Episode 121 Michel Roux Jr
Media Chef, Author & Le Gavroche

Michel Roux Jr is a true ‘Human of Hospitality‘ who was practically born in a kitchen when his Mum went into labour whilst working in his Dad ‘Albert Roux’s‘ restaurant.  Michel is well known, partly simply through the recognition of his Dad and Uncle opening Le Gavroche in 1967 and becoming the first British restaurant to be awarded 3 Michelin stars, but also via his extensive work on television through shows such as Masterchef the professionals, and most recently ‘remarkable places to eat’.  

Michel has also been on his own impressive culinary adventure working throughout Europe and even Hong Kong before taking over the helm at Le Gavroche in 1991.

In this conversation we get to touch on Michel’s family connections and following in the family legacy, we’ll chat about the business side of being a chef and the importance of knowing your numbers and that successful restaurants are rarely only about the quality of the food.  We explore what else it takes and how you need to make a customer ‘feel’ to really enjoy their visit and want to return regularly.  And we explore some of the cultural differences between France and the UK, as well as the differences in the casual dining sector, and even the street food scene, and wether we’ll ever see Michel in his own street food truck.  And of course we cover the pandemic and Michel’s hopes for the future, both in business, but perhaps more importantly with his daughter and grandson.

You can follow Michel Roux Jr on twitter, or visit his online shop and read more about Le Gavroche on the website or via instagram

Episode 120 Richard Ball
Executive Chairman Calcot Collection

Richard is a great example of a ‘Human of Hospitality’ having worked in the sector almost all of his working life.  Richard started the business with his Dad and his family, and recognises all that his family risked, even selling grandmas house to purchase a run down manor, covered in vines and a somewhat dilapidated air.  They started small with only 7 bedrooms, but had a vision and a yearning to create something special and to look after people.  That journey was tough in those earlier years and he very nearly lost it all before the adventure had really even properly started.  But the stars aligned and through working hard and never losing site of the vision, and in many ways fulfilling his destiny through partnership, investment, continual improvement and not being in a hurry to expand, Richard and his team have created something beautiful.

Regular listeners will know that I have a love of the independent side of the sector.  What Richard has created would not be of interest to the global brands of the world.  It’s too small and eclectic and complicated and challenging to run.  A number of properties, arguably with not enough rooms to make operations easier in the traditional sense of operating hotels and restaurants.  But the properties look stunning and it takes people like Richard to create and operate such miniature beauties.  I hope his story, along with the those of the likes of Robin Hutson and Gerrard Basset sleeping on the sofa in the bar because they could not afford to employ people overnight, will inspire others to know that you don’t have to start a business with unlimited resources to invest.

We touch on re-wilding land, the early benefits of naivety, 18% mortgage rates, the dangers of michelin stars, running venues as satellites, wider challenges and opportunities for the sector in 2021 and our mutual hope that people will strive for a more simple, perhaps less luxurious life, where time with other humans is the greatest priority over and above material items.

See more on the Calcot website, or on instagram or twitter and find the Sally Beck podcast we mention here

Episode 119 Emma McClarkin
CE British Beer & Pub Association

Emma has had a fascinating career working in the heart of government in the EU,  in part negotiating trade deals.  Great timing for a chat that starts with Emma’s thoughts on the EU and our opportunities and risks as we hurtle towards departure. You’ll be pleased to hear Emmas is pretty optimistic on post EU trade, particularly where the export of exceptional British beer is concerned of course.  

We also chat about Emma’s experience liaising directly with the government on the behalf of the BBPA’s members, representing over half of the pubs in the UK (that’s 20k) and 90% of the brewing industry.  They are an important voice, and we discuss how it felt like as the relationship between government and the sector was very strong in spring, but really broke down over the summer recess period.

We also touch on wether a minister for hospitality would make the ear of government better or worse, why on earth the government is being so slow in extending support into next year as is happening in Europe, and some of the longer term issues such as Beer Duty and business rates that have been negatively skewing the sector long before COVID appeared on the scene.

You can read more about the BBPA here, follow Emma on twitter or join her community here with LinkedIn.

