Episode 22 – Jonathan Downey, Street Feast

From his first beer at 19 to his ‘G&T’ moment in Hong Kong… Jonathan Downey is a hospitality legend who went from building a bar whilst being a lawyer – to opening the famous Street Feast in and around London. Match Bar, Sosho, Milk and Honey, Street Feasts, 2 million visitors a year, Dinerama, Giant Robot, Hawker House…hold on tight…it’s quite the adventure!

Episode 22 Jonathan Downey
Street Feast

The world’s disused car parks, markets and office blocks need Jonathan Downey. In Street Feast he’s taken the idea of street food to a whole new level. At night, what were neglected sites come alive with tantalising smells of pizza, steamed buns, tacos and chicken wings …along with the buzz of conversation and glowing light boxes of all shapes and sizes.

JD’s hospitality journey over 20 YEARS is exceptional. Match Bar, Sosho, Milk and Honey, Street Feasts, 2 million visitors a year, Dinerama, Giant Robot, Hawker House…hold on tight…it’s quite the adventure!

The four very different Street Feasts bring together speciality bars and food traders who each do just one thing, and do it really, really well… And it was because London in the 1990s wasn’t doing nightlife well, that Jonathan decided to combine his corporate lawyer role with a new career as a bar and club operator. It was a crazy thing to do – suited and booted by day, scrubbing walls by night – but it worked for a while…. until the inevitable ‘ouch’ moment arrived. But when that came, Jonathan freed himself up to work on more amazing hospitality ideas.

Episode 21 – Alex Aitken & The Jetty

Starting off his early life on the trawler – pulling in fish and avoiding bumping into TNT-filled mines before moving into waiting at the age of 17, Alex Aitken has worked in all areas of hospitality. A self-taught chef who has never worked in anyone kitchen except his own tells the story of how he achieved Michelin stars and kept up with the everchanging industry.

Episode 21 Alex Aitken
The Jetty and Michelin star chef

Imagine. You’re about to open your first restaurant to the public. Your wife, who’s front of house, is 8 ½ months pregnant. You’re the chef –and you’ve never cooked professionally before. But you buy a couple of recipe books and some chef whites, and off you go. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Yet this is what Alex Aitken did in 1983.

It was the start of a Michelin-starred career which has evolved in incredible ways and is still going strong. Today, Alex is spreading his love of locally sourced food – whether foraged, fished or farmed –through a growing number of award-winning restaurants, carrying ‘The Jetty’ name.  

As you will hear, his passion for sourcing food sustainably harks back to his teenage years as a deck hand on North Sea trawlers. He’s got hair-raising tales of mistaking World War II mines for bumper catches… and a mischievous tale about why he likes fiddling with the music volume while you’re eating your meal in his hotel restaurants. It’s only a bit of fun… Enjoy

Episode 20 – Joy Michaud and Sea Spring Seeds

After studying grasslands and moving to the USA for a while – Joy came back to the UK to start growing her very own produce. The famous Dorset Naga chilli was grown on her land, in a cold little town in Dorset much to everyone surprise. Now she not only sells the Dorset Naga seeds but produces lots of chilli and vegetable varieties – including her 8-feet tall chilli plant Nigel.

:)