It's been a while since writing a more informative post about us and while not food-specific, from day 1 we knew that finding a home for Smoke & Salt was going to be key to testing out all of our ideas and making sure they would work...
When we started with this idea we had NO idea of where to start finding somewhere to cook and serve our food! Great way to start I know, but there is a reason for it. When A and myself sat down and started thinking about ideas of what the space would look like and who would be serving the food the first thing we thought about was how many people we wanted to serve. Believe it or not a lot of people think about the space first and the aesthetics of it all, but being stubborn chefs we felt we'd start with the number of people and then work back (we figured that between the two of us that we'd be able to serve 25-35 people in one go).
With a number in mind, ascertaining what “level” of food was next on the list. Would we be able to do the fine-dining food that we had be trained to cook or would we serve food in a family-style manner? It turns out we took a hybrid approach (which very much agreed with the concept we are building towards anyway) and decided to take the casual/fine-dining approach which we feel is a market that is primed for Smoke & Salt. This means we'd need at least 3 well-trained front of house staff to serve, clear & describe the food to our guests, not to mention deal with beverages too!
Kitchen-requirements would be kept to a minimum, with the short list being a 6-ring stove, fryer, working oven (convection ideally!), a 3 bay sink with pressurised water (what....you think the plates and cutlery are going to wash themselves!!?) and a couple of plating surfaces. These are literally the bare-bones we figured we'd need to get through a dinner with paying guests. It's really not much to ask for but failure to have any of these would make life tough!
Before jumping into things, we made sure to touch base with some other hosts, and find out about their experiences and concepts. We got in touch with the team from United Ramen (via twitter....turns out people are very willing to chat about their experiences!) and literally got ourselves stuck into a couple of their events. We met and chatted with Aaron Resch, owner and founder of United Ramen, from whom we learned about places to check out, who to get in touch with and then he mentioned Grub Club...a story that shall continue in Part 2! R.