The Team

Palate was co-founded by C Ley and J A Smith – two bon vivants who connected over a shared passion for dining out and a background in hospitality. Before turning to journalism they organised wine tasting evenings, experimented with their own cooking and explored London’s amazing dining scene (as far as their budgets would allow). Having contributed to other blogs and publications, they decided to form their own online magazine dedicated to food, drink and travel: one that is entirely independent and free to read with a curated selection of reviews and articles.   


Regular contributors

J A Smith (editor and co-founder) is a writer, journalist and enthusiastic home cook based in London. He holds a WSET qualification in wine and spirits and long before moving into media had a brief spell working front of house in various hotels. He has also written plays, two of which have been performed in London. An inveterate Francophile and fluent French speaker, he’s still plotting his dream wine bar bookshop somewhere in France.

C Ley (co-founder) worked as a DJ within various clubs and bars between 2002 and 2013. Having previously lived in France, hanging up the headphones allowed him to focus on his other passion: French wine. He now specialises in the vineyards/producers of USA, Spain and South Africa, along with France. No stranger to a three-course meal, he dedicates his time to wading through the (ever-expanding) London and provincial dining scenes. In 2020 he stepped down from his co-editorial responsibilities for Palate but remains a sounding board and occasional contributor.

J Khou is a food and travel writer and our resident cocktail expert. A true citizen of the world, Jervan was born in California, raised in Singapore and has lived in London, New York and Tokyo. Whilst in London he worked part time in one of the capital’s top hotel bars. When not making cocktails, he enjoys cooking for friends and dining out. He has travelled widely and continues to go to many of the world’s best restaurants and bars.

Mike Daw is a London-based writer and hospitality professional. After graduating from catering school and completing a degree in Hospitality – with a stint working at Le Manoir aux’quat Saisons – he moved to London to open The Beaumont in Mayfair and now works for CODE Hospitality.


We also welcome guest writers from time to time. Recent guest writers have included Alicia Rose (a natural wine expert), Julian Vallis (co-founder of the Martini Club) and Margaret Wynn (Umami Information Center in Japan).


IT support and design

  • Richard Scott


  • By the writing team. Additional photography by Alex Minakov

Illustrations and artwork

  • Ashley Donaldson