique places to go out.”
It hasn’t all been smooth-sailing, though, as Ellen discovered she had a large brain tumour when she was just 25 years old and had to undergo a gruelling 13-hour surgery at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to have it removed.
Thankfully she was one of the lucky ones and, apart from losing the hearing in her right ear, has made a full recovery.
It’s that experience which has shaped her into the tenacious, dedicated and compassionate person she is today, something she will bring into her new business venture.
After taking redundancy from the Sheffield Telegraph earlier this year, Ellen has now started her own company, Edit Sheffield, shouting about the amazing things happening in the city.
With an impressive list of clients already lined up – from the Migration Matters Festival to Sheffield Food Festival – it is clear that going out on her own was a good decision.
Ellen says: “Sheffield is my first love and I want to champion and promote our city as much as I can. Being a journalist for all my adult life gives me a huge advantage as I know what content works – and what doesn’t.
“Most people have a great story to tell and it’s my job to unearth that and share it with the world.”
Ellen gave us her verdict on Shy Boy cantina…
Sheffield wasn’t always known for being this cool.
The recent national press coverage and awards handed out to city restaurants and bars is of course welcome, but it’s worth remembering the pioneers of the scene too.
The Great Gatsby, on Division Street, has always been at the apex of cool in Sheffield. While most people know it as the focus of a great night out with creative cocktails, the Mexican food it offers under the name Shy Boy Cantina is worth making a special trip for.
Their selection of tacos, quesadillas and burritos is ideal for a stylish, colourful and authentic lunch that’s a bit different from most daytime offerings in the city centre.
The tacos – which can be snapped up at two for £8 – include a baja fish filling which is just the right combination of soft, crunchy and creamy.
With one of their strong margaritas (salted rim, obviously), it brings all the holiday vibes to the table.
After some deliberation, I opted this time for the coconut shrimp and pork with kimchi taco options.
They were the ideal marriage of flavours and textures. The juicy pulled pork was packed with hefty spices that gave the tastebuds a real kick, with sourness from the kimchi threaded throughout.
The cool, fresh marinated king prawns in my shrimp were the perfect second course, so to speak.
I loved the mayonnaise with a subtle taste of coconut in it, and piles of vibrant green avocado with pink onion made the dish look divine.
Brogan stuck with tacos too. Her baja fish was cooked and seasoned perfectly, striking a glorious balance with the fresh coriander and garlic mayo crema, and she loved the sweet, spicy gotchujang sauce on her fried chicken.
We shared some cheese fries for the table.
Not just an afterthought, these are cooked-just-right fries oozing with cheese sauce, sriracha and more gorgeous garnishes. Instagram foodies will be in heaven here.
There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, including tempting Korean fried cauliflower wings as a side dish and veggie chilli as a main.
Gatsby also does a Taco Tuesday offer and a bottomless brunch at weekends – so whether it’s a working lunch, a boozy client meeting or just a good old catch up with friends or colleagues, you can’t go wrong here.