WELCOME TO #INSPIREDBY
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be posting some food and travel Q&As with people that we feel #InspiredBy right now. They are producers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, authors, journalists, entrepreneurs, experts, and they are all simply, inspirational.
The idea for this came while reflecting on Gemma’s career.
“I’ve been thinking about when I first ventured into the hospitality industry, when I was welcomed wholeheartedly into a vibrant, hard-working and exhilarating world. I met people who encouraged me, mentored me and showed me that a job could be fun, that it could be more than a job to pay the rent and take me through my studying years, but that it could be a career.
In the mid-90s I began working for Marco Pierre White whilst finishing off my music degree. It was the height of Brit Pop and London was the ‘coolest’ place to be. Marco was in his element having just opened his infamous restaurant and bar Titanic on Brewer St in Soho, and it was my first foray into the hedonistic restaurant industry as it was then. After a few months, I moved to his super chic Mirabelle restaurant in Mayfair and wheeled carving trolleys into the private dining rooms (pictured above) and carved joints of meat to waiting guests. Marco inspired me with his larger-than-life personality and despite all the madness of that time, his food was sublime and being around him was exciting.
In 1999, I landed the job where I would learn much more about hospitality. I was restaurant reception manager for the restaurants at St Martins Lane hotel, hotelier Ian Schrager’s first hotel outside of the States. London hadn’t seen anything like this before and it blew away the cobwebs of the traditional hotel which London was used to.
I learnt that starting a breakfast shift at 6am and finishing the day past midnight was a regular day, and for most of that shift I would be standing and smiling and welcoming guests through the doors. It was exhausting but gave an adrenaline rush that was addictive.
Ian Schrager is one of the most inspirational and creative hoteliers in the world, but the two small things I took away with me after 5 years working for his company were – always greet every person you walk past and make eye contact with them, and always make sure the matchboxes are placed at exactly the right angle in each ashtray. (Yes, those were the days when we all smoked in restaurants!) I learnt the importance of ‘brand’ and to always emulate its values, I learnt that using the right font and size was the essence of professionalism.
When I realised that a move into hospitality PR was the direction my career was taking, I set about finding my mentors. I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Alan Crompton-Batt in Mayfair (I can’t remember the restaurant now) but he was Marco’s publicist and it was he who created the ‘rock star chef’ persona. I look back now and feel it was such an honour to learn from him before he sadly passed away.
But it was Elizabeth Crompton-Batt who really guided and helped me on my way. I had come to know Elizabeth well since she looked after the PR for all the F&B outlets at Schrager’s hotels. She very kindly gave me some telephone numbers of some journalists to get me going and showed me the nuts and bolts of PR. I phoned up the journalists and invited them to have lunch with me, the rest, they say, is history.”
What we hope to do over the coming weeks, is champion truly inspirational people around us. #InspiredBy begins tomorrow… We hope that you enjoy reading their answers as much as we did.
#INSPIREDBY DAVID LOFTUS
PADELLA PASTA KITS LAUNCH
#INSPIREDBY YASMIN KHAN
#INSPIREDBY PETRA BARRAN
#INSPIREDBY ROBBIE BARGH
OTTOLENGHI IS REOPENING
PRAWN ON THE LAWN REOPENS AS A FISHMONGERS
#INSPIREDBY LILY VANILLI
KOLAMBA LAUNCHES SRI LANKAN DELIVERY SERVICE
#INSPIREDBY RACHEL RODDY
#INSPIREDBY RYAN CHETIYAWARDANA
ANGELA HARTNETT AND CAFE MURANO LAUNCH PASTA DELIVERY
#INSPIREDBY PAULA FITZHERBERT
#INSPIREDBY RAVEN SMITH
PRIME FEAST LAUNCHES HOME DELIVERED MEATS
#INSPIREDBY ELIZABETH DAY
#INSPIREDBY BEN PUNDOLE
#INSPIREDBY HENRIETTA LOVELL,
THE 'RARE TEA LADY'
WELCOME TO #INSPIREDBY
RESTAURANTS ARE HERE TO STAY, BUT THEY WON’T LOOK THE SAME
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KOLAMBA POLOS RECIPE
NUTSHELL’S KHORESHT BADEMJAN
FALASTIN: A COOKBOOK
THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY GETS CREATIVE
NEW HEAD CHEF AT NUTSHELL AND PERSIAN NEW YEAR
UPCOMING EVENTS AT GREAT SCOTLAND YARD HOTEL
NEW CAFE MURANO MENU
VEGETARIAN SUPPER-CLUB SERIES AT ACE HOTEL, SHOREDITCH
DINNER BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL - 2020 AT A GLANCE
SUNDAY ROAST MENU AT PRAWN ON THE LAWN ISLINGTON
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – WHAT’S ON
THE HAND & FLOWERS TURNS 15 YEARS OLD THIS MONTH
BRITISH WINE MAKER LUNCH AT KERRIDGE'S
KOLAMBA PRESENT ISLAND SUNDAYS
ACTION AGAINST HUNGER JORDAN TREK 2020
ACE HOTEL'S BLACK: THE LITERARY SALON
LIGHTER SET LUNCH AT KERRIDGE'S BAR & GRILL
ANGELA HARTNETT JOINS BEST HOME COOK
TOM KERRIDGE'S NEW TV SHOW
LE BUN GOES VEGAN
MURANO'S JANUARY MENU