How I Got Here: Lily Bovey

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Lily Bovey co-founder of 'climate positive' burger brand GROUND Ethical Butcher STAKEhaus

Related tags: Street food

The founder of STAKEhaus, who has just launched 'climate positive' burger brand GROUND with The Ethical Butcher, on her love of the street food scene and hopes for a more sustainable future.

Why restaurants?
I left school not really knowing what I wanted to do so I moved to London and just started to try things out. I settled on PR for a bit, but the routine of an office job just wasn’t for me. I really struggled, thinking I may never find what made me tick.. but then I realised the one thing I always came back to was food and cooking. I got into street food because it was an easy way I could get my food into peoples’ mouths, I perfected my product, got my gazebo and just went for it.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
I really wish I had known more about the serious side of running a business beforehand. Things like VAT, PAYE and Taxes were so unknown to me and I certainly created more stress for myself than if I’d understood it all from the start.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
Silo. Yummy food and zero waste… what’s not to love?

What motivates you?
I just want to do well and work hard. I’ll eventually live by the sea and hopefully be able to look back and say “yeh I gave it my all”.

What keeps you up at night?
I dream of having a clone and the things we could accomplish.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I have a lovely group of mates I’ve made through the street food scene and we all lean on each other for all sorts of advice. It’s like a little family and something I’m very grateful for.

Coffee or tea?
Green tea.

How often do you check your email?
Every five minutes.

How do you let off steam?
Dog walks and going to the seaside.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
The sofa is my happy place, but I love eating out.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
Instant noodle pimped up ramen.

Typical Sunday?
Lazy morning watching Sunday Brunch, lunch with family with lots of wine.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Open my street food business.

Favourite holiday destination?
Thailand, love the food and beaches.

What are you currently reading?
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey.

What boxset are you currently watching?
The Flight Attendant.

What was your dream job growing up?
Radio DJ.

What time do you wake up?

Worst business decision?
A few years ago I signed up for a lease on a £15k piece of equipment, I used the item for four months and have been paying the lease off ever since. Didn’t really think that one through...

Best business decision?
I took a stall in Camden Market and it was a total game-changer for my business STAKEhaus. We are still there now.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Stay strong!! You’ll probably miss out on a bit of fun with your friends but if this is your dream then keep up the good work and it will pay off. 

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I’d love for sustainability to be easier for us all to achieve. It’s not fair that we all sometimes have to choose a more financially viable product over a sustainable one, and I get it because it all comes down to the margins at the end of the day but I do wish that things could be different... perhaps soon they will be.


Born in London, Bovey moved to London when she was 18 having decided not to go to university after finishing her A-levels. Having spent a year working as a junior PR for Universal, she got into street food because of her love of food and cooking. In 2015 she launched steak frites street food brand STAKEhaus, acquiring a stall in Camden Market that she still continues to operate. Last year Bovey also joined forces with The Ethical Butcher’s Farshad Kazemian to create 'climate-positive' burger brand GROUND, which now has a long-term residency at The Spurstowe pub near London Fields.

Related topics: Street Food, Profiles

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