Artist Interviews

The Art of Living - and Coffee

John Quilter, more widely known as the Food Busker, talks to us about the importance of creativity.

By Aimee Morris | 10 Apr 2018

John Quilter wears a number of exciting hats. He’s an entrepreneur, broadcaster and chef. The Food Busker, as he’s known to his 170k YouTube fans, showcases the best global street food in London. John also co-founded and runs CRU Kafe, a food-tech startup that makes organic, fairtrade coffee.


CRU founders (from left) Colin Pyle, Bodil Blain and John Quilter.


It’s not just beans that go into CRU coffee pods; creativity and passion are key ingredients in the roast. John’s creative juices also extend to art - he and his wife collect pieces by Chairman Kato and Antony Micallef. The Food Busker himself gives us the low-down on creativity and curation.


Pic: Instagrammer @anordicmoment, via @crukafe.


What role does creativity play in your life and work?

It’s at the centre of everything I do, be it making films, helping to develop the CRU brand or cooking and writing. Creativity is the default setting of every human being, practising it is the key to a healthy, peaceful, rewarding life.


Street art in Bogotá. Pic taken by John and Oliver on their coffee hunting travels in Colombia.


You're a curator on a number of levels - you curate food festivals, for example, and the Food Busker YouTube channel. What is your favourite curatorial role?

I don’t really have favourites; my attention depends on my feelings and my business focus. I try to keep doing new things, to have the courage to do what I’ve not done before rather than repeat what I know. So my favourite is the new. My latest passion is a new series of films for Food Busker comparing heritage brands such as beluga caviar against new upstart, sustainable caviar producers based in the UK.


Coffee by Malayka Gormally.


What's the idea behind CRU's tagline, The art of living (according to coffee addicts)?

It’s hinting at the line between passion and need that we all cross when we interact with something we love. CRU is about organic, fair trade coffee from the best plantations in the world.  It’s about coffee that is that good you can’t help but have another cup.


Pic: Instagrammer @_yungsamosa, via @crukafe.


What links do you see between art, food and coffee?

Creativity! The art, action and practise of creating something a fresh, a new.  Of listening to your inner soul and allowing it to dictate what you create or make today.  Be that a cup of beautifully made coffee or challenging, thought provoking film.


Things about coffee by Marco Raparelli.


Do you collect any art?

Yes we have some work by artist Chairman Kato and Antony Micallef, who’s a good friend of my wife. His images of Trump on a pack of Marlboro Reds has become quite iconic. I’ve also got a limited edition Hacienda first birthday party poster which is very cherished.


The Hacienda First Birthday Party (Factory Records).


What are your 5 favourite pieces on Rise Art?


1. @EmpressAK by Mikela Henry-Lowe


2. Marilyn by Sir Peter Blake


3. Wild Angel by Louise McNaught


4. Ice Bucket by Keith More


5. The Twins & the Green Car by Vikram Kushwah


Keep an eye out for an exciting Rise Art x CRU giveaway in the next few days on @crukafe.


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