Episode 26 Pete Joy
Bakehouse 24

For someone who had no business plan, but thought he’d be alright because there was a Waitrose round the corner, Pete Joy, at Bakehouse 24 is doing pretty well.

Pete’s love of mixing and kneading emerged out of the blue, one night, when his housemates were at band practice. Having the place to himself, he decided not to do a normal thing like ordering Chinese, but to make a cake instead. This wasn’t a one-off: Pete soon developed a serious baking habit, which led to a 3am-to-midday job at a pioneering sourdough bakery under a Hackney railway arch.

In this episode you’ll hear how the man with no plan is successfully building a team of sourdough bakers (one of whom is also a potter) across two sites in Dorset…and why he gets a bit ranty on the topics of gluten intolerance and interpretations of the word ‘sourdough’…. You’ll probably sympathise by the end of the conversation. Enjoy.

Episode 24 – Jason Barber, Black Cow

From chomping cheese to chinking glasses… Jason’s story is quite the revelation. Black Cow vodka is the first and ONLY vodka to be made entirely out of milk – using what otherwise would be considered a waste part of the milk. The love he has for farming and his team is admirable, and despite his vodka being distributed globally – he remains deliciously humble.

Episode 25 Jason Barber
Black Cow Vodka

My guest this week, Jason Barber, puts it like this: if you’ve been sitting behind a cow for 15 to 20 years, your mind has time to wonder about the best way to use the milk you’re producing.  

The Barbers are the world’s oldest surviving family of cheddar makers. They’ve been making cheese and producing milk for over 200 years – and up until recently, conventional dairy products had done them proud.  But then, in 2012, Jason launched something very different: the world’s first and only vodka to be made entirely out of milk.   

In the last 7 years since it arrived on the scene, Jason’s farm has had to ramp up production of its unique Black Cow Vodka from a couple of thousand bottles a year to between 120 and 130 thousand.   Its fans include local delis, farm shops and bars, as well as major supermarkets and – as you’ll hear – a clutch of A-list Hollywood stars. 

Discover how a piece of yeast, the size of a flea, was the start of this incredible story…and how Jason and his talented business partner Archie turned Black Cow into a global brand.  

Episode 24 – Gareth Banner, The Ned

When hospitality is your calling, you can’t help but be drawn to it. This is something Gareth has learned since the day his love for hotels and looking after other humans began. He now has 252 bedrooms, 10 restaurants, a members’ club and three floors of health, fitness, beauty and spa facilities, inside his gorgeous building – The Ned.

Episode 24 Gareth Banner
The Ned (Soho House / Sydell)

There has never, ever, been anything quite like The Ned in the UK before. Created from the former headquarters of the Midland Bank, in the heart of the City Of London, the Grade I listed building is now home to 10 restaurants, 250 bedrooms, 6 private event spaces, a spa, a gym and a club with over 3000 members…  

In any given week, 30,000 meals are served on the ground floor alone.  As its managing director, Gareth Banner, says modestly, for a single address there are a lot of moving parts….’  

Just three years ago, when he was looking through the dust and the scaffolding at what was the final phase of five years of renovation, he knew it would be special.  As you’ll hear, his career – which takes in stints with global brand The Marriott as well as iconic boutique hotel, The Hempel – is also impressive. It went some way to prepare him for this amazing project.  But actually, as you’ll hear, the biggest learning has happened since The Ned opened its doors to the public two years ago.