How I Got Here: Soren Jessen

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with restaurateur and 1 Lombard Street owner Soren Jessen

Related tags: Restaurant, London

Previously a banker, Danish-born restaurateur Soren Jessen owns fine dining restaurant 1 Lombard Street, as well as the more causal Ekte Nordic Kitchen in the Bloomberg Arcade.

Why restaurants?
There are so many aspects to the profession. Apart from the obvious love of food, wine, and dealing with people, I love the complexity behind the scenes.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That food, wine and service are only three of the many key factors to a successful restaurant.

What do you do in your spare time?
I cook with my three-year old daughter.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Margot Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Farming; growing food.

What motivates you?
My wife and my two daughters.

Where was your last holiday?
Denmark in July. Blue sky and sunshine, hot air, cold sea and fresh shrimp.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
For service, Jeremy King. For food, The River Café.

What keeps you up at night?
Finding good staff!

Worst business decision?
Deciding to open a restaurant in an area I didn’t know.

Best business decision?
To invest in an area I did know when I opened 1 Lombard Street in the City 21 years ago.

What are you reading at the moment?
Wilding by Isabella Tree.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Do it for love and make sure that you have enough money in the bank to allow for losing money in year one. It takes three years to establish a good restaurant.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Business rates and rents (sorry that was two).

CV to date

Education: Copenhagen Business School

Employment:
- A.P. Moller | Finance Dept
- Merrill Lynch | VP
- Goldman Sachs | Executive Director
- UBS | Executive Director
- Chairman, Director, Founding Shareholder | Atlantic Bar and Grill and Coast Restaurants
- Chairman Director | Jessen & Co Restaurants: 1 Lombard Street, Noble Rot Mayfair, Papillion Chelsea, Ilia Chelsea, Ekte Nordic Kitchen City
- Owner | SJ Advisory Business – Hospitality Investments
- Advisory Board | Herlufsholm Boarding School Denmark
- Committee member | Fine Wine and Art Charity for Action Against Hunger

Related topics: People

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