Episode 44 – Matt Grech-Smith of Swingers Crazy Gold

This weeks episode is a hole in one… Matt Grech-Smith had a successful career even in University. True entrepreneur spirit shines through in this episode, as he describes it… “Throwing yourself off a cliff and learning how to swim on the way down”. Matt and his business partner Jeremy are now successful founders of Swingers Crazy Golf – mastering the art of ‘Competitive Socialising’ as he describes it.

Matt Grech-Smith

Episode 44 Matt Grech-Smith
Swingers, The Crazy Golf Club

If you think ‘pop-up’ is a cheap and cheerful way of testing a business idea, then this week’s guest, Matt Grech-Smith, might just challenge that.   

Matt is the co-founder of ‘Swingers, The Crazy Golf Club’. Their pop-up covered 7,000 square feet and took the best part of half a million pounds of investment. Luckily, their genius combination of crazy golf, cocktails and street food has led to two even bigger, and permanent sites, in the City and West End of London.   New York is next on the list. 

But, as you’ll hear, Matt and his co-founder Jeremy, have had several roller-coaster, ‘do or die’ moments. This includes a ‘slightly anguished’ conference call discussing whether or not to sign a hefty lease before they’d got planning permission on a 18,000 square foot site.  

All this from a man who doesn’t see himself as an entrepreneur, but is obviously great at grabbing opportunities, particularly in immersive, experiential hospitality. 

Jennifer Wood

Episode 43 Jennifer Wood
Canton Tea

In the last 15 years, the way we drink coffee has gone through a revolution: from an instant brew in polystyrene cups to beans with known provenance, carefully selected and lovingly roasted. 

Could tea soon follow in coffee’s footsteps? Yes, if this week’s guest, Jennifer Wood, founder of Canton Tea, has anything to do with it.    

To build her business, Jennifer has travelled to remote mountainous regions like the ‘wild, wild Yunnan’, where tea bushes live to a thousand years and grow 40 feet high.  The tea producers and masters she works with take the ritual of growing, harvesting and ageing the tea as seriously as leading vineyard owners do their prize wines.  

When you hear how much hard work and knowledge goes into each cup of Canton’s artisanal tea – whether it’s black, green, oolong or the mind-blowing pu’erh –  you’ll understand why Jennifer thinks that even the most basic cuppa is worth much, much  more than 2p a bag.  Her enthusiasm is so infectious, you’ll also want a ‘Cantonista’, championing quality, loose leaf tea, in your neck of the woods.   

Bring on the tea revolution! 

Episode 43 – Jennifer Wood & Canton Tea

It began with a beautiful cup of tea… Worth $3,000 dollars a kilo. Jennifer Wood is truly a connoisseur of cuppas. She teaches us this week how the bog-standard English Breakfast tea is not only one of the most boring cuppas, but how it didn’t actually originate in England! You’ll also learn this week the science behind a good cup of tea… did you know that you shouldn’t actually put boiling water straight onto the leaves, but perhaps put a few ice cubes in first? Me neither.

Episode 41 – Steven Lamb & River Cottage

If you’re looking to learn something today, you’re in luck. Steven Lamb refers to himself as a “careers teacher’s nightmare”, as he jumped around jobs looking for his passion. Then, he found it at River Cottage. Food, drink and hospitality flow through the veins of Steven Lamb – and his extensive knowledge about all areas of his industry is outstanding. From chatting about the additives that are injected into shop-bought standard bacon, making your own cheese from one pot of yogurt to discussing just what the the government should be doing to ensure as humans we are doing the best for our bodies, animals and the planet… This weeks conversation is a journey in more ways than one.