CODE Quarterly | Issue 15 | Summer 2018

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Issue 15 Summer 2018


The eyes & ears of the hospitality industry




Contents 7.

Staff briefing


In season: shopping pages


CODE breaking: restaurant news

Editor Lisa Markwell


Celebrating our industry’s longest servers


Creative Director Alexander Taralezhkov

In-tents flavours: CODE’s festival guide


In converstion with... Clare Smyth


Tools of the trade: Calum Franklin, piemaster


An interview with The Infatuation’s Chris Stang


What’s fuelling Team Quarterly this season


Head-to-head: who loves/hates loud music?


Me and my favourite shoes


Service, please


The tastiest new books of the season


Why is Michael West upwardly immobile?


24 hours in... Copenhagen


A classic revisited


What’s cooking on Instagram


Staff meal: what they have for supper at Cornerstone

Publisher Adam Hyman

Contributors Victoria Allen Tom Brown Loyd Grossman Chloë Hamilton Katie Hammond Fergus Henderson Ophelia Keane Merlin Lebron-Johnson Mariana Lobos David Munns Harriet Raper Lee Tiernan Nu Valado Slav Vitanov Michael West

Head office CODE Hospitality 6th Floor Greener House 66-68 Haymarket London SW1Y 4RF Tel: +44 20 7104 2007 @CODEhospitality @codehospitality CODE Quarterly (online) ISSN 2398-9726

Front cover illustration by Marina Muun ( @marinamuun, Printed on recycled paper by DataComuniqué New destinations on the app include:


Fitz’s Timeless glamour at the new Principal Hotel Londrino Leandro Carreira’s Portugese in London Bridge The Daisy Manchester’s new members-only cocktail bar and co-working space Hoppers Soho Sri Lankan feasting on Frith Street

Full list of participating restaurants and bars, see page 59 -3-

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


Hakkasan Hanway Place The Michelin-starred site where it all began

“We love to have visitors from the trade and it’s a great way to stay connected” --- José Pizarro -4-

FEEDING THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY SINCE 2O14 Exclusively for the hospitality industry, CODE app membership grants access to dining, drinking and lifestyle offers at some of the best restaurants, bars and hotels in the UK. A perk for those working in the industry, the CODE app lets hospitality professionals dine out more regularly and keep up to date with the latest news from the industry via the CODE Bulletin. For more information about app staff memberships email


Get in touch for samples - @karmacolauk #drinknoevil

Staff briefing What’s hot. As we head into the warmer months and our thoughts start to stray to a cosy corner of the Med for some rest and relaxation over suppers of grilled fish and jugs of local white wine (you may even be reading this issue stretched out on a sunlounger), I’m always fascinated how the appearance of the sun transforms people’s dining habits. Favourite restaurants are substituted for anywhere that has an outside spot in the sun and weekends can be miserable for restaurants when the mercury is rising. Personally, in a populated urban environment – where al fresco dining is more likely to end in endless interruptions by passers-by and car fumes – I’d much rather sit in the comfortable air-conditioned surrounds inside (although it probably goes without saying that unless it’s the terrace at the River Café). At CODE HQ , over the summer, we’re going to do our first Happiness in Hospitality survey, which we will then publish in the next issue of the Quarterly. We want to hear from our community about what motivates you to work in this industry, along with the more qualitative aspects of your career and what is important to you to when it comes to your place of employment. I’m looking forward to seeing the feedback. As always, thank you for all your continued support and I’m available on

Whey Not just powder for the gainz. Chefs Will Bowlby and James Lowe cook with fresh stuff

Figs Replaces avocado this season. Figs and ricotta on toast for brekkie is our new jam

North west London Finally getting some good gaffs. Hām in West Hampstead and Corbin & King opening in St John’s Wood

Pizza Lots of carbs before Marbs. Temper 3, Cecconi’s Pizza Bar and Mare Street Market

Adam Hyman Founder, CODE @AdamMHyman

What’s not.

Lisa Markwell Editor, CODE @HoldsKnifeLikePen

Your name again? Stop with the unpronounceable restaurant titles

Compound/ whipped butter I Can’t Believe It’s Not Plain Salted Butter

Terrazzo 2018’s equivalent of the squirrelcage lightbulb. There are other types of tiles

Social media anger Come on peeps – less attitude and more collaboration


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

In an industry that can sometimes be in thrall to the new at the expense of the more established, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate those who are hospitality’s stalwarts and in this issue, we meet some of those inspiring people. And talking of inspiring, great role models don’t get much greater than Clare Smyth, who was already blazing a trail for women in the industry and who has now been (rightly) acknowledged by the World’s 50 Best organisation. I was lucky enough to chat to Clare on the day her award was announced and her pride and passion was evident. Any celebrations she was planning had to wait, though, as she was in the kitchen for lunch service as usual. Impressive. I noticed Clare was wearing Birkenstocks with her perfectly tailored whites. The footwear people in hospitality wear has long been an obsession (ever since I struggled to find something comfortable to stand in for eight hours-plus every day while I was doing chef training). I was fascinated to see what a range of industry figures chose for the feature ‘me and my shoes’ in this issue. Who, meanwhile, could fail to be fascinated by Michael West, global general manager for Jason Atherton and (gasp) mobile phone refusenik? His argument in this issue almost persuaded me to put down my iPhone… As always, please let me know what subjects you’d like to read in future issues of CODE Quarterly, and any other feedback, at

In season Need an excuse to buy some new kitchen kit, or a decorative treat? Of course you don’t – but the arrival of summer would work if you do

Pure pleasure

It’s not just because filtering out the sulphites is said to make wine less of a hangover inducer, honest... The innovative wine purifier invented by James Kornacka and for sale at the ace Borough Kitchen shops and website returns to bottles to a more natural state by removing the (necessary but sometimes aggressive) sulphites. Ullo wine purifier, £70,

Get a handle on it

This kettle is, of course, beautiful but it also makes a wonderful cup of coffee. CODE is a big fan of North Star Coffee Roasters in Leeds, who sell amazing products and accessories. 1.2L kettle, £50,

Stone love

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

OK, so it never gets ripe, but in all other respects this avocado is perfect. Mostly because it’s a paperweight rather than something to Instagram on toast. Unboring avocado, £12.99,


2018 -8-

The new bowl food

From Stevie Parle’s lurcher to Oisin Rogers’ beagles, there are plenty of dogs in hospitality – and now there’s a book for any owner of a hound to cook them a nutritious meal. Debora Robertson’s book is enormous fun and really useful (humans can even eat some of the dishes!). £9.99, Pavilion Books

Cattle prod

Pun-net of fruit

What’s your beef ? Fed up with having to buy good quality meat, or not finding the cuts you want? A clever new initiative allows investors to buy a share of a cow from a small-scale farmer, follow its progress to maturity and then receive a (literal) cut of the action in the form of meat. Trustworthy, traceable and eco-friendly. Sign us up. More details from

The artist and chef Letitia Clark has cornered the market in witty images that play on food names. You can buy prints or cards or even commission a bespoke piece, if you love a pun like we do. From £20 for a book of postcards,

Press, send


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Ever tried to grow an olive tree, harvest the fruit, press it and use the oil? Probably not. Luckily Nudo has been putting people together with artisan farmers in Italy for 10 years now, allowing them to ‘adopt’ a tree and get the extra virgin olive oil delivered to their door. It’s a programme that supports the farmers as well as supplying we greedy gluggers in the UK. Makes a great gift, too. From £33,

CODE breaking


St Leonards A very drunken lunch is said to be the genesis of the

new opening from Brunswick House duo Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke. Building on their successes at their esteemed Vauxhall venture, it’s eastward for their second restaurant on Leonard Street in Shoreditch. The site features a 70-cover dining room, a 50-cover bar and a private dining room for 12 serviced by an open kitchen, log-fired hearth and an ice bar. As for the food, the focus is simple, honest, accessible cooking with inspiration taken from south-west France as well as the Sussex countryside where the team will source much of their produce from Boxer’s mother’s farm.

Belmond Cadogan

The eyes and ears of the industry

Adam Handling is a busy man. Alongside his Shoreditch and Covent Garden restaurants and his zero-waste café on Artillery Passage, the chef restaurateur has been appointed executive chef of Belmond Cadogan Hotel when it opens in the winter. Handling will oversee all food and beverage operations of the 54-bedroom hotel on Chelsea’s Sloane Street, including a theatrical open kitchen servicing the main restaurant, a bar and terrace with lighter offerings and an afternoon tea service. Handling’s modern British cooking is a canny choice for the international luxury brand, which also operates Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire.

ROVI Fire and fermentation couldn’t be more of-the-moment

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

and the Ottolenghi group are getting in on the action this summer with the opening of ROVI in Fitzrovia. The Wells Street site is the biggest yet for the group, with 85 covers in the domed dining room, a centrepiece cocktail bar and countertop seating saved for walk-ins. Neil Campbell, former head chef of Grain Store will be leading the kitchen team, turning out a vegetable-focused menu with the support of development chef Calvin Von Niebel, and Sammi Tamimi and Yotam Ottoleghi as executive chefs.

Cora Pearl Tim Steel, Tom Mullion and Oz Milburn, the team behind Mayfair restaurant Kitty Fisher’s, are soon to open a sister site in Covent Garden. Cora Pearl, named after another infamous courtesan, is set across two floors of a townhouse on Henrietta Street and will be decked out in dark furnishings, parquet flooring and vintage lighting. The food is a departure from the wood-fired grill menu at the Shepherd Market original and will service its theatreland patrons with decadent updates on the classics. Head chef George Barson will split his time between the two sites whilst restaurant manager Tom Fogg will make the permanent move to Henrietta Street. -10-

Rest of the UK

In addition to our weekly digital Bulletin, here we round up this quarter’s biggest news in the global restaurant and hotel scene. By Chloë Hamilton

As The Ivy brand spreads quickly throughout the UK’s regional cities, another well-known brasserie is also branching out of London. Corbin and King, who opened the original Ivy back in 1990, and now run some of the capital’s most well-loved dining institutions, will be bringing a version of the Wolseley to Bicester Village this summer. Café Wolseley won’t be a direct cut of the original but an all-day café-restaurant with a takeaway counter and a shop for the hordes of hungry - and stylish - shoppers.

Heckfield Place The UK’s most delayed hotel, and one that it was

thought might never open, has a new launch date of 1 September. Owner Gerald Chan, a Honk Kong-born property tycoon, bought the 18th century Georgian manor house and farm in Hampshire 20 years ago and has run through multiple executive chefs and general managers before any guest has stepped through the door. Olivia Richli is now firmly at the helm to see it open and Skye Gyngell is still with the project as culinary director (Chan also owns Spring). It is hoped the two restaurants, Marle, with a pared back menu, and Hearth, with cooking over an open fire, will attract Londoners who can be ferried to and from nearby Hook station by a fleet of Land Rovers.

Fhior Just a few hours before Norn added to its many accolades

with Best Restaurant at the Edinburgh Restaurant Awards, partners Scott and Laura Smith announced they would leave their Leith project of three years to open a bigger, more ambitious site on Edinburgh’s bustling Broughton Street. Scott will be running the kitchen as well of front of house - hoping to offer diners a more connected experience - and foraging is still very much on the menu. Though it was expected to continue operating, Norn has since closed its doors.

Dan Doherty

Rest of the world

Café Wolseley

Following his recent departure from Duck & Waffle, it turns out chef Dan Doherty is swapping one skyscraper for another, this time across the Atlantic. Teaming up with London catering company rhubarb, Doherty will be chef partner at the fifth-floor restaurant of New York’s ambitious 30 Hudson Yards development. The 170-cover all-day site will serve up an ‘East meets West’ menu and is set to open next year. Until then Doherty will have both feet firmly on this side of the pond as he gears up for his next solo venture in London.


