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…

Episode 27 Mark Hix
Hix Restaurants

If you decided to open a restaurant that focussed on oysters and meat- on-the bone, you probably wouldn’t have done it in 2008.  First there was the financial crisis and credit crunch. Then there was a lingering memory of the meat-on-the-bone ban, triggered by BSE several decades before.  

Mark Hix’s decision was perhaps all the more surprising because the job he was leaving – Executive Head Chef of Le Caprice restaurant group, which included famous venues like The Ivy and J Sheekey – was the sort of plum role other chefs would give their eye teeth for.    

But it turned out very well in the end: his ‘HIX Oyster and Chop House’ marked the start of an award-winning family of HIX restaurants, in London and in Dorset…and put Mark in the forefront of the modern British food movement, celebrating farmers, food producers and fisherman in his menus and in his annual Food Rocks Festival in Lyme Regis.  

Discover how it all happened for a boy who was more interested in golf than food…and then discovered he was rather good at cooking after all… 

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 10
Oli Perron – Lunch’d

Oli Perron, founder of Lunch’d, which delivers beautifully put-together salads, stroganoffs, stir-fries and more to your office…. Zingy, punchy flavours packed into a handy box.  Hear how the early days were, in his words, ‘a bit of a car crash’, preparing 65 lunches in the kitchen which he shared with his long-suffering flatmate, Tom… AND he was having problems paying the rent.  Find out how he survived that car crash: he’s now successfully delivered 24,000 lunches. He is confident that people love his food enough to subscribe to his lunchboxes… and that he can give Uber Eats and Deliveroo a run for their money.

Episode 5
Andy Lennox – Zim Braai

Andy Lennox started his career as a ‘KP’, a kitchen porter, peeling potatoes.  When he was  21, he teamed up with two friends to create Koh Thai, a restaurant in Dorset, offering authentic Thai cooking with a South of France style of service.  As Andy put it, they ‘knew nothing and learned on the trot’ –  only realising  6 months in that they needed tills, rather than paper to relay orders to the kitchen and the bar.

Soon the pace picked up to a gallop, as the Koh Thai concept took off and 11 more Kohs opened in Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset… It was great, but there were growing pains, as you’ll discover – like the fact that a deal is never sealed until the signature’s on the dotted line…

10 years on, Andy is onto his next concept, ‘Zim Braai’: the earthy, smokey slow cooked oxtail and wild boar potjies…bunny chows, curries in a bun…and ‘braais’ – barbeques that bring people together.Find out more here https://www.zim-braai.co.uk