Completely by accident… I worked full-time in a local restaurant in Barnes while at university and never left. I love people, being around them, hosting them, working with them, watching them and talking to them. Love chatting!
Tell us something you wish you had been told at start of your career?
Pace yourself, because it never ever slows down!
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
Locally, where I live in Esher, Surrey Esher, I like Jose Pizarro The Swan Inn - I have many fond memories of meals there with friends and family. The garden area is lovely - it suits every occasion, and it’s two minutes from my house.
What motivates you?
Family. And the need to succeed.
What keeps you up at night?
Everything and nothing - the restaurant, world poverty, and who hasn’t got the right games kit.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Rebecca Mascarenhas was my first employer and her mentoring stays with me still.
Worst business decision?
Thinking Rome can be built in a day - ongoing…
Best business decision?
Opening Sam’s Riverside and subsequently Sam’s Larder with my amazing business partner Sam Harrison, who keeps me laughing even in the face of extreme adversity.
Coffee or tea?
Tea. My darling husband (‘tea slave’) brings me one every morning.
How often do you check our email?
If not working the Sunday morning is homework with kids, walk, lunch out with friends and family (in normal times), film on the sofa with the fireplace blazing.
Favourite holiday destination?
Paxos, Greece - can’t wait to get back there.
What are you currently reading?
Current bedtime Kindle reading is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Dream job when you were growing up?
Wanted to be a barrister, and used to go to the Old Bailey to watch court cases from the public gallery.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Learn your trade, and learn it well. And execute everything with good grace.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Staff! We have great staff, but there simply are not enough well-trained staff out there who have spent time learning their trade.
Born in London, Stocker studied a BA in English Literature at Surrey University. In 1992, she took her first restaurant job as a waitress at Rebecca Mascarenhas' beloved Sonny's Kitchen in London's Barnes, later progressing to restaurant manager and then operations manager. In 2008 she took over the back of house and accounts for business partner Sam Harrison's Sam’s Brasserie and Harrison’s Restaurant. With Harrison, Stocker then went on to found Genuine Restaurants Ltd in 2017, which opened Sam's Riverside in late 2019.