Meanwhile down in lower Manhattan, industry titan Danny Meyer has his sights set on the 60th floor of 28 Liberty Street. The opening this summer will be part of the Union Square Hospitality Group and hopes to be a neighbourhood restaurant, albeit one with 360-degree views of the New York skyline and an adjoining events space with the highest ballroom in the city. The executive chef is Jason Pfeifer, a man with noma, Maialino and Per Se on his record, and it’s said he’ll be turning out an approachable menu that hopes to draw a clientele of regulars.

André Chiang

After eight years of service, Taiwanese restaurateur André Chiang made the surprise announcement that he would be pulling the shutters on his eponymous Singapore restaurant that had climbed to No.14 in the World’s Best Restaurants list and garnered two Michelin stars. In February Restaurant André celebrated its final service with a dinner for friends, family and family of the staff whom Chiang invited from all corners of the globe. It has now emerged that the chef has plans for two new restaurants in 2018, including one in the former Restaurant André space, but with a completely new style of cuisine, and a second in another Asian city yet to be confirmed.

The Bonnie Badger Building on his success at The Kitchin, The Scran and

Market powers

Whilst Try Market Halls is rolling out beyond London with York, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh in its sights, Time Out Market is following a similar growth trajectory on an international scale. Having opened Time Out Market Lisbon in 2014 the group will open in the Empire Stores building on Dumbo’s waterfront in New York this year as well as in South Beach, Miami. Next year it’s to Boston and Chicago and the group have just entered into a management agreement for a Montreal opening. London still appears to be stuck in the pipeline after planning permission for a Shoreditch site was denied by Tower Hamlets last year. -11-

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Scallie and Castle Terrace, Tom Kitchin is branching out of Edinburgh to open a restaurant with rooms in Gullane, 40 minutes drive outside the city on the East Lothian coast. Tom and his wife and business partner Michaela have taken on the former Golf Inn hotel (the world-famous Muirfield course is a stone’s throw away) and will be overhauling the 1830’s building to inject a Scandi-Scottish design into the 12 bedrooms, bar, and 60-cover dining room. They hope to attract a mixture of day-trippers and weekend visitors.

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Legends in their own lifetime Rising stars get a lot of attention in the hospitality industry, but what about our longserving stalwarts? Lisa Markwell celebrates those whose service serves as an inspiration to us all, with portraits by Harriet Raper

MARTYN NAIL Executive chef at Claridge’s for 32 years


Bar manager at The Stafford for 25 years An atmosphere of discreet luxury pervades the Stafford’s American Bar, overseen by the unflappable Benoit Provost. After 25 years, that’s no surprise, but it was never his plan. “I had this grand idea that I wanted to own my own hotel, but it doesn’t always work out the way you think when you’re young!’ he laughs. “I decided to come to London for a year to improve my English and I’m still here… and now I’ve lived in England longer than France, both of my children born here. I just fell in love with the place.” By ‘the place’ he’s referring specifically to the Stafford. “The relationship you build with the client here makes it so rewarding,” he says. “It’s always nice with a client who always drinks the same whisky to try a different thing and they say, ‘actually I really like that’.” Provost has many memories of such experiences. “One evening I had two gentlemen, in their fifties, in the bar. And here it’s appropriate for people in the bar to start chatting. So I introduced them and it turned out that both of them had been introduced to The Stafford by their fathers. They had a long evening together,” he chuckles. It might be a daft question, but is it possible to maintain enthusiasm for spirits after all this time? “If you look at the cocktail scene 25 years ago, it was quite limited, just the classics, really. Of course, they are back on the scene, there’s a big revival after the -13-

‘molecular mixology’!” Now, he says, “There’s not a week when there isn’t a new gin coming on the market - and we try everything.” Tough job, etc. “Yes,” he muses, when asked what his favourite drink is, “I like to try everything, a good glass of wine or a good glass of champagne, a whisky, a nice sipping rum…” The American Bar is a wonderful place to go, thanks to Provost being able to buy whichever products he thinks are up to his exacting standards. “I have a lot of freedom, which is one reason why I’m still so happy here. As long as I’m sensible, I don’t want to have expensive bottles gathering dust on the shelf.” ___

GINO NARDELLA Master sommelier at The Stafford for 40 years

“I’m not a museum curator,” says Gino Nardella firmly. “We sell the wine when it’s ready for drinking, whether its three years, 20 or 30.” One thing you can be sure of, it’s almost certain that Nardella himself will have bought the wine you drink at the Stafford hotel. He has been the master sommelier at the St James’s property for 40 years. He joined the hotel under its previous master sommelier after studying at catering school in his home country of Italy and discovering that he has a passion for wine. “I’ve never looked back,” he laughs. “I’m still travelling, still learning. I fly around the world: wherever there are vineyards, I’ve been there! I meet the producers. It’s not just about opening a bottle of wine and pouring it, it’s the story behind the label.” Indeed the fact that Nardella buys all the wine for the stunning Stafford cellar himself is part of what makes it, and the hotel, so noteworthy. “There are 12,000 bottles in our cellar,” he says. “The price of the wine is not just for what’s in the bottle, it’s the experience.” On the day of the interview, Nardella isn’t able to show me the cellar as a group who were having lunch in the special subterranean

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Martyn Nail sits in his office, deep in the heart of the vast basement kitchens at Claridge’s hotel. The walls are covered in photographs of dishes, and there’s a stack of the cookbook Nail wrote last year. His toque is, for now, on the desk and perhaps most indicative of all that we are in a very smart place, there’s a fridge that holds the copious supplies of caviar required for guests. “That’s just in case we get hungry,” Nail quips. After 32 years at the hotel, the first five days of which were spent washing Jersey Royals in an airless, scorching hot corner, he can afford to feel relaxed about his kingdom. “Oh no, if every day is the same, it’s because you’re not doing enough. And we’re only as good as the produce that comes in the back door.” Indeed quality is at the heart of everything that comes out of the Claridge’s kitchen - and it needs to be, for their exacting guests, from the grand old lady who lived around the corner who would send back vichyssoise for being too thick or too thin (“and she was always right, dammit” says Nail) to the dinners booked by code that turned out to be for senior royalty. That, he says, is what’s kept him here all these years. And, he adds, “to be quite honest, I suppose I’ve been a little bit scared to leave. I know what I know and I almost feel like I can’t let it go - because what about when a guests come back and they want that goujon salad that we haven’t done for 15 years with the sesame seeds… I’m the one who knows the recipe!” But although Nail is a master of the classic techniques and the exacting standards required, he’s not stuck in the past. “Oh we used to have a huge banquet oven that had no proper controls. So you’d open the doors to put racks of lamb in, the temperature would plummet and it would take anything from eight to 17 minutes to cook.” He grimaces. He names a temperature probe as the most useful innovation invented. Nail is a true inspiration for

younger chefs - he tries all the new restaurants in town to see what’s going on and, knowing the skills shortage everyone in hospitality talks about, cares enormously about making conditions work for the generations coming up. “When I started,” he says ruefully, “there was a queue outside Claridge’s every day with people desperate to work there, even just to wash up!”

dining room were reluctant to leave. “It’s not just client and staff here, we’re more like friends – you build up a relationship – and that’s hard to do when you stay in a place for just six months…” Nardella must have seem quite a lot of changes during his four decades in one place. “Yes, and especially at The Stafford, I am seeing the third generation of guests already. I remember when they were born and now they’re coming in with their own family,” he smiles. The Stafford has changed, of course - most recently hiring chef Ben Tish to develop new menus across the hotel’s restaurant and bar. But the fact that so many staff stay there for so long (the switchboard operator has worked there for 45 years) is testament to how well looked after they are. Nardella, tall and genial, but with a quiet air of authority, clearly relishes every day in his job. “I’ve had very many offers around the world, but who has a cellar like ours? Nobody! I have this very special toy that I play with every day.” ___


Pianist at the Groucho Club for 22 years


PETER SWEENEY Doorman at The Goring for 53 years

On arrival at the historic The Goring hotel, a dapper gentleman darts forward to open the taxi door. It’s hard to believe that this is Peter Sweeney, doorman for a jaw-dropping 53 years. He is, he won’t mind us saying, surprisingly spritely. “I’m 75 in July … and I can still run for taxis,” he says proudly. Apart from the physical challenges, what

about the number of guests he must have seen? “I don’t always remember the names, but the faces I do remember, even sometimes someone who walked in 20 years before.” How did Sweeney end up at the hotel at all, given that he started out in merchant navy? “My two brothers were doormen, so when one of them called me, said he was leaving The Goring and if I took over, I’d get £4 more a week, I jumped at it. In those days it was a hell of a lot of money!” He took over the job without an interview and has never been tempted to leave, not once during his decades, something that’s puzzling for many in today’s highly transient industry. “The family have been wonderful to me – Mr George Goring has been a wonderful man to work for, and his son, the young Mr Jeremy too. I’ve never wanted to leave, and I’ve loved every minute.” Sweeney has had big changes in his own life – a serious bout of cancer, the deaths of his wife and daughter – and, he says, the support of the hotel management has always been there for him. On a more cheerful occasion, they were generous too. “When I’d been here 50 years, the Goring gave me a big lunch for 30 guests. They told me I could choose whatever I wanted for the menu… but I just fancied steak, egg and chips, so everyone else had beef wellington, and I had my usual!” Every day is different at the hotel, Sweeney says, including the time Kate Middleton stayed there the night before her wedding to Prince William. “I love coming in to work, whatever’s going on,” he enthuses. “I live in Sutton and my girlfriend says to me ‘I don’t know you get up in the cold and the rain…’ She gets a little bit bored by it because when we’re on holiday, I’m always talking about work. And I do hold the door open for people at the hotel I’m staying in too!”

“... I’m always talking about work. And I do hold the door open for people at the hotel I’m staying in too!” Harriet Raper

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

If you’ve ever been to the Groucho Club, the chances are that you’ve sung along as Rod Melvin plays the piano. And if you haven’t actually sung, you’ve certainly listened. His skill is in making even the most, er, well refreshed guest sound better. So what has he played the most in the 22 years that he’s been there? “There’s been a lot of Elton John,” he says. “As you can imagine, sometimes people get really pissed and they can’t sing, so it’s great when you get a professional in. The other night for a 33rd birthday party, in the midst of this eighties themed party, a woman said ‘shall we do Summertime?’ and she stood on the stairs and sang with her beautiful voice – it was a special moment.” Melvin had worked as a pianist

at many other places before he arrived at the Groucho. “I started at the Zanzibar, which was sort-of a forerunner to the Groucho. Then I was at Pont de la Tour for quite a long time, and at L’Escargot for a few years – I loved it there.” He was at another Soho restaurant when the then-manager of the Groucho Club asked him to come and work there. There was already another pianist, Jeremy, who had been playing since the club opened, but Melvin took on the 10pm-2am role. “She loved singing and used to come into where I was working and we’d sing and play together, so that’s why she hired me. And then guests started singing too…” Has the club membership changed during his time? “Definitely it’s increased in size and diversity,” Melvin says. “Now there’s lots of digital people. But because I’m playing at night-time I’m not there when people are working and having meetings.” He’s certainly a fixture of the club, staying constant when all around the art, the furniture, the food and the bar itself changed. Even the piano is different. “This isn’t the original piano – and the reason its decorated like this is because it was done as a tribute to Sir Peter Blake, the artist, when it was his 80th birthday. He’s been a big supporter of the club and he loves music.” But has Blake ever warbled his way unsteadily through Islands in the Stream around the piano like so many other members? Melvin remains firm-lipped.


