Abiye Cole Abiye Cole at work
Abiye Cole is a Londoner, but he’s almost an honorary American. Why? He makes some of the best US-style dogs in Blighty - Big Apple Hot Dogs!
ow living in Islington, North London, Abiye recalls that being the only mixed race child at primary school was tough at first, but he says “before long I became a bit of an Equaliser/Robin Hood figure, righting wrongs and protecting the bullied. I also became a mogul at marbles, by sourcing amazing marbles the kids had never seen before. I could hardly carry my ‘winnings’! I went to a private school in my teens and was popular with the kids, but not so much with the teachers.” What did you want to be when you grew up? “I never really had an answer to that question back then. To be honest I didn’t have an answer to it until just before I set up Big Apple Hot Dogs. The question was more what did I NOT want to be and the answer was - an employee. My first job was at Harrods, for the January sales, in the fine china department. I then had an expat job at an oil company. When I quit that, I vowed never, ever to have a boss again - no mat-
ter what! After waking up and smelling the coffee, I realised a hot dog cart was the only business I could afford to set up with my last £2,000! I thought there might be enough of a market for an American-style hot dog cart in London, for me to make ends meet. I would have been in a lot of trouble if it hadn’t worked, but I am still amazed at how much it has taken off, all pretty much by word of mouth! Married, Single or Significant Other? I am married to the greatest woman I have ever met. She is a wonderful mother – we have 3 boys, Isaac (20) Ezra (10) and Jed (7) - and she writes a family blog (Babes About Town) and has the patience of a saint. What are you most proud of? I am proud that I have created such a great product and such a promising brand, doing things my own unorthodox way (without partners or investment). My new collaboration with Bluefields Group means that we can deliver packs of our amazing sausages to homes and
businesses around the country via www.bluefieldsathome.com freeing us all from the tyranny of the supermarkets. I am also proud to have been invited to a round table on food entrepreneurship at 10 Downing St. If all goes well with BAHD I will have built an enduring business that will provide lifelong employment for my boys, should they want to come into the family firm. That would make me proudest of all. What are your favorite restaurants in the UK and in the USA (apart from your own)? I have always loved Joe Allen in London (it made me very happy when they bought 400 Big Apple Hot Dogs for an event a year or so ago!). I adored Tiny’s on West Broadway when I finally returned to the Big Apple this Spring! What five people, living or dead, would you invite to dine with you there? David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Oscar Wilde, Karen O and Kate Bush. What do you think is your best trait?