A Home Away From Home - Cafe Life

By Kaila H. Johnson

To enter a cafe and be known is something of a rarity in London, but subconsciously sought. Whether it is to have your order remembered or to be personally received when you walk through the door, there’s something about being known that can put a positive spin to your day. To quote the famous theme song from the 80’s TV sitcom, Cheers, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came”. This is the heartbeat behind Luminary’s very own Cafe Manager, Essy, and what makes our cafe worth visiting!

Cafe work is not something new to Essy as it’s basically in her DNA. At the young age of 12, she was already helping in her mom’s tea garden. By the time she was 18, and a fresh face to London, she was ready to mix experience with her passionate desire to see women succeed. After 5 years of working in London’s coffee industry and submitting an “essay-long” application of pure determination and zeal to Luminary, Essy joined our team!

Cafe Manager Essy Head Shot


“My hope is to create a home away from home—a sanctuary for the women we work with and for every customer.”


Essy’s fierce determination—and quick wit—to make every customer feel known and accepted, has seen her hope become reality. Customers are greeted by name, orders are remembered, great coffee is created, and the sweet and savoury baking aromas leave an environment feeling exactly like home. The Cheers theme song is quickly becoming the Luminary theme song!


“It’s nice to work somewhere that has a meaning behind the business, but doesn’t compromise on quality. … I hope that we can inspire the women graduating and others in our industry to [run sustainable businesses] and make a difference in our society.”


Essy is devoted to delivering customer service at it’s finest, as well as products and coffee that satisfy. It’s no wonder the cafe has flourished immensely since she was brought onto the team in 2018! If you haven’t been to our cafe—peacefully tucked away from London’s fast-pace drive—it’s well worth the cheeky visit. You’ll be glad you came!

From an empowering upbringing to paying-it-forward, this had been a Behind-The-Scenes Moment with Luminary’s Cafe Manager extraordinaire, Essy!


  1. Favourite Luminary Baked Good?:Rhubarb and raspberry cake (vegan)”

  2. A surprising fact?: “I swim in the Hampstead ponds most days!”

  3. Guilty pleasure?: “I just really love Abba!”

  4. Favourite place you’ve traveled?: “Cornwall”

  5. What makes you laugh the most?: “People falling over…”

  6. If you could have coffee with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?: “My old manager, Jackie, cause she’s the most inspiring person ever.” 

  7. Current favourite tv show?: “The Office”

  8. Go-to song for Karaoke night?: “The Piña Colada Song” 

  9. Puppy or kitten?: “Puppy”

  10. Beach or city?: “Beach”

Learn more about the work Essy does in a recent interview by The Traveling Foodcast—listen by clicking here (also available on Spotify).


Kaila has the honour of helping Luminary Bakery put words to the amazing stories taking place throughout this inspiring social enterprise. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the world of art, trying out new nutritional recipes, or savouring a locally roasted cup of coffee. Stay connected through her blog www.freshpagenewchapter.blogspot.com or Instagram @kailahjohnson.

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