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Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


Field of dreams We all know that festivals have moved on from the days of a limp falafel wrap, a burger of questionable origin and a warm can of lager, but which ones are worth getting your wallet out for and your teeth stuck into? Ophelia Keane has the lowdown


FORK TO FORK London, 16 June Now in its third year, Thomasina Miers and Laura Harper-Hinton’s one-day festival in Kensal Rise is quick becoming a CODE favourite. Last year saw a sell-out food extravaganza and this year promises to be just as good. Expect appearances from restaurants such as Kitty Fishers and Portland, as well as chefs including Margot Henderson and Skye Gyngell. With Beavertown and Camden Town Brewery doing the bar and all for a good cause (The Open Air Classroom Project), this looks set to be a day of great day out for all the family. You’ll find us at the open firepit. ___

BLACK DEER FESTIVAL Eridge Park, Kent, 22 – 24 June CODE has been known to get down and dirty to a bit of Americana so were delighted to hear about the launch of a new food and music festival dedicated to it. Located in Britain’s oldest deer park - Eridge Park, Kent - this festival looks set to be any meat-lover’s dream. One of the highlights is their “Live Fire” area featuring open-flame cooking, spearheaded by Jon Finch and Ben Merrington (of Grillstock fame), as well as demonstrations on foraging, butchery and knife-making from master craftsmen. Neil Rankin and Romy Gill will also be amongst the chefs offering masterclasses and there will be a BBQ Cookout Competition. ___

PUB IN THE PARK Tunbridge Wells, Kent 6-8 July Knutsford, Cheshire 7-9 September

Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire 2 – 5 August Often regarded as the jewel in the UK festival crown, Wilderness 2018 looks magical. Famous for their long table banquets (for 400 seated diners) this year sees Yotam Ottolenghi returning to the stove as well as Joel Åhlin and Filip Fastén of Agrikulur (recently awarded a Michelin star). CODE’s highlight might just be their All Star Banquet; a 5-course feast featuring a course each from Lee Tiernan, Merlin Labron-Johnson, Tomos Parry, Robin Gill and Terri Mercierca. Couple this with The Chef ’s Table (a 24-seater restaurant overlooking the lakes) with James Lowe and Sam Buckley appearing and The Counter – an open kitchen showcasing Som Saa & Quality Chop House – and it’s a case of where to begin? ___

LOST VILLAGE Norton Disney, Lincolnshire 23 – 26 August When CODE heard that Dishoom were building their own restaurant installation at Lost Village festival this year our ears pricked with anticipation. On discovering that this outpost would be serving their signature bacon naan rolls, we knew there would be the best cure available the next morning after a night partying in the woods. Then add Tribal Banquets, this year featuring Lee Westcott and Dan Cox collaborating on a one-off menu for Cook for Syria, and a Hawksmoor Sunday Feast, and this looks set to be one of the best-fed festivals of the summer. This year it will debut The Eating House, which will showcase restaurants such as Breddos Tacos and 26 Grains. ___

BIG FEASTIVAL Kingham, Oxfordshire 24 – 26 August Another year, another Big Feastival. Back to Alex James’ big house in the country we go. With long-table discussions, Cottons Carribbean Rum Shack pop-up restaurant, a cookery school and Alex James Cheese Hub, 2018 is set to be their biggest yet. There plenty of new-gen stars like Merlin Lebron Johnson and Breddos Tacos mixed in with the cheese. And Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann are all confirmed. Wait, are we witnessing a renaissance of the 90s superchef ? Wooohooo.


PX+ HOSPITALITY FESTIVAL Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire 24-27 August When rumours first started circulating of a festival exclusively for hospitality people, we couldn’t be more intrigued. The first of its kind, this is a threeday festival - for the industry, by the industry. With an amazing roster of chefs, sommeliers, FOH, producers, each evening will see guest chefs cooking at the PX+ restaurant (such as Jackson Boxer and Maria Elia). There will also be a whole barn converted into a bakery with appearances from Oscar Harding and E5 Bakehouse. Amongst the many highlights for CODE is the butchery tent, where a whole pig will be prepared by butcher Joshua Applestone and cooked by headline chefs, as well as the discussions at the Let’s Talk About It barn, curated by Cook it Raw’s Alessandro Porcelli. There’s a rumour CODE might also be exhibiting. Watch this space. ___

MEATOPIA London 31 August – 2 September To see some chefs get dragged over the hot coals always fills CODE with delight. The meat-sweat-soaked Tobacco Dock this year has debuts from Jeremy Chan, Sam Bryant, Freddy Bird and Ben Davy, alongside Meatopia veterans Yotam Ottolenghi, Nud Dudhia and David Carter. There is also a raft of international fire-cooking stalwarts including Lennox Hastie of Firedoor in Sydney, Athanasios “Tommy” Kargatzidis of Baron in Beirut and Aleksey Burov of Smoke BBQ in St Petersburg. We’ll risk it for a brisket. ___

FESTIVAL NO.6 Portmerion, Wales 6 – 9 September Ahhhh Portmeirion. CODE finds it hard to think of a town with more character and charm. This picturesque town is the setting for Festival No.6, now a firm fixture in the festival circuit. As well as a Welsh produce market, there is also Dinner at Clough’s, where a lineup of Michelin starred chefs will be hosting one-off dinners, in a historic dining room overlooking the estuary of the River Dwyryd. Chefs are yet to be announced but CODE is looking forward to seeing their selection.

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Chef ’s table at Wilderness; Photo by Andrew Whitton

Tom Kerridge? Check. Two different UK destinations? Check. Some of the UK’s best loved chefs and restaurants cooking up reasonably priced food as well as demonstrations? Check. What’s not to love about Pub in The Park? Though two of the four dates of Tom Kerridge’s roving pub, restaurant and music festival have already occurred, these remaining dates look to be some of the most exciting yet. With Kerridge’s own The Hand and Flowers in residence, as well as Café Murano and Paul Ainsworth in attendance, Kerridge looks set to bring about one hell of a party. CODE is most excited to see what Stephen Harris and The Sportsman will be serving.



Cookery School with classes from Honey & Co. and Skye McAlpine, to tutored tastings from people like James Whetlor, who’s ‘Got Your Goat’. A perfect way to end the summer.


Axe throwing and fermenting? Count CODE in. Now in its fifth year, Cerys Matthews’ festival is set to celebrate all the “Good Things” in life. This family-friendly festival includes Apron cooking with children as well as a Middle Eastern feast from Honey & Co. Their Campfire Cooking Sessions also include Damian Clisby of Petersham Nurseries cooking a feast and Tom Hunt showcasing sustainable vegetarian food. All very wholesome.



Founded by René Redzepi in 2011, this event has become one of the most important events in the culinary calendar. Held in a red circus tent in Copenhagen, MAD has ballooned from 300 attendees in its first year to 3,500 for 2018. A non-profit exercise which brings the cooking community together, each symposium focuses on a different subject area and hosts talks, discussions and workshops with an aim to encourage change. The focus of this year’s MAD Symposium couldn’t be more timely; as the restaurant community (and the world at large) has been rocked by stories and experiences of women and the treatment of minorities and immigrants, talks this year will look at how to create a world with more opportunity and openness. CODE applauds them.

Machine du Vin is a new festival in the South of France brought to us by Australian juggernaut Wine Machine. The three-day music, wine, food and arts festival will happen in the ancient medieval chateau of Abbaye Chateau de Camon. As well as a music line up including Bonobo, 2MANYDJS and Hercules & Love Affair the festival will include wine stomping, long table lunches and glamping in the chateau’s spectacular grounds. The festival is on from 31 August till 2 September so a perfect opportunity to take a long weekend before the summer comes to a close.

Hawarden, Flintshire 14 – 16 September

ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL 15 – 16 September Monmouthshire, Wales

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Abergavenny Food Festival is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year and it’s going to be a rocking party, with Grace Dent, José Pizarro and Gill Meller featured in the line-up. There will be a 100 Years of Women in Food event featuring Sybil Kapoor and Jane Baxter, as well as cookery demonstrations from Anna Jones and Gareth Ward. There’s also much to learn at Abergavenny, from The

REST OF THE WORLD MAD SYMPOSIUM Copenhagen, Denmark 26 – 27 August



Camon, France 31 August - 2 September


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Clockwise: HIX at Wilderness; Tribal Banquets at Lost village, photo by Andy Hughes ; Petersham Nurseries at Wilderness


Image credit: Anne Emmanuelle Thion

In conversation with… Clare Smyth From retaining three Michelin stars for years to cooking at the royal wedding to winning – this year – The World’s Best Female chef, Clare Smyth is a role model to everyone in the industry. Over lunch at her restaurant Core to celebrate her latest accolade, she tells Lisa Markwell what really matters to her

Michelin stars, rave reviews, global awards, how do you measure your success? For me that’s quite an easy answer, it’s the guests. Since I’ve opened Core I’ve grown up, I’ve matured and that’s what has really stood out the most. The people supporting you, the voice of the people, it’s the most important thing. When we opened, we didn’t have any accolades at all, we had nothing, but people came, they ate, they gave us great comments, and they brought their friends. So many old regulars that I’ve known for many, many years supported me. They’ve come back and now we also have new regulars people from the area who come time and time again. Nearly every day the restaurant is often half full of people we know and for me that’s the most powerful response. I call it the “enjoyability factor” and you can’t grade that with anything, Michelin stars, or five-star reviews. Ultimately if people have a good time in your restaurant they are going to come back - you’re going to be busy and full regardless of any criteria. People might go to restaurants with great reviews, with Michelin stars, and they might not have enjoyed themselves.

don’t need to hide behind all of that formality - those are barriers between you and the guest.

I like the term ‘enjoyability factor’. It feels as if you’re taking away the fussiness of fine dining – which enables people to feel that although it might be special, it’s not reserved only for special occasions. I wanted to take away the thing that put people off, whether that was an intimidating or uncomfortable impression - a lot of people don’t like going into a stuffy atmosphere. We’re talking about people from all walks of life, so it doesn’t matter your age, your experience in dining, your wealth… anything. For me it’s that informal luxury, you don’t have to be stiff to have a good time. The food can be just as good, the service just as good, the product just as good … but people can laugh, feel at home and ultimately that’s what I wanted to create. I wanted to take away all the pretentiousness, the nonsense - because I don’t like that when I go out. I’ve gone to restaurants and travelled to go there and people are there dictating to you how to eat and all of that. I wanted to say ‘this is my home, share it with me’. That’s why we knocked down the wall, got rid of all the barriers, introduced the cooks to the people, the producers who we work with, create those relationships so people can enjoy the whole experience.

Things like hard-to-decipher menus and pompous sommeliers, for instance…? Those are exactly the things that I’m really passionate about not happening in Core; those are the rules we set down. I’m a diner in restaurants too, like all of us and we’ve all experienced the same things - but that can’t happen in my restaurant, I don’t want that to happen. Particularly with wine and with food names - what is it, how do you pronounce it - why should that be a barrier? I want to write the menu in a simple form and people should just feel comfortable enough to ask the sommelier. They should be there just to enrich the guest’s experience. People are doctors, lawyers, nurses, whatever, and when they come to a restaurant they’re there to enjoy it - and we’re there to entertain them.

Would you say London is leading the way with this more informal luxury vibe? London is definitely at the forefront of that movement … but a place I always think is very progressive is California, San Francisco - particularly with the dining scene. There are three-star Michelin restaurants there - there are no dress codes, there are no tablecloths, but the quality is unquestionable. It even comes through more because when people are really knowledgeable, really passionate, and really great at what they do they -21-

It’s brilliant that you have been recognised as the elit Vodka World’s Best Female Chef 2018, but the separate criteria for women has created some dialogue about whether that’s a good or bad thing. What’s your view? It just depends how you look at it. This is not a gender specific role - and I earned my stripes in the kitchen the same as everyone else - but you cannot ignore the fact that there are not enough women represented at the top of the industry. When I was told about this award I discussed it with the organisers, and they said it’s up to you how you use the platform. They were very good about it - basically they recognise that there aren’t enough women represented on their list and this is their way of doing something about it. It’s easy to criticise what people are doing about things but … you have to do something, you can’t do nothing. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I just know that we all have to do

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

So would you say that things have changed from the days when restaurant critics were the makers and breakers of restaurants? That these days it’s the social media ‘critics’ and the public that are more influential? I think that there is a place for everything - all guides and critics. But the voice of the people, the power of their voices, is a good thing. I think that’s really healthy - because it’s about the relationship you form with your customer. There’s such a volume of people posting reviews you can see generally if a restaurant is highly regarded by the people who come in with their friends, their family, or if it’s their birthday, whatever… They might be foodies, not foodies, all sorts of people - it takes a lot of people to fill

a restaurant every day and generally, here, people are having a good time … and that’s powerful.

our bit to pass on our knowledge and experience to the next generation.