Episode 118 Minister for Hospitality
Various Guests

A very different style of episode this week.  Rather than a detailed conversation with one awesome human of hospitality we have 9 great humans, most of whom have been previous guests.  And we have just one topic of conversation.  Why they are supporting the campaign for a Minister for Hospitality.

This campaign was launched by Claire Bosi but had been sat languishing at around 38k signatures on the government petition website.  To be debated in parliament 100k signatures are required.  Robin Hutson, CEO of Home Grown Hotels organised a call last week with over 100 very well connected hospitality professionals, and working with some of his graduate trainees as well as some well known faces of the hospitality sector such as Tom Kerridge and Angela Hartnett,  launched the ‘seat at the table’ campaign.  

These nine people, who between them employ tens of thousands of people, but represent an industry of millions, will give you their perspectives on why they want a better seat at the table.  Whilst recognising the great work that Kate Nichols and UK Hospitality have achieved, we’d like someone on the inside, as well as the outside of government.  I hope you’ll enjoy hearing their perspectives and I hope you will be motivated to visit www.seatatthetable.org.uk where you can find a link to the petition and support the other social media accounts around this campaign.

Whilst the petition has now exceeded 100k we want to significantly exceed this target to give every chance of this being successful and a senior minister, rather than token gesture being appointed. 

4 min 50 sec – Robin Hutson – CEO The Pig Hotel & Limewood Hotel Visit

12 min 20 sec – Simon Potts – CEO The Alchemist Visit

23 min 20 sec – Danny Pecorelli – MD Exclusive Collection Visit 

30 min 20 sec – Juliane Caillouette-Noble – Acting MD of Sustainable Restaurant Association Visit

38 min 50 sec – Sally Beck – GM Royal Lancaster London Visit

47 min 10 sec – Andrew Stembridge – Executive Director Iconic Luxury Hotels Visit 

56 min 20 sec – Robin Sheppard – President Bespoke Hotels Visit 

1hr 5 min 20 sec – Peter Ducker – Chief Executive Institute of Hospitality Visit 

1hr 5 min 25 sec – Gary Jones – Executive Head Chef – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Visit 

Episode 117 Naomi Duncan
CEO Chefs in Schools charity

Surely schools are the place to improve knowledge on food, on what we should eat, to inspire a life long love for whole food and to understand the difference between real food and processed food.  To understand that food is essential for life, and that in the modern world nobody should be going hungry.  To try and fathom how on earth it is possible for the same areas struck be food poverty and lack of access to food to at the same time be suffering from diabetes and obesity due to the shocking quality of the food that may be available.  It’s just so bloody obvious.  How on earth have we allowed ourselves to have an education system that spends so little time on the one thing we put in our bodies every single day that nourishes us.  That gives us energy, that fuels our bodies and our minds.  We cannot achieve our potential either individually or as a collective unless we fuel ourselves efficiently.

Naomi Duncan and the charity Chefs in Schools are right at the beating heart of this debate and trailblazing some of the improvements that can be made.  They will soon be working with over 70 schools, predominantly in London, but with grand plans to work with, or inspire a transformation across thousands, if not tens of thousands of schools.

In this chat we dive into understanding what the problem with school food is, how have we ended up here, what should be done, what can be done and what is being done.  The impact that Naomi and the Chefs in Schools team are having is exceptional and very exciting.  Wether helping get fully trained restaurant style chefs into schools, or working with existing teams, they are focused not only on providing better food in canteens, but working with the curriculum in educating children and inspiring them around what good food can look like.  But whatever you do, don’t call the food healthy, since they have learnt the hard hard way, that can turn the average teenager off. 

I hope many of you listening will be inspired to speak to your local schools.  If you are a parent perhaps you can ask better questions of your kids school.  But if you work in the sector, why not reach out to your local school and see if you can help.  I’ve personally found working with my local primary school in inspiring and teaching children about real food and seasonality and presentation and the ethics of food has been hugely entertaining and exceptionally rewarding.  

Read about the School Food Plan and visit Chefs In Schools online or follow them on instagram or twitter