We've been working hard to build a following and as part of that comes our next big venture (a Chef Residency in South East London) on the journey to having our own space, but what is this “residency” that you've been hearing about lately? Here's our definition, and a small compilation of some really successful ones....
At this point it's probably worth mentioning that another gorgeous sunny day in London can only serve to remind us just how quickly July is going arrive. With what's left on our seemingly unending list of things to get done before we open, I think it's safe to say that we've got our work cut out for us! We are going to be teaming up with a good friend in the industry over Summer, CGF, who also wants to carve out her own little niche in the universe and like us is undeterred by the financial, political and physical difficulties of our wonderful hospitality industry! The financial side alone would be enough to make the uninitiated tremble in their little booties, but the physical requirements of the life we lead can also be particularly devastating to one's health and social life. I could go on about this, but that's not what this post is about....and it's not like we didn't have a choice with what we are doing! Still want to know what a Chef Residency is?!
The first 9 months of Smoke & Salt have helped us develop everything about our food and make sure that we can execute our ideas in a restaurant environment (ie not just at home!). After 7 successful popups it's time to take the next step on our journey. A Chef Residency can, in our opinion, simply be described as an extended popup. For us it means we can potentially, reap the benefits of a having and running a restaurant, but without the initial capital investment needed to kick it all off. We'll get to manage all of the day to day costs (staffing, food costs, additional equipment, bills, etc) that just aren't as much of a concern when running a popup. The biggest advantage of this (if you're keeping up) is the chance to get Smoke & Salt “out there” a bit more and garner an even greater following. More wonderful guests to serve on a day to day basis can only improve our food as we look to make it into the big leagues one day (I'm allowed to dream, right!?).
We continue to work on our business plan (really not the most fun part of the week for a chef who longs to be sweating at his stove) and before seeking out our own investment, we will NEED to have a business plan in place which we intend to populate with tried and tested numbers supplemented by a growing social following (yeah, it's not just about the food any more guys!). A residency will do just that, and we're sure there will be plenty of other skills we'll pick up along the way.
Residencies are not just for the small startup businessees either as lately we've been seeing a selection of some big-name chefs going on sabbaticals from their regular spaces as they take their show on a road. Check out our short-list of these and some others that have come a long way since their early days and let us know if you can think of any others we can visit! R.