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What do you think the main barriers are? The hours? The atmosphere in kitchens? Those are often quoted as reasons for women leaving or not joining the industry. And do you think it’s changing? The industry is changing as a whole, it’s becoming more professional and that’s something that I’m really passionate about. I’m really proud to be a chef - I want people to look at chefs as a real profession, a real career. I think how we behave in the industry is really important and that we look after our teams; that goes for both men and women. Traditionally the family would be the reason why women wouldn’t work

every night and every weekend but we need to do more to get a better balance - for everybody in the industry. Why should a father not see his children either? However I do think we have come a long way but we need to be more accepting and lose the tough atmosphere. We’re behind other industries but, for instance, we have so many young women on front of house here and they’re brilliant. That’s the next generation now, we just need to make sure that there’s nothing to stop them coming through, because once they become restaurant managers and head chefs they are going to change everything - I’m excited to see that. Many would say that the problem with the hospitality industry is a skills shortage exacerbated by schools not understanding or promoting it as a viable career. That’s right and the hospitality

industry is huge, it’s one of Britain’s biggest and that’s not being articulated. It’s frustrating that it’s not recognised enough; there’s a huge skills shortage and this is an industry that grows faster than any other one in Britain. But the gastronomic scene is so exciting and it’s been so cool since we opened here - I’m standing in the kitchen myself doing this, it’s chef-owned - and we’ve been really supported by our industry and by the people of London. It’s great to see that you can open a business in hospitality and make it a success - it’s hugely positive for our industry. And it doesn’t need to be private-equity backed, people really appreciate getting in there and doing it themselves. It says a lot for London, there’s a demand for really good restaurants.

We’re talking before the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards are announced (on 19 June), so we don’t know yet about Core’s position on the list. In the meantime, what’s next? I feel like, we’ve opened, openings are tough, they’re horrible, you have to start fresh to train your team. I’d been at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay a long, long time, I’d been running it for eight years by the time I left - something that’s that long, there’s a training in the DNA, in the cogs … So coming out of there to start something new, that’s completely different. Most of the people had never worked with me before and I had to train them and that that doesn’t happen in five minutes. I’m really proud of them now. The team has matured a little bit - we’ve gone up a little gear - and we’re

The industry does, it seems, come together to support each other. I think in this business we’re a family. A lot of us grew up in kitchens together and worked together in top restaurants, but people get there on merit and if they deserve it, they deserve it. The industry really does support each other, both front and back of house. It’s not just about what’s new and being talked about. Look at Sally Clarke down the road, how many years has she been open? What a brilliant chef she is and how successful she is yet doesn’t get talked about … but I bet her restaurant is full every night! It’s great being in Notting Hill we’ve got Brett down the road, which is brilliant. Marianne not far away and it’s a great little neighbourhood. Even though they’re world class restaurants, it’s a neighbourhood feel. Sometimes it seems very quiet around here but every place is packed.

going to just keep going up through the gears now. It takes a long time to create a great restaurant, one that’s going to be around for a long time. You have to dig deep foundations, and I’m very aware of that. I want to be around in five, 10 years, 15 years’ time, I don’t want this to be a flash in the pan … and that’s going to take a lot of work. I’m really driven and really focused to make Core the best that it can be. That’s my passion, to really evolve this and be here… I don’t want to be anywhere else or doing anything else; there’s no Core 2 on the horizon.


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


He’s a legend in his own pie crust: Calum Franklin’s pastry work at Holborn Dining Room is all over Instagram. Not just snaps by happy diners who’ve just demolished a slab of beef en croute on “Welly Wednesday”, or a delicate veggie pithivier, but Franklin’s own photographs and videos which show the forensic detail with which he makes his pies. Franklin, 35, is classically trained and has been head chef at the restaurant within the

Rosewood London hotel for four years, overseeing a huge, elegant room which regularly serves 200 diners in a day. The menu is diverse, but it is the pies that have made Franklin famous, so famous that he and his team now make upwards of 100 a day. Earlier this year, the muchheralded Pie Room opened in a corner of the dining room. It has windows that open directly onto High Holborn and has made such a spectacle of

Tools of the trade In this regular feature, we take a look at the workspace of people who inspire us. Here, Calum Franklin, executive head chef of Holborn Dining Room, shows around his Pie Room. Photographs by Harriet Raper -24-

the pastry constructions that passers-by stop to gaze in. They can, of course, buy the pies too. It’s a symphony of wood and marble, with antique copper moulds glinting from every wall. High up are detailed drawings of cross-sections of the Rosewood’s pastry dishes. Here Franklin and his team roll and cut, shape and adorn their pies. The room – and the pies may look traditional but some very modern thinking has gone into what you see.

Harriet Raper


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

My core kit Scissors, a small paring knife, a pastry brush and a finishing brush, for painting. We’ve got about 30 of these in different sizes, from large to superfine – that’s for a miniature chimney. We use a lot of art tools. I go to a lot of art shops and blow my money! Then there’s a cranked tool which is for lifting small detailed pastry off the mat. That’s an antique silver ruler that I bought in Copenhagen - it was a gift to my sous chef. We try to use more and more stuff like that because it just suits the room, although it’s not just decorative. That ruler is an upgrade because I had these wooden ones before which are beautiful and fit the room… but they’re Paperchase! This next thing looks a bit Ann Summers but it’s quite a cool little trick, this one. If we’re doing a pie or a pâté en croûte and we’re making a lid, we cut it out beforehand, egg wash it a few times till it’s dry, then the final thing you do is roll that tool over the top and you’ll get that beautiful lattice shape on it. I use a wooden roller for the pastry. It’s super-important to have a really nice roller. The moulds Behind me is this antique box that I found in a market in Greenwich – it’s what I keep the tiny, very detailed cutters in. I have minute ducks, and a Victorian tomato jelly mould that I won’t ever use. The ivy leaf cutter links with the ivy growing outside. Every morning we sweep up the leaves that have drifted under the door – and we use that shape cutter on the veggie pies. The mould on my mat is by Matfer Bourgeat. They’re a French company – the oldest kitchen company in France, actually - and I’m the first British chef they’ve ever worked with… because they’re French! I’ve got an amazing relationship with them - I go to Paris and have meetings about things I want to do and they’ll go off and design them. For instance, there’s something that we do here, we cut an absolutely miniature lattice by hand and we have to stand in the walk-in fridge with a ruler and a tiny knife and cut at half centimetre increments all over a full sheet of pastry - we do that every day. In the world I promise you there is not a cutter that does that job, we definitely looked. When I first did it I could see all the senior chefs looking at me and at each other in

Books Some of these I bought for the chefs, some I brought in from home - I thought it would be nice to get a little library going for everyone, because I’m not one of those chefs who says I’ll cut myself off from everything - to say “everything is mine, no influences” is utter rubbish. I want my chefs to be influenced by everything walking down the street… The only thing I will enforce is if I say I want them to come up with a new pie, for the next week or fortnight I tell them not to look at Instagram, or search on it at least, because I want them to come up with something creative. So I might tell them to visit London Zoo, find some inspiration there instead, or go to a church, or go to a train station instead, and it works really well.

desperation, like “Is he serious? You know, we’re probably going to sell a hundred of these pies a day” and I was deadly serious that, yes, we are going to do it, because things like this separate you from the competition and push you forward. But I’ve asked them to design a tool that does that, because now I think we’re at a point where it’s in our interests, to help us move forward. The cutters These are just nice cutters to cut chimneys out with. We use one to cut holes in the pastry, then make a chimney with them. When we make a fluted pie or whatever, one of the things we focus on is the farce. It’s as important as what’s on the outside - so we emulsify the farce, we add water to the fat, and in doing that, in the cooking process it stays super-juicy, but that adds loads of complications. If you cook it at too high a temperature the water splits from the fat and you get these fountains spurting out the top, but also what it does mean is that you have more moisture, so if you don’t have the chimneys that fat needs to go somewhere so it will either burst a hole or split your tart … So if you have a chimney, your fat will roast and it will travel up the chimney as it cooks and as it cools down it will go back into the meat again to moisten it, and as it’s roasted meat fat, it’s beautiful. -26-

The marble counter This was the most important thing for us to build when we created the Pie Room - the dimensions were built on what I thought was right for us. When you go to a baker, they weigh out everything for their croissant dough dependent on the size of their table because they know exactly how wide they can roll things out and how many portions they will get and we did kind of the same process here - the space we would need to get four chefs around, the number of pies we’d be making. I’m really happy with that, and it stays nice and cool all year round. This room can be turned into a dining space and we had really beautiful chairs made that we bring in. For diners, you know your in a kitchen but at the same time it’s like the most beautiful home kitchen. There used to be a lot of pie rooms in Victorian times - we are losing that part of our history and so that that’s why I decided to build this room. This was the design I had in my head and actually this is how I pictured it from day one. One of the reasons we have the glass front here is because I want people to see the work that goes into all – in the restaurant unless we put the whole pie or wellington on a trolley, the diners only see a slice. Here they see it all, it’s important that people have that connection.


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Chris Stang knows where you should have dinner tonight.

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Do not, under any circumstances, call Chris Stang a foodie. He may be the co-creator of The Infatuation, America’s cult restaurant recommendation site, and an obsessive follower of everything food related, but he hates the term foodie. And nom, and delish, and quite a few others - of which more later. Stang started The Infatuation in 2009 in New York, having moved there from Denver and after spending years in the music business. “Music is a night-time sport,” he says now, “and my now-business partner Andrew Steinthal and I usually ended up having dinner before shows. I was often making a night of it, so throughout the early days of our careers we ended up out all the time, and getting to explore the restaurants of New York City. Eventually we became really knowledgable about them…” Cut to nearly 10 years later and The Infatuation is in 18 cities around the world with apps, a text service, food festivals in LA and New York and a huge Instagram following. Their hashtag, #eeeeeats has been tagged more than 11 million times. And earlier this year the pair bought the moribund 40-year-old restaurant-guide brand Zagat. So, going back to before the launch of The Infatuation, what did you use when you wanted to eat out? Zagat, for sure, and I was definitely a New York magazine reader, that was the way I really explored New York. This was the middle 2000s and at the time in the US and probably the UK and worldwide, but between food TV and the early days of social media – Facebook and Twitter – suddenly there’s been this huge change in the way people thought about restaurants and dining. There were so many new people wanting to explore restaurants – rather than eating being something that you did perhaps on your way to seeing a show, going to dinner became the thing that you did. What we were reacting to when we founded The Infatuation was feeling like there hadn’t been an appropriate

shift from the legacy players to help serve that audience of people who weren’t reading the classic reviews like the New York Times or even the New York magazine reviews. What we felt what was missing was a situational approach to the recommendations. I would find myself frustrated with reviews that were three sentences in the back of a magazine, two of the three would be about where the chef cooked before this restaurant. What I wanted to know was ‘is this place going to be good for a date?’ or ‘my buddy and I are going to go out, is it going to be lively and fun, rather than quiet and stuffy?’ There wasn’t a great resource that approached things with that in mind, and honestly, we just wanted to create something that was fun to read, and funny and a little bit irreverent and conversational - that felt like you were talking to a friend rather than highlevel food reviews. So with absolutely no credentials whatsoever we decided to start reviewing restaurants! So you’re like a bridge between the old-school professionals and user-generated reviews. I think we are a new breed of something… We try to write to be as relatable as possible - I joke to our writers: ‘You’re going to need to be a good writer, but the most important thing is that you’re a good talker, and you’re going to have to figure out how to write like you talk’. There’s a difference there… and there’s a difference too in the distribution method, the delivery and also the business model. We’re not even built like a traditional media company. We don’t even really care that much about people coming to our website on a daily basis. We want you to come to our website and use our app when you need something, rather than find ways to draw you back for the sake of hoping you interact with an advertisement – it’s about building trust. That’s the part that really starts to get different - we create content for each platform specifically for that platform. They serve different purposes - so we think about Instagram differently than we think about the web and we think about the web differently than we think about our apps and we think about events. How does the Zagat brand sit within your company now?


