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 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 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 15 Nick Leach
Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality

In terms of career variety, I doubt if many  can match Nick Leach’s 4 decades in hospitality. One of his first jobs was working as the King of Saudi Arabia’s personal chef on a £9 million motor yacht. After that he found himself ‘catering to excess’, for merchant bankers in London, where £25,000 a week was set aside for caviar alone – served in huge swan ice carvings.

This was in stark contrast to his next role as General Manager at Kings College Hospital, where his daily budget per patient was £1.76 – and that had to cover 7 hot drinks a day, in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For the last 18 years he’s been drawing on this wealth experience to manage the catering at the University of Portsmouth.  In any one week he has a potential 29,000 hungry students and staff to feed…and he still makes time to take his chefs to see local food producers – from the organic dairy and flour mill to the free-range chicken farm.

Amazing man, amazing stories.  Enjoy!

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