My Life In Food: Justin Landsberger
My Life In Food: Justin Landsberger

My Life In Food: Justin Landsberger


Justin Landsberger was Deliveroo's first employee and helped build it into what it is today. Now he’s giving everything to his own venture: a social platform called Sera that brings together great chefs and top London eateries to create one-time-only events. We asked Justin about his life in food, before tapping him up for a few recommendations…
Photography SERA


I fell in love with food when I moved back to London in 2009 after graduating. I have vivid memories of trekking across to New Cross (I live in west London) to try MeatEasy, which was MeatLiquor’s original pop-up that the team opened after their Meatwagon was stolen. Another food awakening was my regular trip to Daniel Young’s Burger Mondays at Andrew’s Cafe on Gray’s Inn Road. I then joined Deliveroo as my first professional foray into food, and the rest is history.

I had 10 amazing years at Deliveroo. I worked with some incredible restaurant partners, building relationships with people who are now some of my closest friends. However, towards the end of my time at Deliveroo, I felt like something was missing for me in terms of a personal connection, so I left to take the time to figure out exactly what that was and build something for me, which would also hopefully resonate with other likeminded people.

I had the idea for Sera in the back of my mind for several years. But it wasn’t until I left Deliveroo that I really spent time fleshing it out and taking a risk to build it. I had an amazing mentor at Deliveroo, the founder Will Shu. He built Deliveroo to solve a consumer problem that he had and that, as it turned out, millions of people around the world also had. I’m trying to do the same thing at Sera.

I’m not a big fan of the word ‘foodie’ so I say Sera is a social platform for London’s food community. The idea is to connect with like-minded individuals, to give them a singular place to discover, engage, enhance and further their knowledge on all things food. What makes us different is that we partner with some of the hottest chefs and restaurants in London to put on genuinely unique food experiences. The vision in the slightly longer term is to take Sera outside of London, and into different cities and countries around the world.



Our most popular event series is ‘If I Had A…’. This is where chefs get to dream up a one-off setting for their cooking. Our next one is with Chet Sharma of BiBi. Chet has an insane culinary background, working in restaurants like Benares, Locanda Locatelli, two-starred Mugaritz in Spain, Moor Hall and eventually three-star The Ledbury. For one Sunday only, we’re creating ‘If I Had A… Kebab Shop’, where Chet will be cooking murgh malai tikka, pahadi prawns, lamb belly and more. After that, we have our ‘Homage to Raymond Blanc’, where the food of the iconic chef will be celebrated at Robin Gill’s restaurant Darby’s. On the night, seven Michelin-starred chefs, who have all worked for Raymond over the years, will come together to cook a six-course dining experience. Also coming up, we’ve got ‘The Magic Of… Surf & Turf’ with Shaun Searley from Quality Chop House and Richard Corrigan from Bentley’s. Two legends in their own right, we’re excited to bring them together. We might be hosting a little after-hours party at Bentley’s, so watch this space.

It's all about bringing people together. You can attend with friends, or at one of our community tables, where you can come on your own and dine with likeminded people. Since launching in November, we’ve had over 15,000 messages in our community channels on WhatsApp talking about everything to do with food; from how to cook the perfect spanikopita to what to eat during a weekend in Las Vegas to personalised restaurant recommendations for where to take your vegan mother-in-law for Sunday lunch. These days, I get most of my recipes from the Sera Community chat ‘So you think you can cook’. 

Every takeover we’ve done to date has been special in its own way. I thought our Kitchen Table event, when the two-star restaurant became an Asian café for two nights, featured the best meal I had in 2023. Equally, I loved our last event – ‘If I Had A… Pie & Mash Shop’ with Calum Franklin and Ivan Tisdall-Downes at M.Manze in Peckham.



Bistro Freddie
Bistro Freddie

Marcus Brown

Now the business is out the way, we can get a bit more personal

Childhood restaurant that will always stay with you?

Pizza on the Park. It was one of the original PizzaExpress restaurants that had a Jazz Club below it. They used to let me and my siblings make doughballs behind the counter every time our parents took us for dinner.

First dish you learned to cook?

For my 14th birthday, I was given a panini machine. I mastered prosciutto, mozzarella, basil and tomato on ciabatta. I still use that same panini maker today. Vintage.

Restaurant you go to most often?

Phoenix Palace in Marylebone for Sunday dim sum or Dorian in Notting Hill. At Phoenix Palace, I'll usually get the classics; har gau, shu mai and XLB’s. My favourite dish is the crispy cheung fung with teriyaki eel and seaweed. The fried chicken is also really good, and I almost always get the beef ho-fun.

Favourite recent opening?

The new Three Sheets bar in Soho. I loved the team’s take on a classic dirty martini, made with Belvedere, koseret tea, olive oil, picpoul and sea salt.

Most memorable meal?

Tung Po in Hong Kong. I lived in Hong Kong when I launched Deliveroo out in Asia in 2015, which was one of the best years of my life. This restaurant wrapped up everything I loved about Hong Kong into one singular experience. The atmosphere is great, but it’s all about seafood.

Favourite dining companions?

‘The Gluttons’, a WhatsApp group with four of my childhood best friends – and more recently, my girlfriend, even though she brings a nut, legume and basically every other allergy to the table. Our last Gluttons meal was at Bouchon Racine, which is easily one of my favourite restaurants in London. Henry Harris, the owner, is a great guy, and the food is arguably even better.

Bistro Freddie
Bistro Freddie

Dream dinner guest?

Jurgen Klopp. I back my cooking skills, so I think I could convince him to not leave Liverpool this summer. He also just seems like a great guy. If I did somehow convince Mr Klopp to come to my house, I think I’d host a BBQ. Chicken thighs, lamb chops, steaks and butterflied tiger prawns would all help to get the deal over the line.

Best party you’ve ever thrown?

Before he launched Dorian, Max Coen cooked my birthday dinner at my flat one year. It trumped any dinner party I had hosted previously. And yes, he did cook the now-famous steak dish he serves at Dorian, although (I think) Dorian might have better quality steak than I did. He also did these amazing nori tacos; one with koshihikari rice and torched otoro tuna tartare and the other with lobster claw, black truffle and a ponzu emulsion.

The dish you always order if it’s on the menu?

Escargot. And although I only had them for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I'm going to have to say Bouchon Racine does the best ones in London.

Drink of choice?

A dirty vodka martini. Up until a few weeks ago I would have said the best one in town is at The Connaught Bar, but after our Sera event at Three Sheets, theirs might be my new favourite.

Perfect Sunday lunch?

It’s somewhat dependent on how my Saturday night went down. If it was big, then Chinese food (specifically, a sickly amount of dim sum) delivered, eaten on the sofa. If not, I like to head to the countryside for a classic pub lunch, red wine and a fire.

Dream future collaborators?

I’d love to do something with Gareth Ward from Ynyshir. And, while I am not super hopeful, doing something with René Redzepi would be a total dream.

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