It’s an iconic 40-year-old brand and what’s interesting is when you talk to them [founders Tim and Nina Zagat] and you really look at what the mission of Zagat was and is, they were very focused on making sure that the reviews were short and that there was humour. The guides were printed in the manner so they could fit in your pocket – they were quite prescient in the way they were thinking about their product so that it was useful and that’s what we think about – let’s create content that has a purpose for people. There’s a real valid reason and desire for user-generated content, especially as it applies to reviews – when done right its very valuable because you really do get a swathe of people and hopefully a consensus about a place. The problem with user-generated content, especially in relation to the restaurant trade, is that I don’t think it’s been done all that well. Look at Yelp – you can find reviews of a dentist and a dry cleaner on Yelp … and restaurants… it’s not a specifically a community of knowledgable people who dine out a lot. Also other businesses are built on making money from the restaurants themselves, and that builds a bit of an upside-down incentive. All those things being said, when we really started thinking about taking the Zagat brand which has so much equity and is so well known and respected around the world… and starting to apply our expertise to really think about creating a usergenerated platform for the future that’s really specifically focused on restaurant discovery. We got really excited thinking about the Infatuation and Zagat together, so that you could eventually have an editorial point of view and a user-generated community views on a place and cross-reference them… We have a lot of work to do before we get there but… that’s the idea. It was an undeniable opportunity that we could take this iconic 40-yearold brand and pair it with our 10-yearold brand and hopefully one-plus-one equals a million! Your hashtag Eeeeeats – why does it have five Es? Why not?! One thing we’ve always been reacting to is ‘Why does this all have to be so serious?’ Dining is a passion, it’s a thing people do to get away from things that frustrate them or stress them out in life – there’s nothing better than when you’ve had a hard

week at work going to your local or going to a nice dinner or whatever it is. We knew that we needed a way to let our community identify themselves on the platform so that we could engage with them. We were thinking about a hashtag that could help us do that - and this was really before people were doing quote-unquote branded hashtags like 2012 or 13 – we certainly didn’t want to tell our people to hashtag their photographs “#instayum”!! And we also didn’t feel like people really would do it if it was #Infatuation – so we just kind came up with eats with five es because it’s kinda silly, like [deep voice] eeeeeats. If it was silly and fun enough, then people would use our hashtag on really bad food photos – it made it all a little less serious and a little less intimidating and just really helped us communicate our brand position on things, which is like “hey, this is supposed to be fun. Let’s have fun”. I’m not going to call you a foodie. I know how much you hate that word because I read your list of banned words. Oh god, it’s a constantly growing list – we joke that we are going to run out of words. I mean, ‘influencer’, I hate that word. And I hate ‘millennial’. Our audience is largely what you would call the M-word but I believe that when people are using that word, what they are actually describing is a set of habits rather than an age group. The core audience when we started was ‘millennial’, or young professionals, but now we have grown so much that our demographic is really you know reached both the older and younger than the millennial bracket. For example in New York, we’d do these guides like ‘where to have dinner with your parents’ and then we’d get people responding to us to say ‘I love this guide but I’m 71!’ So that’s like ‘cool, where do you have dinner with your kids?!’ We get really excited about a 71-year-old and a 19-year-old both responding to the content – and both seem to understand and connect to what we are trying to communicate. That is all we are trying to do.

You’ve recently run an eeeeeatscon festival in LA, and a NYC one is planned for autumn. What about London? We’re all the same, we all want the same things, we all find pleasure in the same things – so there would be tweaks here, obviously, culturally, but you know the fact that eeeeeatscon works in LA means it’ll work in New York, and it’ll definitely work in London. It could happen as early as next year, but we’ll see. It’s really easy to find video of Danny Meyer doing a talk somewhere but it can be really hard to hear some of the people who aren’t famous but have amazing stories, that’s how we wanted to program eeeeeatscon like that, much in the ways that you do with CODE. We just wanted to give those people a voice - if you’re somebody who’s passionate about the space of restaurants and dining but you are not a chef, how do you connect with other people, and how do you network so you can pursue a career in that? There’s not really a place to do that in the States right now - but if you don’t care about any of that and you just want to eat and drink and hang out of with your friends you can do that too… Let’s talk about London, where The Infatuation has a relatively new office. It takes a really long time to create high-quality content at a level that really creates a whole picture of a city - we are a year old in London now and we are just getting started. I think we’ve written about 300 reviews and about 100 guides. Look at the map of London - and we’ve got a lot of gaps to fill in! Just the pure geographic spread of the city is massive – it’s very, very similar to Los Angeles and we’ve been operating in LA for three years and we’re just now feeling now like ‘OK we have a good coverage and really big audience there’, it just takes time. I’ve been to London about 16 times in the last 20 months - one thing that I adore is pub culture, because we just don’t have that in New York. It’s my favourite part of the UK just

generally – there are so many great pubs from the proper boozers to the new gastropubs. I love the Harwood Arms – that place blew my mind, I love the Marksman – that was one the first places I went when we first started exploring a business venture in London. I really love Gunpowder in Shoreditch, the Palomar, because there are so few late-night places. I always tell people that if you just want to be absolutely certain that you are in London, have breakfast in the Wolseley. I’ve never felt more ‘English’ than sitting there having some tea and a full English in the morning! P Franco is a place I love, and Oklava in Shoreditch, which is really interesting. I love Xi’an Impression up by the Arsenal stadium – its mind blowing, so, so, so good. That’s what’s so exciting to me about the London restaurant scene which we don’t have as much in New York anymore, in that you really do get the highbrow and the low end and everything in between – everything from super-casual to super-high-end and you have incredible things all along the spectrum. A similar thing is happening in LA to London –where there’s still nooks and crannies and neighbourhoods that aren’t so over-developed that they are too expensive to start a restaurant. In New York it’s so expensive that it’s ruined – the barrier for entry is so high that we lose out on a lot of things. P Franco would be hard to pull off in New York City anywhere because it’s just so expensive. You guys are lucky.


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

“I hate that word ‘millennial’. When people use it, what they are actually describing is a set of habits rather than an age group”


Each season, publisher Adam Hyman and editor Lisa Markwell make it their business to check out new restaurants and old favourites. These are the places that fuelled this edition of CODE Quarterly


Head to head In each edition we ask two industry figures to face off on a subject exercising the food world. This season we ask two chefs (who previously worked together) why they have such different approaches to music in restaurants


Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Lee Tiernan of Black Axe Mangal When you enter the dining room at St John you’re met with a hum and throb of satisfied diners tucking in to lunch or supper. That rich cacophony is the perfect soundtrack for a dining room, sounds that can only be created by human beings conversing and enjoying themselves. St John is not a quiet restaurant. It’s the original OG, unique in so many ways. But there aren’t many places that can create that kind of buzz in a room. I worked for Fergus and Trevor at St John for more than a decade. In 2017 Black Axe Mangal was the first kitchen invited to cook at St John in their 23-year history - the pinnacle of my career to date. Knowing Fergus’s stance on the subject, my first thought was “what the fuck are we going to do about music?” We agreed a happy compromise that music would be played in the bar but be audible in the dining room. The first - and maybe last - time diners enjoyed listening to a mix of Skid Row, Skepta and Slayer during a meal at St John restaurant. There is nothing worse than a quiet dining room in my opinion. Especially if it’s full of people eating. WTF? It sucks. How does that even happen? What kind of warped chemistry is going on here? I find myself negotiating conversations differently, not being myself, trying not to swear or blaspheme and spend most of the meal tense, wondering if I’m having a good time or not. It’s just dry. Don’t get me wrong. Restaurants that play music at a barely audible level I find equally as uncomfortable. What’s the point? Anyway. You’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the actual point. Why do I play music in my restaurant? And why is it so loud etc? Why do I think music benefits restaurants? Music had become a dominant feature and integral to the make-up of BAM. When we started, as a popup in Bakken nightclub Copenhagen I didn’t think anyone would show up and wanted to fill the space with something. Music occupied that space nicely and I believed would protect

me and keep me company while enduring the humiliation of staring into an empty courtyard serving no food to no customers. More than 250 people turned up on our first night, which was petrifying. The music became a shield for me to hide behind - a wall of thrash and heavy metal. I became dependent on the music to combat my anxiety. The busier we were, the louder and heavier the music became, fusing the music and food together like leather and lace for ever more. On our last night in Copenhagen people were moshing in front of the counter waiting to be fed. By the time it came to open in London it made no sense to drop the music or the volume, nor did we want to. The volume and the type of music played at BAM appeals to a small percentage of diners. I learned to use music along with other totems I have gathered and display at BAM as tools employed to repel types of diners I have no interest in feeding or entertaining. No apologies. Most nights we have people hand us their coats, sit down, have a look at the menu, take in the atmosphere and promptly ask for their coats back, get up and leave. I respect that. They understand that BAM isn’t for them, rather than persevering and having a shit night. They feel like I do when I eat at a place devoid of atmosphere described above. I’m content for fewer people to come to BAM rather than vanilla-ise ourselves, sacrificing our integrity and sprit. I don’t think we are alone in this attitude.


Music strips away formality. Music charges our restaurant with energy. I want diners to feel that energy and vibe when they walk in and feed off that as well as the food and drink. Like going into a bar that’s pumping, its gives me higher sense of anticipation and we do our best to match that expectation with the food, drink and service. The people that get it really get it and come back. The people that don’t don’t come back or hopefully have heard enough and won’t come at all. Not everyone gets everything, I don’t pretend to get everything. I know what I like, though. I like listening to loud music while I cook. If you like hearing loud music while you eat, you might like BAM or a number of other restaurants that share the same policy. If not, don’t come to our type of restaurant and ask us to change ourselves to suit you … go somewhere else.

“I HATE MUSIC” Fergus Henderson of St John At St. JOHN we famously have three rules of the dining room: No Art. No Music. No mobile phones. But why? Can it be because I hate conviviality and creativity? No indeed – it is the very opposite. Allow me to explain by way of a couple of cautionary tales. Some years ago I was in Budapest with a chef of mine. On our first night we dined at a restaurant which had been recommended to us as a true expression of the area, serving great slabs of foie gras and roasted goose. A violinist spied us sitting at the table, this romantic pair of colleagues, and descended upon us playing furiously. We were there to do what one does at a restaurant – to have supper. But in the ensuing battle of wills our protestations were in vain. And this is not the only way in which music interferes with your dinner: at the grand and now-shuttered Jardin des Senses in Montpelier they played the weirdest jazz, plink-plink-plonk, making your lunch plink-plonk inside you in unwelcome sympathy. Like large menus with gold tassels and red velvet banquettes, music is used


Instead, the air is filled with noises from the kitchen and the very tables hum with a shimmer of anticipation. From the initial electric hum to the gradual crescendo of talking, clinking and chomping, music flattens that glorious arc. I will leave you with another tale. I once spent an entire afternoon lunching at the music-less Le Rubis in Paris where first a pair sat at an adjacent table: a Maigret-type figure taking his beautiful secretary for lunch to celebrate the solving of a crime. Then a couple of art dealers began speaking ostentatious English to each other, knowing that they were being overheard and proud to show off their impeccable grasp of the language. A man sat down exclaiming that it is a disaster to drink Beaujolais in Paris as it travels so badly – Bordeaux is the only thing. He was replaced by a man who opined that Beaujolais is the only thing to drink, being so delightfully young. And all the while, at the bar, a gentleman suffered interesting cross-linguistic Tourette’s, as he periodically burst out “Bugger! Bugger!”. What memories I would never have, had there been music playing.

