This is a bit more than just a restaurant...
Yes. Mare Street Market is a 10,000 sq ft space close to Ellory. I'll be launching a 70-cover restaurant there but I'll also be working with Marc to curate the market itself. We've got a florist, a record shop, coffee roastery and a deli. I'll be particularly involved in the latter. I want it to be an elegant food hall. We've taken a lot of influence from spaces in Europe. It's new and a bit different and perhaps a bit more grown-up than Hackney is used to. We're hoping to open in mid-March.
Where will you source your products from?
A lot of the products we'll be stocking are Hackney based. It's amazing how many great food brands are in the borough. Hackney has some great artisans but the problem has always been that what they make is not available under one roof. We're going to change that.
How did the project come about?
I met Marc years ago, we have a really good mutual friend. I've been wanting to do a very British market for some time. He came to me with the space and I told him my vision. It turned out we were thinking along very similar lines, which was cool.
What sort of restaurant will it be?
The restaurant will be all about wood fired cooking. It will be vegetable heavy but there will still be some great meat dishes. I will be taking inspiration from the Californian farm-to-table movement. It will be playful takes on classics. The day time offer and feel will be casual. In the evenings it will be a bit more elegant. We'll do white truffles when they're in season but it will still be affordable and relaxed.
You've been running pop-ups for a longtime and are well-known in the industry. Why is now the time for a permanent restaurant?
It's time for me to put my money where my mouth is and do something permanent. As soon as the opportunity was offered to me I said yes. I'm in the right head space, I need to do something where I'm able to showcase what I can do.
You're launching Pure Filth at around the same time. How will you split your time between the two?
I'm executive chef at both projects but I will only be cooking at Mare Street. We've spent 18 month developing Pure Filth, the work has been done - it's a fast food style operation with a very simple menu. It will still be a tough year for me but I'm willing to work very hard. It is a bit nuts opening two restaurants at the same time but I'm not daunted by it.
How often will you cook at the Mare Street Market restaurant?
The head chef will do most of it but I will cook there as often as possible. My life is so all over the shop that's not going to be as easy as I'd like.
Will you still do TV work and help out with development at other restaurant groups?
I haven't done TV for two years so it's a bit odd to see myself described as a TV chef. I've always had a full time job as well as doing TV. I made a pact to myself at the beginning of 2017 that I would not do TV unless they were shows that I think are great. I have a better idea of what I want to do now. I'm not going to say yes to everything. I'm really lucky to have that opportunity but I got to a stage where I was not massively proud of every day's work that did. In terms of work for restaurant groups I'm not sure. If it works for both parties then maybe.