Episode 111 David Begg
Founder Real Kombucha

David Begg is one of those hospitality obsessives regular listeners will know I love to meet.  Another one of those humans that has a little tiny seedling of an idea, that turns into an obsession that turns into an utterly awesome product that then enhances all of our worlds of food, drink and hospitality.

And this time I’m talking about Kombucha.  But not just any Kombucha, but the sort that is now sitting on the menus of many of the finest Michelin starred restaurants around the country proudly sitting along side Prosecco and champagne as an alcohol free alternative.  You see it transpires that if you ferment some of the finest tea leaves, picked young in some of the worlds best tea gardens, with some Mother cultures, a little bit of magic and a whole heap of David’s obsession, you can create something beautiful and complex and light and delicious.

We’ll chat to David about alcohol eating bacteria, DNA tested cultures that could be hundreds of years old, 150 different types of tea, don’t worry, we won’t go into detail on all of them, picking tea leaves whilst their young and different days picks and how rubbing the leaves around a hot wok can transform the end result.  But as well as a great product, this is also a great story of David the businessmen and how a chance over dinner drink with yoga and wellness guru Howard Napper sent David off on a journey.  And David has an entrepreneurial brain having previously been involved in the technology that later became booking.com and selling furniture in over 62 countries through the business ‘Tom Dixon’ that he co-founded.

I’m confident you’ll enjoy this chat and by the end of it have a whole heap of knew knowledge, be desperate to try David’s Real Kombucha and be inspired by another business story.

Follow them on instagram or twitter or check out the website

Episode 110 Ollie Hutson
Group Head Kitchen Gardener – The Pig

I love the Pig Hotels and their obsession on the best local produce.  This extends to their beautiful kitchen gardens where group chef James Golding gave me a tour in a previous podcast episode.  After a recent chat with Ollie’s Dad and CEO Robin Hutson, I was excited to arrange to go to the Pig nursery in the New Forest and meet Ollie face to face and get to peruse his mother of seed planning spreadsheets.

You’re going to learn just how much work goes into creating a kitchen garden for a hotel or restaurant.  The balance between productive space and a show garden space.  How to ensure those spaces always look great, but are genuinely used for a seed to plate menu.  I love Ollie’s annual planning meeting with the chefs, where they are only allowed to say on of four things. ‘More, Less, the same or not at all’.  

We also touch on Ollie’s childhood and the pros and cons of living in an entrepreneurial house and his first hand witnessing of Hotel Du Vin being built around family life.  Ollie was generous with his time and an utter gentleman to spend a couple of hours with.  I hope you enjoy the results and next time you wander though a kitchen garden appreciate just how much graft is going on behind the scenes.

To follow Ollie’s adventures head over to his twitter page or visit the website .

Episode 109 David Chenery
Object Space Place – Sustainable Design

Finally, we are doing a sustainability episode.  And I say finally because regular listeners will know that sustainability comes up alot in my conversations when we think about farming and plant based diets and the impact on the environment of what we eat and drink.  But what I’d not touched on thus far was the sustainability deep rooted into the actual design of venues and the business itself.  Because surely it all starts there.  If the restaurant itself is smashing its way through unnecessary fossil fuels or using poisonous materials, or chopping down virgin rain forest to make the furniture then clearly that would be pretty outrageous.  

David Chenery, today’s guest has been deeply buried in cogitating on what sustainable design means for a number of years.  David is not an activist, but wants to find a way to live on planet earth and ideally leave it better, or at the very least not make it worse.  David has spent a number of years as an interior architect and design consultant at Object Space Place and has had a career specialising in commercial interiors in a varied range of international and UK based retail stores, hair salons, restaurant concepts and luxury fashion department stores.  But more recently he’s doubled down and focused on sustainable hospitality and what that might mean.

David has been working on a RESTORATIVE RESTAURANT FRAMEWORK, built on the principles of a circular economy and designing with end of life in mid.  Within that are some fascinating perspectives and I’m confident you’re going to enjoy this chat and it’s certainly going to get you to think.  

We chat about the importance of the stories of sustainability, or the accreditation of sustainability.  And how for me personally, in an industry where we are so use to chatting to customers about the journey their food or drink has been on, who produced it, or caught it, or made it, or how many miles it has travelled, naturally extending that to where the recycled bar top has come from, or how the furniture has been reclaimed from an old church or school rather than ending up in landfill, feels like an easy extension of what we do.

You can find David on LinkedIn or check out his website and don’t forget you can donate to the podcast via PayPal 

Episode 108 – Gregorie Marshall
Blackthorn Scottish Sea Salt

Gregorie, from Blackthorn knows an incredible amount about salt.  His family have been involved in salt for over 140 years.  His Dad’s Dad Dad set up the business, but this latest venture is their first foray into the actual production of salt.  You should probably pause this episode at this point and go to blackthornsalt.co.uk and take a look at this crazy big tower of thorns they have built on the edge of the ocean in Scotland.  It will help you visualise what we are about to chat about.

This incredible wooden structure, dribbles sea water through 54 wooden taps releasing the water to trickle down a tower of blackthorn exposed to the Scottish winds and sun, evaporating the water and leaving an ever increasing saline solution.  There is something beautifully romantic and nostalgic about harnessing nature right on the waters edge in Scotland.  

I learnt so much chatting to Gregorie.  Not just about salt, but about how to run a business for multiple generations and how being curious and embarking on adventures just because they are fun, rather than financially proven, is such a wonderful part of so many hospitality journeys.

But yourself some salt on the website here

Follow Blackthorn Salt here instagram and twitter

A link to the video we mention here 

Episode 107 José Pizarro
Spanish Chef & Restauranteur

José and I recorded this remotely and I really wish I’d gone to actually sit with him in his restaurant since he oozes hospitality out of every pore.  José is famous for his 3 London restaurants and championing Spanish produce for many decades.  

José touches on his books and extensive travels through Spain and just how much he loves meeting other great humans and ensuring that their recipes are recorded and handed on to the next generations.  We chat about his upbringing and some lovely memories about the smell of coffee and churros from his mum in the kitchen, who is now 87 years of age and still going strong.

We talk about food culture in Spain and the UK and how we can try and improve our connection to food, particularly when you think of things like childhood obesity.  I also find out that Jose’s middle name is Manuel and with a restaurant already called José, Pizzaro and José Pizaro I for one think it’s time he used his middle name for the next one.  Oh yes, and then there is Olive Oil.  We definitely learn a few things about that.

Enjoy the chat and please do leave a review and click on subscribe.  You can find out more about Jose on his website or follow him on Instagram or twitter