Khoollect Creative Editor, Lara Messer

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Meet Lara Messer: the lively Glaswegian and creative force behind Khoollect. This former crafter and talented self-taught photographer has a keen eye for taking perfectly styled pictures of food, people and places. In fact, she’s responsible for all of Khoollect’s photography. She’s also a dab hand at seeing the potential in a picture, creating quirky GIFs, and other moving images. She’s one of those outspoken, but at the same time lovely, characters who leaves a lasting and memorable impression.

A Day in the Life of Lara

Where do you call home?

I’m lucky enough to have the best of both – Glasgow and Stamford Hill, London.

How did you get your job with Khoollect?

I was tenacious in my approach…

What’s it like working for a start-up company?

Invigorating. Working in a small team means you learn so many different skills – you all muck-in to get the job done. Being a part of a small business means your work is noticed and is vital to its growth, which I find so encouraging.

Tell us about a day in the life of Lara Messer at Khoollect?

Each day is different for me, but always extremely creative. Sometimes I’m out shooting our next inspiring small-business owner, a super cool cafe or a dish for an upcoming recipe. Other days, I’m working on graphics and curating our social media.
What do you love most about your job?

Taking pictures. As cliché as it sounds, every time I get behind the camera I fall even more in love with my job. Looking at details that some people might miss, capturing space and time in a snapshot – it’s a thrilling job that I feel so lucky to call it my own.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Working for Rachel Khoo. I still fan-girl out when I realise that she’s my boss, after years of adoring her, her recipes and her wee kitchen.

Is collaboration important in your line of work?

Always! Collaborations as a photographer, or in any creative line, are so important. I think with most things, it’s about who you know and what you can all bring to the table for a particular project.

What are your tips for scoring a job like this?

Find what makes you different, be persistent and work really, really hard.

Tell us about your workmates…

Without sounding as mushy as peas, I’m so happy to work with my colleagues. Each team member brings such a different element to the office, making me more productive and ultimately more creative. I think it’s important to have a good working environment – one where you get your head down and concentrate, but also have a laugh and enjoy what you do.

Tell us about your work environment?

We work in the ever-inspiring Hackney area, mingling with small businesses and innovative people. It’s hard not to marvel at every shop, cafe or idea that has been crafted here. Our office is full of stimulating food and design books that we leaf through for ideas. Oh, and coffee cups and bowls of cereal (well, my desk is).

What about your background? Tell us about your work history …

My background is a very progressive one. My career has included running an online shop selling cards and crochet gifts, gradually evolving into writing DIY projects for craft magazines such as Mollie Makes, to then going freelance as a photographer. It’s been a six (plus) year journey of colours, designs and patterns, which landed me here in London.

Best Kept Secrets

I khoollect a few …

Snowglobes and egg cups. Despite preferring poached eggs (and never truly mastering the art of boiled eggs), I’m a sucker for vintage egg cups. Dainty and novel, they are welcome on my shelf.

What’s your favourite item in your khoollection?

My cat, Oscar. And my M.C.Escher ‘Relativity’ print.

A life lesson that you’d tell your younger self?

Appreciate everything in your life while you have it: your health, your family, your friends, your job. Take time to relish the little moments and don’t get caught up in thinking how things might change in the future. Remind yourself how happy you are, here and now, and let the chips fall where they may.

What’s your secret ingredient or top tip in the kitchen?

I’m obsessed with cooking Thai food. Anything with a bounty of ginger, chilli and coriander is my go-to meal.

Favourite corner of the Internet?

I love blogs with an emphasis on travel – such as Wish Wish Wish or Paris in Four Months. However, I can mostly be found on Netflix after a long day, watching House or Breaking Bad.

Who’s your #khoollectcrush?

Joanna Newsom.

Dogs or cats?

Animals! but mostly cats.

Urban Favourites

Favourite food?

Super spicy chickpea curry. Or a vegetable burrito, packed with coriander, black beans and guacamole. Or veggie bangers and mash with onion gravy. Or porridge with peanut butter, banana and toasted almonds. Or chips and curry sauce. I really like food.

Favourite drink?

A good flat white or a cold wheat beer.

Top three spots to hang out in London?

I love London Fields or Broadway and Netil Markets at the weekend – eating boxes of veggie curry and watching all the hipsters walking their French bulldogs.

Covent Garden will always hold onto my heart, from holidays as a child. We would spend hours in Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop and then wander up Neal’s Yard to Carluccio’s. Back then it was just a tiny little deli.

Stoke Newington’s Church Street has a beautiful collection of cafes, shops and vintage markets. I love strolling along and picking up a plant or two for my flat.

Best way to spend a Sunday morning?

At home in Glasgow I read lazily in bed, with poached eggs on toast, an endless supply of coffee, my boyfriend and my cat. In London you’ll find me anywhere that has coffee, chocolate croissants and an inspiring coffee-table book.

Your favourite place for coffee?

119 Lower Clapton Road. Great coffee, a mountain of pastries and a well designed, cool place.

Favourite places to eat?

Sunday in Islington for buttermilk pancakes with bacon, maple syrup,and crunchy honeycomb.

Yum Yum in Stoke Newington for veggie thai curry. You can even sit on the floor and eat.

Hirsinger and Strauss in Homerton for their insanely amazing hummus wraps. I’m yet to find out their secret.

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Meet the rest of the Khoollect team

Editor-in-Chief, Rachel Khoo

Food Editor, Frankie Unsworth

Deputy Editor, Sonya Gellert 

Partnerships and Marketing Manager, Hannah Adams