How I Got Here: Jamie Barber

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here: Jamie Barber restaurateur and founder of the London-based Hush Collection

Related tags: Hush, Jamie Barber, Casual dining, Multi-site

The restaurateur and founder of the London-based Hush Collection, which operates the Haché and Cabana brands, on the importance of location, challenging industry perceptions and gatecrashing Kylie Minogue's birthday party.

Why restaurants?
I set up Hush with Roger Moore’s son Geoffrey when I was 27 and didn’t know any better! 

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career? 
Have a clear vision at the outset, write it down, and refer to it regularly to make sure you’re on track.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
Soho House, JKS and Yauatcha.

What motivates you?
Creating concepts that people love.

What keeps you up at night?
Curve balls.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I suck in opinions from everywhere, from senior industry figures to bar backs, so wouldn’t say there’s any one person.

What time do you wake up?
7am.

Coffee or tea?
Tea and then coffee.

How often do you check your email?
Too often.

How do you let off steam?
Playing jazz, and playing tennis.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Netflix every time.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home? 
Beef wellington.

Typical Sunday?
Ferrying kids to various sporting events.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Gate-crashing Kylie Minogue’s birthday party.

Favourite holiday destination?
Tuscany.

What are you currently reading?
Out of Her Depth​ by Lizzy Barber, my sister.

What boxset are you currently watching?
Inventing Anna​.    

What was your dream job growing up?
Owning a record company.

Best business decision?
Taking an 8,000 sq ft site in Mayfair with no track record and limited funds and turning it into an amazing restaurant.

Worst business decision?
Taking a 3,000 sq ft restaurant in Newcastle without properly understanding the market.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?  
Don’t shy away from being ambitious.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be? 
The perception that somehow working in restaurants is unskilled. 

Bio

Born in London in the early 70s, Barber studied Law at Bristol University, followed by a post grad (also at Bristol) and later a Teaching Diploma at the London College of Music. Before founding Hush in Mayfair in 1999, he worked as an entertainment lawyer at Harbottle & Lewis. As well as Hush, Barber has founded/operated restaurant brands including Sake No Hana, Kitchen Italia Group, Villandry Restaurants, Cabana group, and Haché group. Most recently he founded meal kit business My Supper Hero in partnership with singer and TV personality Myleene Klass.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Casual Dining

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