For music lovers, head to our Spotify account (CODE Hospitality) to check out our restaurant playlists

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

as a crutch. It does not enhance the eating experience; in fact, it takes away. It numbs all the good noises, the chomping of chops, the glugging of wine… the happy sound of the dining room is a beautiful thing! There is a particular phobia that people have of a dining room which is anywhere on the scale between empty and half full. Having been plugged in to something all day – computer, telephone, headphones – a restaurant early in service feels terrifyingly intimate. Restaurateurs turn to music to reassure, but this is a mistake! Perhaps you have experienced the peculiar phenomenon whereby music is turned on as soon as the first diner enters, rather as though the customer and the manager are teenagers in the awkward silence of a new crush: “Have you heard the new Bay City Rollers”? Later in the evening, voices create the festive feel and the Richter scale of happy noise rises. This is a perfect position and certainly not the moment to whack on Ace of Spades, which simultaneously makes talking impossible and means that you are listening to the mere memory of the music, filtered through the sounds of the kitchen and the service. But how do you smooth the terror of an empty restaurant? Ronnie Di Stasio, famed Melbourne restaurateur and a man full of theories, says that there should always be a waiter at the start of the service polishing glasses. It adds comforting activity to a quiet room, but an activity that can be abandoned at any time to tend to the now-reassured guests. This is certainly a more useful way of spacefilling than changing CDs. Better still than the glass-polishing method is a theory of my own: we should encourage restaurant-goers to tune in to the exciting arc of an evening. That first moment when the doors open is not one of intimidating silence at all.


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If the shoe fits Everyone has favourite bits of kit that they like to use – anything from a knife to a pen. In the first of a new series, Chloë Hamilton asks people in the restaurant industry about their favourite footwear. Photographs by Harriet Raper

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With so many Big Things happening in hospitality – the fundraises, the launches, the CVAs and social media spats – it doesn’t leave much airtime to talk about the smaller things. So CODE turned its gaze downward, and asked chefs, restaurateurs and front of house stars about their choice of footwear. Given the industry spends more time on its feet more than any other, it’s far more than an afterthought. The days of black court shoes for front of house or black plastic Crocs in the kitchen are behind us – it turns out what you wear on your feet can say more than you’d think. But who do these shoes belong to?

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Linda Lee

Linda Lee, Korean restaurateur and owner of On The Bab, KOBA, Mee Market and On The Dak, counts collecting cool trainers amongst her hobbies. The day we meet she’s wearing a pair of sell-out Triple S Balenciaga sneakers in pink and white. Though to an undiscerning eye they could look like an outsized pair of gym trainers, to others their swollen shapes and slabs of colour make them a work of art; they’ll also set you back at least £600. “They give you everything,” says Linda, “comfort, style and they’re strong. The only bad thing is they’re expensive”. “But I work between all my sites and then have meetings. And I’ll sometimes go into Mayfair after


lunch – I can’t be changing my shoes all the time,” she reasons. And how many pairs of trainers are there in total? “Do you mean just the sneakers and slip-on trainers? Just the work shoes? Maybe you’ll think I’m crazy.” There’s a long pause. “Maybe 20 or 30 pairs?” I wonder what happens when they reach the end of their lifecycle, does she throw them away? She looks confused. “I always keep them pristine. One of my hobbies is cleaning them. You know toothpaste is very helpful for cleaning the rubber bit at the bottom”. I ask if there’s a particular brand, but she says, “I use whatever I have in. Just normal toothpaste is fine”.

Jason Atherton

and they ended up in hospital. Worse, still, was that Atherton’s Birkenstocks completely melted and he ended up having to have a skin graft from his leg. “It was horrendous. They literally just dissolved. So I’ve never worn them since.” These days he only wears “proper shoes”, by which he means an enviable collection of Corthay’s, Gaziano & Girling’s and Berluti’s, most of which slip into a four-figure price bracket. I wonder how they fare in a hazardous kitchen environment. “I have a system,” he says. “I buy shoes and then I wear them when I go out. And once I feel like I’ve worn them enough and I’ll be able to get some new shoes, they then go onto the rack for the kitchen.”


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Standing outside his Pollen Street Social restaurant, chef Jason Atherton cuts a sharp image in his custom chef whites and well-tailored trousers, a pair of Berluti loafers on his feet. The outfit is not just for the shoot, this is his everyday uniform: “It works for the kitchen, for meetings at the bank and for coming out and talking to guests. If you look smart, it makes people feel good”. Atherton used to wear Birkenstocks before having a serious accident in the kitchen. “Ben Tish and I used to work together years ago and one time we were carrying a massive pot of reduced veal stock. We put it on the stove and Ben had used his apron to hold his side, but as he walked off his apron stayed wrapped around the handle...” The stock severely burned both chefs

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Emma Underwood

Everything is still very fresh upon meeting Emma Underwood outside Stem, including the paintwork. It’s only been open for three weeks and the young restaurant manager is still adjusting to the change of style from her previous gig in Stockport. “It’s the complete opposite,” she says. “At Where the Light gets in it’s very anti-formality. I’ve picked up these little habits and now people are like, ‘Emma, you know you’re supposed to serve the ladies first?’” “I’d usually wear trainers, actually, but this is the first restaurant I haven’t been allowed to wear them. I worked for Gary Usher’s restaurants before that for five years and most people wore trainers or Birkenstocks. I


had my own custom-made Nike Janoski’s in grey suede. I dropped chocolate on them the first day I got them.” Today Emma is sporting a pair of black patent platform brogues. “You can’t have shoes with a really flat sole. I used to wear Nikes because of the bubbles in the soles, and Birkenstock mould to your feet, so these have got a little platform. I get quite bad back problems from being on my feet all the time - I’ve got really short hamstrings apparently - so these help. Sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it?” “I’d recommend Clarks. I wanted some from Russell & Bromley but I’ve just moved to London and can’t afford it yet. But I think they’re worth it.”

Yevgeny Chichvarkin

a bright yellow pair, one of the more expensive in his collection, costing around £1,500. Back in Russia, where Chichvarkin hasn’t been able to return for nine years, it’s ever pricier. “You can be very experimental and loud about your shoes in Russia but it’s more expensive because of the taxes. It was Soviet law to protect the industry and the tax was at 43 per cent.” Why are shoes so important to him? “Because in the restaurant in the evening I’m not comfortable to wear my normal clothes; it’s not a fine dining look.” (His taste in bright colours and outlandish design very much extends to the rest of his wardrobe.) “And really the shoes... The only thing that’s always with me is my shoes.”


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How does Yevgeny Chichvarkin choose his shoes in the morning? “It depends on my mood. It’s a very emotional decision. Sometimes I know, sometimes it’s quite spontaneous.” The Russian entrepreneur who owns Hedonism Wines (“The best wine shop in the world”, he says) and has just opened the Piccadilly restaurant Hide with Ollie Dabbous, owns approximately 60 pairs of shoes, which he keeps safely stored in a shoe wardrobe. “My partner Tatiana also has a shoe wardrobe, but hers are black, black, black… and my ones are all different colours, not one of them black.” One of his preferred brands is ultra-niche Austrian designer Carol Christian Poell. Today he is wearing

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Damian Clisby

“If I didn’t have to wear shoes, I wouldn’t wear shoes,” says Damian Clisby. “When I used to go to Wilderness I would walk around barefoot for four days. It’s one of the most invigorating things in the world, isn’t it?” Clisby is chef director of Petersham Nurseries in Richmond and Covent Garden. He was drawn into the restaurant world by his grandfather, who in his youth was a butcher at Smithfield and later owned a farm in County Limerick. “He’d talk to his chickens and milk the cows. He was the one that got me into it.” His grandfather also had some words of wisdom about judging certain things in life. “He’d say: ‘You judge a restaurant by its soup and its toilets. And you judge a gentleman by his handshake and the shoes he wears’”. Clisby has just bought a nice pair of brogues from Cheaney & Sons, which he might sport for a work event but would never wear in the kitchen. “They would just get covered in grease,” he says. He wears Birkenstocks,

which he considers pretty much an ideal chef shoe as it allows the feet to breathe - though he would make them more sturdy if he could. “You should have asked my partner about this stuff,” he says. “She works for [Vivienne] Westwood and has about 400 pairs. One day she brought home some orange plastic Westwood shoes and said, ‘I think these would be fantastic for you darling’ and I just said, ‘no thanks’”.

Service, please The restaurant scene has changed immeasurably in the last decade, with diverse ways into the business and all manner of working practices. But with less formality, are we losing something, asks Adam Hyman There are two questions that, as a customer, you’re probably quite used to hearing in a restaurant. Do you have a reservation and how is everything? Yet, for me, both of these are the hospitality equivalent of nails down a blackboard. On the face of things, you may ask why. “Do you have a reservation?” seems like an obvious question for a host, receptionist or maitre d’ to ask when you arrive at a restaurant. But let’s take it a back a step. You walk into a restaurant, a simple, “hello, how are you?” along with a welcoming smile wouldn’t go amiss first. The second, and by far the more infuriating, is the server check back that goes along the lines of, “how is everything?” It may seem the most pertinent choice of question to ask a diner but in fact it is a pointless, opened-ended question. Anyone from the Corbin & King school knows all it requires is a simple, “is there anything else I can get?” when checking on diners. Two conversations of late got me thinking about this and the London restaurant industry. Those of us working in it – along with customers – cannot deny that there has been a revolution in the industry over the past decade. Not only what we eat and drink has changed – sharing plates, poké bowls and oat milk in our flat whites – but the way we eat has also changed. Restaurants like POLPO and Dishoom have made queuing for our supper the norm and lengthy meals in hushed dining rooms with stuffy service have been replaced with the informal option of dining

at counters, communal tables and the recent rise in popularity of even being able to do this on your own sofa, thanks to Deliveroo. But with huge growth in the restaurant industry come challenges - most notably staffing and service. One of the aforementioned conversations occurred at a recent industry drinks party where someone mentioned that the norm in this country is to experience poor customer service – anything better is often a welcome surprise. Of course, it should not be like this. Yet I’m always aware that it’s not the individual in question’s fault – the majority of time it comes down to management, training and attitude. With the swathe of openings in the capital, it’s no surprise that a lot of the new restaurant and bars are being led by young restaurateurs and chefs keen to make their mark on the London food scene. But that presents a dilemma. Who’s training the people that are now working in these restaurants and how are they being trained? I’ve always been fascinated by the history of restaurants, especially when it comes to the people involved. What drew me into this industry was the people. Food can be flawless - but if the service is not on point, it can ruin a meal. Memorable meals are often just that because you’ve been made to feel special by the restaurant while breaking bread. I remember finding myself on the terrace at the Groucho Club a while back. I was surrounded by some of the best maitre d’s in London. We chatted

for hours about the industry and the people involved in it. The one thing everyone had in common in this conversation was that they’d all worked for some of the finest restaurateurs in the industry, including Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, during their careers. It struck me that this group of individuals are a somewhat dying breed – apart from the odd establishment, restaurants are not run like this anymore and people are not trained in this way. Very few dining rooms are properly orchestrated in the ways they used to be. The skill of seating a dining room – juggling tables for regulars, making sure certain advertising CEOs are not seated near each other and keeping a room from being a boring throng of suits is a dying skill. Much like a Savile Row tailor – it’s been replaced by the more affordable high street option. Speaking to Matt Hobbs, now managing director of the Groucho Club in Soho, he recalled his time at the Ivy in the 90s. “The internet hadn’t gripped everything like it does now. The result was there was a one hundred percent emphasis on personal relationships. Customers and staff knew each other and especially the maitre d’ team were aware of customers lives and careers. Now it’s far more transient in the wider industry and most contact with the restaurant is online.” It’s so often the finer details that make dining out enjoyable. Being offered a copy of the Standard to keep you company when you’re the first to get to your table for dinner


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“When the server check-back goes along the lines of ‘how is everything?’, it may seem pertinent, but is in fact a pointless, open-ended question”


