I was a lawyer in London at Allen & Overy working long hours and we wanted a change. My family were in the hotel business anyway but it’s Sam, my husband, who is really the restauranteur. He left playing professional rugby to start his career working in Michelin-starred restaurants in London and he has the talent when it comes to the food and drinks side of things. It’s his passion.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That you can change. You don’t always have to do the same thing for 60 years. Also, to take risks. We did. Some worked. Some didn’t but we always learnt from them. Although it’s stressful when things don’t work out as you planned, it usually ends well.
What do you do in your spare time?
We see friends, family and our children; we love entertaining and having big Sunday lunches.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
We love Marrakesh. I think the rooftop at El Fenn has to be one of the most lovely places to sit and have a drink as the mullahs chant their call to pray which they have done for hundreds of years. There are also some amazing places to visit from gardens to the YSL Museum, the Atlas Mountains and the coast.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I’m not sure anything is as good as working in hospitality. It’s creative, interesting, fun and there is something so nice about seeing people enjoying themselves with their family and friends. I think I would have loved the film business too but I’m a bit too old now to start another career.
Where was your last holiday?
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
What keeps you up at night?
Best business decision?
Opening our first restaurant as it set us on a path to doing what we do. Although we made lots of mistakes, it ended up ok in the end.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Promise by Xinran about four generations of a Han Chinese family which goes through the last 100 years of China’s history from the fall of the Qing dynasty to Cultural Revolution and beyond.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Get help from someone in the business who has run a successful hotel/restaurant and listen to their advice. A mentor.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
All the taxes and rates, as it just makes it so tough on smaller businesses.