I’ve always had a passion for making delicious food and sharing it with others. Not having any real experience as a professional chef, starting Yard Sale Pizza seemed like the best way to be able to include making food into my life – continually creating and exploring. As it’s our own business there are no limits to what we can and can’t do.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That creating a restaurant would be way more about managing people than about making pizza.
What do you do in your spare time?
Eat and exercise. I’m always tempted by new restaurants, whether that’s eating out or getting a delivery; the exercise is purely to allow me to eat out more whilst staying in a reasonable shape.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
My go-to comfort food is often a ramen. Tonkotsu is my local, and always come through with the goods. A big shout out to Kanada Ya also; they opened up on Upper Street and seem to always have a table free. I have to say I’m always super impressed with the boys down at Patty and Bun too, they’re smashing it at the moment in terms of developing their menu and improving their product. They’ve managed to expand without diluting their brand too, which is much easier said than done.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I used to do graphic design, but I’m not sure now that I could go back to doing a purely desk-based job. I enjoy working with my hands and being able to create, and I also enjoy working with a product that is always a little bit different. So maybe something like ceramics or screen printing would appeal to me.
What motivates you?
To be honest it’s all about satisfying people. When someone is truly happy with your product there’s no better feeling.
Where was your last holiday?
I’ve had two stag dos in Amsterdam in the past few months... I’m done with holidays for the year.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I have to say my business partner Johnnie [Tate], he has so much drive and belief that we can succeed which makes everything we’ve done possible.
What keeps you up at night?
Worst business decision?
Opening a pizzeria before we had the EPOS up and running.
Best business decision?
Getting the EPOS up and running.
What are you reading at the moment?
Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (joking, love you guys). I’ve just finished Educated by Tara Westover, her life was pretty crazy
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Stay true to your vision – everyone will have an opinion of what you should be doing but I think it’s important to stay true to what you started out to do, it’s the only way to keep your brand and product in tact.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I think it would be more respect for people who work in the industry. We have some absolute troopers in our company, and I don’t think people always appreciate the effort it takes to keep the service and standards so high day in day out; it’s not easy.
CV to date
Born: London, 1985
Education and/or training: studied Marketing at Leeds Met; worked as a graphic designer before building a pizza oven and self-teaching myself how to make pizza.
2014-present - founder and chef | Yard Sale Pizza