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or being led to a favourite table. Restaurant consultant Seb Fogg, who has worked at restaurants such as The Delaunay and the Monkey Bar in New York, also recalls his time at the Ivy. “It was whilst attending the waiter briefing at 11.30am during my trial shift I realised what sort of place the Ivy was. I looked around at the seasoned waiters surrounding me - they were writing their notes on their order pads. As the briefing ensued, virtually every table had a name assigned to it and who they were. Tables 6, 16, 11, 21 and 24 were the power tables – all the corners of the dining room. Tables 1-5 were the first row on the left hand side as you entered. Table 7 was a favourite as you often sat in between Melvyn Bragg and Harold Pinter. 20, another table, sat in between the top 2, frequented every Friday at 2pm by one of the great television producers and his friend the advertising behemoth following their AA meeting.” A chef who appreciates the power of front of house, their importance and respects a maitre d’ who knows their room is Mark Hix. “In my younger days overseeing Le Caprice and the Ivy, they bred some amazing talent under the Corbin and King regime. Those restaurants taught not only finesse, but how to cope and understand volume, while still

retaining our loyal regular customers. Hix goes on to explain the important lesson he gained while heading up those kitchens. “I learnt it’s all about what the customer wants and not what the kitchen think they want. It’s about serving simple food so they can focus on the conversation in hand.” We’ve all experienced being on the end of bad service – when a server doesn’t know their menu inside out or the daily specials. Arno Rossman’s staff briefings at Keith McNally’s Minetta Tavern in New York were legendary. He’d spend close to 45 minutes explaining to his team about the ingredients in dishes, getting everyone to taste – to live and breathe the service that they were about to commence on. No one table is ever the same – some want more attention than others. Certain guests want a rapport – to be made to feel special. “The usual, Mr…” and there’s a skill in knowing how to read a table. Do they want to engage in conversation or do they simply want to place their order and be left in peace. Hobbs goes on to say that, “it sounds crazy but talk to people. If a customer has called to complain from the day before – call them up and find out what happened.” One of Hobbs’s most powerful tools he still likes to deploy is asking the chef to come and talk to the table if

there’s a problem with the food. “It always creates a positive outcome.” It’s a reminder that the kitchen and front of house must work together – they support one another. A small hiccup in the kitchen that can easily spiral out of control can be saved by a diligent front of house. At the annual Welcome Conference a couple of years ago, Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park discussed the importance of being present when working front of house., He recalled a time when he was trying his best to make sure all his tables were happy – looking across the room to table 12 to see that the host’s wine glass was running low, table 17 had a stray napkin on the floor but when he in fact should have been giving his full attention to the table he was serving and taking their order. The beauty of offering genuine hospitality is that it’s not a science, it’s an art. However, this makes it far more difficult to teach.


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“Staff briefings at one New York restaurant were legendary. The GM spent close to 45 minutes getting the team to live and breathe the service they were about to commence on”

Home-grown bubbles English sparkling wine is one of those rare, new and exciting categories that’s not only producing standout wines, but is capturing the imagination of the trade and consumers alike. Elona Hesseling looks at how English sparkling is winning hearts and minds.

The picture of England as a wineproducing country seemed pretty dreary a mere 10 years ago. A wine that used to be considered somewhere between odd and exotic, is now becoming a must-list style with its signature elegance and freshness. While the trade has increasingly started to pay attention to English wine in recent years, we are finally seeing wine drinkers joining in the revolution. With growing support for locallyproduced food, it’s only natural that the same is happening with drinks – first beer and spirits, and now, wine. Add to that the increasingly ideal growing conditions and continued producer investment, it’s no surprise English sparkling wine can rival the world’s best bubbles. Yes, even Champagne. Once considered too extreme, England’s climate has become wellsuited for sparkling wine production due to climate change. In addition, the soils are ideally chalky – in fact, there’s little difference between the chalk soil found in Champagne and that of England’s Downs. However, being at the northern latitudinal limits for producing wine, English growers face their fair share of challenges. Frost is a big concern during flowering and ripening, and producers often have to go to extremes to protect their vines and crop. Unpredictable rain can cause further headaches, while cool temperatures can hamper ripening, leading to lower yields and raised acidity levels.

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Sparkling success

There’s no denying the quality of English sparkling wine and sales are growing at double-digit figures. Producers are regularly winning prestigious awards and gaining international acclaim, even standing up to Champagne in blind tastings. In April 2016, a team from Britain’s WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association) travelled across the Channel to challenge some of

France’s most influential figures in the food and wine industry to a blind tasting. The panel concluded that the English sparkling wine was better in two out of three categories, drawing equal with Champagne in the third. According to the WSTA’s Rebekah Kendrick, this is only the beginning. “There’s a huge amount of potential still to come from the English wine industry: more planting of vines, more investment, more innovation, more awards, and more ambition. The total area under vine has more than doubled since 2009 and we are on track to produce over 10 million bottles by 2020.” Joseph Arthur, Bibendum fine wine business development executive, says, “There are clear signs of organic growth, after years of hard work from producers at cellar door and in the trade. We now have customers asking for English wine, where previously it was all about getting the word out to them. This is a very significant change.” One of the things that makes English wine even more unique is the tourism element – with vineyards and wineries literally on our doorstep. It’s never been easier to hop in the car or train to visit one of these vineyards for a tasting, tour or even lunch.

“The market is ready for a change. English sparkling is a great, traditional-method alternative to Champagne. Premium, top-end markets have already started to put a big focus on listing top-quality English sparkling wines from amazing producers with passion and spectacular winegrowing ability.”

Our favourite English sparkling wine producers: Coates & Seely Ridgeview Greyfriars For more on these wines and producers, visit the Bibendum Wine website at or get in touch on 0845 263 6924.

Can English sparkling wine take on Champagne? While this category remains rather niche on the world scene, and even locally – with English wine constituting less than 1% of wine sold in the UK – it is changing. Tamas Toth, Bibendum business development manager and exwine buyer at St Martins Lane Hotel, believes that more and more people are willing to try English sparkling instead of Champagne or Cava. “Champagne is becoming an extremely expensive joy and consumers have identified this already. Commercially speaking, English sparkling wine is a bettervalue option. And it’s made locally, making it a win-win situation!


in collaboration with CODE Hospitality

“With growing support for locallyproduced food, it’s only natural that the same is happening with drinks – first beer and spirits, and now, wine.”


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Clockwise from top left: Ridgeview’s Chardonnay vineyard; Ridgeview head winemaker and director, Simon Roberts; Concrete eggs at Coates & Seely

Photographed by Katie Hammond; Styled by Nu Valado

On the shelf

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


by Leah Hyslop A love letter to London’s food culture featuring recipes from the capital including smoked eel toasties, Chelsea buns and East End bagels. There’s also a useful chapter dedicated to London’s (limited) late-night scene and useful guides for cheese lovers, Chinatown and the big smoke’s best bars and pubs. And Hyslop’s exhaustive research really pays off; this is a great read too. £26, Absolute Press

2. FINDING FIRE: COOKING AT ITS MOST ELEMENTAL Chef Lennox Hastie’s got pretty strong form on cooking over an open flame: he worked at Asador Extebarri before opening Firedoor in Sydney. Now he’s written a book with stunning photographs, the history and culture of flame cooking, tips for starting and maintaining a fire, techniques for cooking, and more than 80 recipes that are cool and creative. Caviar on the fire, anyone? £30, Hardie Grant


by Max Halley & Ben Benton

CODE has been a fan of front of house supremo Max Halley from his days at Opera Tavern and LeCoq. Since he’s opened his eponymous sandwich shop in Crouch End, Halley has become the sandwich king and has concocted some funky fillings that make those soggy triangles in cardboard boxes look positively vile. From the bhaji smuggler to the humble sausage and egg muffin, Max has it covered, plus some brilliant recipes for the condiments and extras that make a sandwich supreme.


If you’re looking for the optimum cheffy desserts, Goldfarb’s your man. He was a pastry chef at elBulli, just part of a 20-year-career odyssey around the world, and features in the latest series of Chef ’s Table on Netflix. The names of his recipes are gnomic – like Day at the Beach, or 10 Years of Solitude – the techniques highly technical, and it’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s a fascinating title.

Peter Gordon is a hospitality legend: the first chef in London to ‘do’ fusion, and trailblazer of restaurants in Notting Hill, then Marylebone. This book was first published in 2012 and it’s great to see it appear again, as its clever, delicious recipes are for dishes that we all truly want to eat. His warm tone of voice and quiet authority just prove what in inspiration he has been.

Alive, Hot, Blush, Barb, Frost – these are the five seasons of jam, according to Lillie O’Brien. And she should know, she runs the London Borough of Jam and is well-known for her stunning preserves (as well as pickles, syrups and more). Beautiful imagery and highly imaginative recipes make this an absolute treat.

by Peter Gordon

£39.95, Phaidon





by Will Goldfarb

by Lennox Hastie



4. 7.




Robin Gill’s debut cookbook follows in the vein of his string of wildly successful restaurants, that is, genuine down-toearth cooking. Whether it’s pickled peaches, nori oil or a rabbit feast - Larder offers recipes from every corner of the kitchen and demystifies how dishes come to fruition. Larder is a detailed encyclopaedia for envious fellow chefs and avid home-cooks alike.

It’s aperitivo time thanks to drinks writer Kate Hawkings. This drinks book looks beyond the obvious cocktail recipes and focuses on the much-loved aperitif from Campari to raki. It features 30 recipes that includes Bar Termini’s Marsala martini and one for a classic gin & tonic – and elegant essays on the different spirits too.

by Robin Gill

£20, Kyle Books

£22, Jacqui Small



by Lillie O’Brien

by Kate Hawkings

£16.99, Quadrille

£26, Absolute Press


Thom Eagle’s own website describes him as “author, fermenter, chef at Littleduck the Picklery. Monster Munch fan”, so you know you can expect lots of light and shade from his first book. First, Catch is highly unusual – no pictures, no recipes, just a thoughtful, idiosyncratic, entertaining series of chapters on the what, why and how of making seasonal ingredients really sing. A book for the bedside table, or sunlounger, rather than kitchen. £16.99, Quadrille

£14.99, 535 -48-

10. KRICKET by Will Bowlby

Growing up wanting to be a chef and working with Rowley Leigh at Le Café Anglais, Bowlby then found himself cooking in India before returning to London and opening Kricket. The recipes in the book draw inspiration from all over India and are an education in the spicing of Indian food. The crispy Keralan fried chicken is a must. £26, Hardie Grant Books

Hold my calls In an age of permanently connected, always contactable people, how could you possibly run a successful business without a mobile phone? It’s not only possible, says Michael West, it’s preferable. West is the executive general manager of The Social Company, running the global operations of Jason Atherton’s restaurants. He has worked with Atherton since they established Maze in 2005; before that he worked with Gordon Ramsay. West oversees the 16 restaurants in the portfolio, of which eight are in London, and spends time at each site as part of his role. He has never had, nor never will have, he says, a mobile phone. Here he explains why he takes that unusual stance and how he makes it work

“I’ve always hated mobile phones. It’s my opinion that it was the most unsociable thing we have invented in our lifetime. I see people out at dinner with their phones on the table, taking pictures of everything, and then complaining that the food is cold! Everything about the mobile phone is self and nothing about a group of people having a nice conversation together. I’ve always said to myself I never want to be that person, I never want to have one. Why can’t people even switch their phones off for an hour and half while they’re round a table having dinner? So I’m asked, “How can you run a business?” Well, it’s very simple – every single restaurant I’m in has a phone, and there’s a computer too. I have offices in different places so I have access to my emails, 20, 30 times a day if I need to. Our executive team submits a

rota to head office, so at any time of the day so they know where I’m going to be, and if they want to contact me, they can – you don’t need a mobile phone in order to contact me. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone walking round the floor of a restaurant with a mobile phone in their hand. The chefs drive me nuts on the pass, always on their mobile phones and the guests can see that. Ten years ago that wasn’t acceptable, but I guess it’s just part of modern day society. What has evolved is the whole idea of the mobile phone being a really negative thing – it’s less about communication, and more about the self. And sadly I think it’s too late to get past that. The world’s changed and we have to accept it … but I don’t have to go along with it. I eat out all the time, it’s very important to see what everyone else

