Called The Pepper Collective and part of partnership and experience agency SALT, the division is working with names including Rob Roy Cameron, Tom Brown, Alyn Williams, Jasmine Hemsley, Gizzi Erskine and Italian restaurateur Antonio Civita to open new venues this year.
The Pepper Collective will provide help with concept development and location sourcing to marketing, staff training, design, quality control and F&B strategy, according to SALT CEO Andrew Fishwick.
“I have known Neil and Handley for years and they think like I do about the future of hospitality; we all know our sector is changing beyond recognition and we believe that by working with the best, by being at the vanguard of the new movement and by incorporating new ways of thinking, we can create a group that makes a difference," says Fishwick.
The division has so far worked on Rankin’s plant-based restaurant Simplicity Burger, which opened at the tail-end of last year on London’s Brick Lane, but has numerous projects lined up for 2020. These include bringing a second restaurant from Cornerstone chef Tom Brown to life, and the launch of Veda Baby, an all-day ayurvedic restaurant from best-selling author and chef Jasmine Hemsley that is due to open Soho’s Wardour Street in the spring. The cafe will serve two or three simple daily and feature a traditional chai and dosa bar.
The collective will also be working with other high-end chefs, most notably Alyn Williams and Rob Roy Cameron. Williams, who left his role at restaurant Alyn Williams at The Westbury late last year after a decade there, is set to open a venue in the summer that will involve a fine dining restaurant as well as a pub with boutique rooms. Former Gazelle chef-patron Cameron, meanwhile, will open a 50-cover restaurant in the autumn.
It is also working with Gizzi Erskine and Rosemary Ferguson to create a permanent space for their plant-based burger concept F!LTH, which is slated to open in London’s West End, also in the spring. Launched in 2017, the ‘sustainable junk food’ brand has so far only operated in pop-up format in a number of locations, including at the Tate Modern in London. A national high street roll out of the brand is also being considered.
Other projects in the pipeline include Pillar, described as ‘a fully integrated wellness concept’ the will combine a digital fitness studio, a space to monitor health and wellness and a restaurant, when it opens in the summer. The Pepper Collective says it plans to open prime sites in three major cities in collaboration with performance coach and wellness expert Harry Jamieson.
It says it has also identified the first three sites for fast casual restaurant brand Root, which is a sustainable, healthier version of the classic British chip shop chip. Root will serve air-fried root vegetables that are served with flavoured salt and freshly made sauces. It says it has identified a franchised roll-out model for Root going forwards.
The Pepper Collective has also announced it will also become custodian of bar Fifty Carnaby to create a 120-capacity live music venue and late-night cocktail bar. It is also collaborating with Italian restaurateur Antonio Civita to grow his Panino Giusto Milanese restaurant group in the UK.