If you like steak and you like start ups – keep reading. DOSE talks to the founder of cult North London steakhouse Beef and Brew about swapping a career in banking for the kitchen and the hectic lifestyle that comes with owning a restaurant. We discuss his fondness of beer (but not how Brits drink it – tasteless and by the dozen) and when he feels happiest post exercise, eating…preferably something involving tomatoes.
What inspired you to start Beef and Brew? In a literal sense it was sitting in the Hawksmoor for a work lunch and thinking this is great, but I’d never come here for a relaxed meal on a night out. In a more personal sense, I wanted to look back on my life with a sense of achievement and adventure. I was working as a banker at the time and growing old at the same bank of desks didn’t look like success to me.
What healthy options do you have on the menu? A grilled steak with some charred broccoli would be your best bet. Steak and eggs minus the dripping toast perhaps? Just avoid the chips and béarnaise.
What do you do to exercise and why? Gym, run and crossfit, when I’m not chained to the restaurant. Why? Because I like it. Crossfit pushes you to do things you wouldn’t dream of doing on your own.
Where do you source your steak from… North Yorkshire. It’s all free range, grass fed native breeds. Where possible it is also a little older than the norm as it adds flavour.
What do you love most about your job? That it’s not a job. I’ve always hated the adage of “live to work or work to live”. You spend most of your life working, so it should feel indistinguishable from life.
You feel happiest when… Post exercise, in a hot country, while eating. Preferably something involving tomatoes.
When you go out, what’s your choice of tipple… Depends on the circumstances. Cocktail choices are: negronis, americanos or a martini. I also like a whisky. I’m obviously a fan of good beer, but not the way we brits tend to drink: something tasteless and by the dozen.
Do you listen to music to workout? Favourite music track to work out to and why? Nope. Working out or running is my quiet time.
Do you often cook at home or order in? I cook mainly, but I’m known to order the odd curry.
Describe your perfect mix of Move, Fuel and Thrill… Run, chicken legs roasted with red peppers, tomatoes and red onions. As for drink, post exercise I’m opting for water.
Who is your inspiration and why? Anyone who has the courage of their convictions and lives as they see fit, rather than being bound by social convention.
How do you relax…Given my profession, relaxation is hard to come by. I’m afraid exercise is the only thing that does the trick.
Most challenging thing since you started the restaurant? There are too many to mention. Broken equipment is the (expensive) bane of my existence. Building a team is the real challenge…it’s lots of fun, but difficult too. Luckily I set the restaurant up with my business partner and chef, Jess Simmons. That makes it much easier.
One thing you wish you’d known about opening a restaurant? That being a waiter/floor manager is a real skill. As a professional I didn’t really appreciate that. Nor do most of my mates or ex-colleagues.
Strangest request from a customer? To dance on the bar!