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


is doing, but I don’t need to take photos of everything to remember what I’ve eaten. If anything, I take the menu away. Plus, of course, everyone else takes pictures so if I want to see something, I go online and find everything I want! I spend a lot of time at Pollen Street Social, I have an office here. Obviously, I have a general manager in every single restaurant, so I try to get around the other restaurants at least once a week. Everyone knows where I’m going to be for lunch and dinner – and in between lunch and dinner I’m either with Jason or in meetings or… I don’t want to be disturbed! Do I ever miss anything that needs dealing with? No, because everyone else has got a mobile phone – if I need to get hold of someone, I just call them. It is true that there was once an emergency and Jason couldn’t get in touch with me – and he was very

cross about it. He was in New York or somewhere and I was in London, so he instructed his PA to go out and buy a mobile phone for me. I got called to the office and Jason’s PA said to me ‘Mike, Jason says you’ve got to have this’ and she put the mobile phone on the table. And I said ‘well I’m not having it’ and she said ‘yes but you have to have it, Jason says you have to have it’ and I said ‘well I’m not, send it back because you’re going to waste your money’ and she said ‘I can’t send it back, Jason won’t have it’ and I said ‘well I’ll speak to Jason when he gets back but I’m not taking it so I suggest you send it back before the contract starts’. And it went back. We laugh about that now. Then again, I’m not distracted all the time. With a mobile phone, you can lose concentration in the middle of service because you get a beep in your pocket or vibration or whatever it is you have. Sometimes I’ll pop across the road to Little Social to see what’s going on and I’ll see someone outside on their mobile phone in the middle of service. I pick them up on it. Sometimes I confiscate somebody’s phone for a couple of days - that drives them really mad. It teaches them a lesson though! There is a downside for the business as well, which is sometimes

that regular guests ask me for my mobile number and they don’t believe I haven’t got one; they just think I don’t want to give it to them. They can’t comprehend how I’ve not got one. What I call my mobile phone is my seven-year-old leather address book – I bought it on the day we opened Pollen Street Social. It stays here and is always charged, whenever I need it! Even if I go away I check my emails twice a day. I need to know what’s going on with the business and it doesn’t matter where I am, I’m always contactable if someone needs me. Emails are a lot of work but to be honest but if someone sends me an email which requires a response, a lot of the time I’ll just pick up the phone and call them. It’s not that I’m phone phobic, that’s not the issue. The issue is people’s behaviour with those horrible little devices. I’ll be just walking down the street and all of a sudden they’ll just stop right in front of me and I walk into them – and they’re like “What are you doing?” What do you mean, what am “I” doing?! They’re an addiction, aren’t they? That’s what they are. The moment a phone goes off, everyone grabs theirs, an addictive thing like smoking or drinking and if you want to quit you can, but you really have

“I’m not distracted all the time. With a mobile phone, you can lose concentration in the middle of service because you get a beep or a buzz in your pocket”


“There is a downside for the business – which is that sometimes regular guests ask me for my mobile number and they just can’t comprehend that I haven’t got one” to put your mind to it. I would say you have to want to do it, not just say you want to - and go for it - but I can’t see there’s anyone that would do that. I don’t know anyone strongwilled enough; they say “I can’t do without it” but they can, of course they can. There is a big positive for Jason out of this, because I’m unemployable. Nobody else would employ me without a mobile phone. I know it’s true because after I’d been with Gordon for 10 years I went on a few interviews, just to keep my eye on the ball and see what’s going on. It was at a time at the Mandarin

Oriental when the restaurant was looking for a GM, so I went to the interview. I met the HR director first, filled in loads of forms, did one of those psychometric tests, spent hours on it, then I got called back several times, ending up meeting the whole team. I got called back again – by this time I’d had a collected eight or nine hours of interviews - and told “We want to offer you the position”. Right at the very end of the conversation they said ‘Oh just one thing, you haven’t put your mobile number down on these forms’ and I said ‘I don’t have a mobile phone’. The HR director said “If you work

for us you’re going to have to have a mobile phone”. So I got up and said “Well then I won’t work for you then” and walked out. She started chasing me down the corridor and I said “Hang on, you’ve laid your cards on the table and I’ve laid mine.” And that was 10 years ago. Imagine it now. I’d never get a job!

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |


24 hours in... Copenhagen Yes, everyone’s heading to Noma 2.0 but there are plenty of other great places to hang out and eat well in Copenhagen. Portland and Clipstone’s Merlin Lebron-Johnson has the insider’s guide


6pm Pre-dinner drink

Dinner at Relæ

This was my favourite meal in Copenhagen. Beautiful food prepared with organic ingredients from the restaurant’s own farm. The bread which is baked in their nearby bakery (Mirabelle) is amongst the best I’ve ever tried. Ask for a table near the open kitchen so that you can watch the chefs at work.

Aperitif at Ven Stranden which is a gorgeous little wine bar with the friendliest staff. There’s no menu here so just tell them what you like and allow them to lead you by the hand. A favourite for fans of little/ no intervention winemaking, expect to try some extraordinarily funky wines – if that’s your bag.

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

1pm Lunch at Geist

Chef Bo Bech is a trailblazer of Danish cuisine, renowned for unusual flavour combinations and an incredibly unique style of minimalistic plating. I recommend going as a group of four and ordering lots of dishes to share. The tartare of lobster with yuzu and hibiscus is an absolute classic. -52-



Late dinner at Manfreds

Hotel Danmark

More vegetable focused cooking from the team behind Relæ (across the road) but in a far more casual setting that has a real neighbourhood feel. They also do a beef tartare which is world famous and the restaurant is certified 90-100% organic.

Book a room at Hotel Danmark on Vester Voldgade which is close to Tivoli gardens and Denmark’s National Museum. The rooms are reasonably priced and every day between 5-6pm they offer a free glass of wine to their guests. Free wine! Their organic breakfast is also rather good.

4pm 12pm 9am

Post-lunch sharpener

Drinks at Den Vandrette wine bar by the river. The bar is owned by Sune Rosforth. Copenhagen’s leading Biodynamic wine importer and has a very impressive cellar. The food is also excellent. Grab a table outside if the weather is nice.

Lunch at Noma

An unforgettable experience and one which feels like an obligation when visiting Copenhagen. The menu was entirely seafood focused and there were some dishes that might be challenging for the faint hearted or those who aren’t so accustomed to eating seafood in it’s purest form. From 26 June to 15 September they will be running an entirely vegetable focused menu. Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Breakfast at 108 the Corner café

This was very special. They collaborate with Tim Wendelboe, world champion barista for coffee roasting and their filter coffee is amazing. Try one of their unusual Danish pastries like the blackcurrant pastry or the one that’s been glazed with a mushroom caramel. -53-

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A classic revisited In an industry in thrall to the new, sometimes old-school restaurants get neglected. Loyd Grossman returns to the much-loved La Famiglia

the emerging stars of what would become the Swinging 60s in London, the Terrazza was as much of a social statement as a gastronomic one. Alvaro Maccioni was a key member of the Mario and Franco team and set out in 1966 to set up his own restaurant Alvaro on the King’s Road, an establishment that soon became so fashionable that its phone number was ex-directory and a closely guarded secret for its regulars - of whom I was happy to be one. In 1975 Alvaro moved further West to World’s End to open La Famiglia, which still flourishes.

While the current dining scene in Chelsea is perhaps rather dull, there was a period when it was spiced with some of the trendiest restaurants in town - Meridiana, Pontevecchio, San Frediano… all sadly closed. Although Alvaro, one of the great hosts, died in 2013, his restaurant happily remains in family hands and still clings to his mantra ‘that if you can cook like your mother you are a good chef, but if you can cook like your grandmother you are a great chef.’ The menu has evolved gradually over the years - it now offers glutenfree pasta and much of the fish has the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability mark - but the old favourites remain and maintain a high -55-

standard and more than a nod to Tuscan rusticity. If you like rabbit, the coniglio all’alvaro with white wine, garlic and rosemary is the best in town. The fagioli al fiasco would pass muster in Florence. In the summer months they dish up as tasty a vitello tonnato as you could wish for. Service is as you would expect, exuberant but with genuine warmth. The wine list is good. There is still a pudding trolley to delight the nostalgic and intrigue the young. As someone who has been going there since it opened, I now see the children and sometimes grandchildren of the original customers, which gives it a pleasing continuity. La Famiglia continues to be a celeb magnet - over the years I’ve seen familiar faces from Terence Stamp to Kylie Minogue - but in a pleasingly low-key way. And in a fickle dining-out world with a dizzying pace of openings and closings, it has a great deal to teach aspiring restaurateurs.

La Famiglia, 7 Langton Street The World's End London SW10 0JL

Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

If you regard the founding of the River Cafe in 1987 as ancient restaurant history, may I remind you that the great revolution in Italian dining in London dates back to the late 1950s... In fact, our exposure to it is even more historic. Not surprising, as London has had a very substantial Italian presence since the 15th century - and our post-World War II love affair with the supposedly sybaritic, sun-kissed lifestyle of the Mediterranean is as much about fettuccini as it is about Fra Angelico. My own exposure began early on - before London - growing up in Boston home to a large, mostly Southern Italian immigrant population whose restaurants introduced me to the delights of ‘red sauce’ cuisine early on. You don’t have to be Freud to assume that that might have something to do with my subsequent pasta sauce visit. But it really is trip after trip to Italy since the mid 70s that has made me realise that the pleasures and variety of the Italian kitchen are inexhaustible. No other cuisine so beautifully combines minimum complexity with maximum flavour. The longevity of London’s Italian restaurants is impressive: half a dozen or more are as long-lived as La Famiglia … but not many do it as well as the Chelsea classic. Mario Cassandra and Franco Lagattolla, who worked at The Mirabelle, which was then the toniest joint in town, jumped ship in 1959 to establish their own restaurant La Terrazza in Romilly Street, Soho. With its, for the time, minimalist decor, casual attitude and warm welcome to the actors, admen and fashion entrepreneurs who were

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Instagrab With a new opening or a menu change comes the inevitable flurry of social-media snaps. So what’s feeding the news feed this season? Crudites from Hide kick us off, then it’s difficult to move for snaps of turbot (thanks, Tomos), while the age-old classic of sticking an egg on it had a welcome revival

Staff meal Issue 15 | Summer 2018 |

Smoked salmon on toast with horseradish crème fraiche and a poached egg What do you eat when you get home after service? For this issue, Tom Brown of Cornerstone suggests a simply comforting classic ___ Tom Browne is the head chef at the new restaurant Cornerstone, in Hackney Wick. It’s already become a big hit, not least for Brown’s brilliant fish and seafood-led menu. Before opening Cornerstone, he worked for Nathan Outlaw, as head chef at Outlaw’s at The Capital. He says “I like to use Secret Smokehouse smoked salmon for this recipe, and Coombeshead Farm’s sourdough bread for the toast”.

Ingredients 200g smoked salmon 4 slices sourdough bread 4 free range hens eggs 100ml crème fraiche 2 tbsp horseradish cream Fresh dill Fennel

Method 1. Bring a medium pan of water to the boil, with a splash of white wine vinegar in it. 2. In a small bowl mix together the crème fraiche and horseradish until fully combined. Season to taste. 3. Thinly slice the smoked salmon and fennel and leave to one side. 4. Stir the water to create a whirlpool, then crack the eggs into the centre of it and reduce the heat to a simmer. 5. While the eggs are cooking, toast the bread under a hot grill until golden brown on each side.

6. Check the eggs by lifting them out of the water and gently pressing to see if they are cooked but still soft. This should take 3-4 minutes. 7. When cooked remove from the water and leave on a kitchen towel to drain. 8. Lay the smoked salmon onto the hot toast. Top with the thinly sliced fennel. 9. Drizzle generously with the horseradish cream and garnish with sprigs of dill. 10. Top with the poached egg to serve.

Hakkasan Hanway Place


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