Speaking on BigHospitality’s latest UnitedWeStand podcast, current Cub head chef Matthew Scott and former St John and Silo chef Eddy Tejada say that even though restaurants must remain closed for now, there’s nothing stopping people from getting back into the kitchen.
“We’re a nomadic business,” says Scott. “And I like the fact that we’ve been referred to as some of the only folk in London that have started something new out of Covid, instead of just readjusting our business and aligning it to this new landscape.”
Initially operating out of the old Monty’s Deli site in London's Hoxton (they’ve since had to move operations to the Cub kitchen), and designed as 'an immersive restaurant experience for the home', Hot 4 U features a weekly changing, five-course set menu of 'playful' dishes that are available for either collection or delivery within the capital.
The concept is described as being a reflection of Scott and Tejada's passion for sustainability and high-grade produce, combined with a casual and accessible approach.
Menus draw from a range of global inspirations, with a focus on nose-to-tail eating.
“The whole idea formed as a result of the ongoing lockdown,” says Tejada.
“After seven weeks, we both agreed that we wanted to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again, and soon enough the opportunity came up. To be honest we would have been happy catering for 20 to 30 covers just to cover our overheads, but the response we’ve had has blown us away and given us the push we crave to make amazing food for everything.”
Scott equates that initial drive to launch something new as being a means to relieving an itch.
“Chefs don’t really like sitting down in one place twiddling their thumbs,” he says. “It’s all nice and good making sourdough at home, but it gets a bit boring too.”
In weeks before going into their first bricks and mortar site, the pair say they ran through the mechanics to make sure the machines was as well-oiled as possible by the time they got into the kitchen.
“The idea was to reach out to the suppliers we’ve worked with for years, and try to help to strengthen the food chain,” continues Scott.
“We wanted to procure all ingredients, ferments and products that people don’t have at home; do all the prep work; and create something that breaks down the barriers and offers customers a restaurant-style eating experience in their home.”
Despite the success of Hot 4 U in its first few weeks, though, the future of the concept remains unclear.
“It’s difficult to answer [what our future plans are for the business] because we’re looking forwards into the unknown right now,” says Scott. “But something new is coming out of this concept every day. [Me and Eddy] creatively bounce off one another, and every single day there’s a new idea and a new project that we want to get our teeth in to.”
#UnitedWeStand has been created by William Reed hospitality titles BigHospitality, Restaurant magazine and Morning Advertiser and is supported by Britvic, CocaCola European Partners and Unilever Food Solutions.
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