Episode 33 Michael Bremner
BBC Great British menu winner

Getting to chat to Michael was awesome, like meeting my brother from another mother.  But he has a way cooler accent!  I share Michael’s views on a great deal of issues around hospitality…not least his thoughts around reviews, tripadvisor and the like.  This really was an utterly delightful conversation.

You may already know Michael from the BBC’s Great British Menu programme.  In 2016 he did pretty well, getting to the finals. A year later, he went one better, winning the entire competition and the chance to prepare a banquet for Wimbledon Tennis Club. 

Actually, Michael Bremner wasn’t a stranger to preparing great food under the watchful gaze of the people just about to eat it. When he opened his first restaurant, 64 Degrees, in Brighton in 2013, he designed the restaurant so diners were just an arm’s stretch away from the chefs. They could see the dishes coming together right in front of them. (The same early design also forgot about a bar: you’ll hear how that turned out later!) 

In the next hour you’ll also discover how avoiding food envy has shaped Michael’s award-winning menu…and how he and his partner Carla (who gets legendary status in this edition) had the wherewithal to open a second, very different restaurant only months after his marathon at Great British Menu. 

Episode 32 Tom Foot
Co Founder of the Open Air Dairy

In this episode we’re going to learn alot about dairy farming, milk and happy cows.  Grab a notebook, there is a lot to learn!

Tom Foot and Neil Grigg are too humble to say this, but in building up their Open Air Dairy, they’ve become true pioneers in their industry. What they do is awesome.  Cows that live 13 years instead of 3 in intensive farming, less antibiotics, happier cows, happier humans, happier fields, awesome milk and cheese…what they’ve achieved is exciting for the future of farming.

Like many tenant farmers, they didn’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds to build conventional sheds and indoor milking systems.  So when a fantastic farm came their way, they had to think outside the box. Or as one observer put it, they took the box, ripped it up completely and threw it away! 

Inspired by a farmer in the 1920s, they’ve transformed second-hand trailers and bails into mobile milking parlours. Instead of herding their cattle to a shed every day, they take the sheds direct to the cows. Everything really is done in the open air, all year round! 

What started as a cost-saving exercise – and the figures will astound you – has thrown up so many more benefits: great tasting milk; family-friendly working hours and super-relaxed cattle. I should know. A few of them enjoyed rubbing themselves against me as I recorded this conversation with Tom.   

Enjoy my nervousness as I work out whether they are bulls or heffers.

Episode 31 Kirsty Loveday
Love Drinks – incredible spirit stories

Love Drinks, has two clear strands to it: first, to share the amazing stories behind the spirits portfolio Kirsty has built up since 2007. Whether it’s an organic cachaca or a cold-brew coffee cut with wheat vodka, all the independent brands distributed by Love Drinks are created with dedication and craftsmanship – and they all feed into Kirsty’s philosophy of drinking less and better. 

The second – Love Well – goes back to when Kirsty was in her early 20s. The late nights and long hours triggered a series of panic attacks and a realisation that she had to look after herself. As you’ll hear, she’s applied the look-after-your-wellbeing principle to the whole of her team and to bartenders in general. 

No wonder Kirsty’s been given a British Empire Medal for services to the drinks industry. 

Episode 30 Hugo Hardman and
Arthur Voelcker – Chalkstream

In this episode we’re going to learn about farmed fish. When Hugo Hardman and Arthur Voelcker launched ChalkStream® in 2015, people tended to dismiss farmed trout as small, bony and muddy; salmon’s much poorer cousin.   

That’s why, in the early days, they had to get right in front of chefs, and show them what farmed trout could really become – if it was grown in fast-flowing clear waters that mimic the conditions of the fish’s natural habitat: the Test and Itchen chalk stream rivers in Hampshire.   

As you’ll hear, their so-called ‘power point presentation’ of a framed photograph and a large glistening trout on ice, worked wonders.  Now ChalkStream clients include big names such as P&O Ferries, British Airways and Wimbledon, as well as top restaurants all over the UK… and the trout farmers Hugo and Arthur work with face a much more secure future. 

Discover how, in the space of a few years, this partnership has managed to shake up trout farming in an impressively sustainable way.   

https://www.chalkstreamfoods.co.uk

Episode 29 James Golding
The Pig restaurants with rooms

James Golding’s impressive chef career has come full circle. Yes, he’s worked with some very big names in London and New York. He learned his craft under Anton Edelmann at The Savoy and then moved to Le Caprice, working for Mark Hix. And as Head Chef at Soho House in New York, his team cooked for A list actors, music stars and royalty.  

But he began his culinary journey in and around the New Forest, foraging for mushrooms with his dad, and getting ‘bored out of his mind’ at Mr Bartlett’s, the butchers, when his parents were having nice chats about cuts of meat.  Fast forward around 20 years and James is back in his childhood stomping ground of Hampshire and Dorset.  

And as Group Chef Director of THE PIG, he makes sure that all the restaurants source their ingredients either from their own kitchen gardens or from producers within a 25 mile radius.  That includes beautiful cuts of meat, which James turns into British charcuterie with – wait for it – Mr Bartlett’s son!   

Passion has definitely replaced boyhood boredom, as you’ll hear…