It all began with an email from Dave eighteen months ago asking for my opinion on a food shop that was for sale in Chelsea. The shop fell through but that conversation led to another and then another and a year later we found ourselves in an old art gallery in the middle of South Kensington deciding where our (now sadly defunct- I was outvoted) massive live lobster tank would go.
Since that day we have sweated over a hundred page lease, sailed The Irish Sea in a force 10 gale and sampled more chutney than is strictly reasonable. We have been to Cornish fish markets at dawn, butchered whole lambs in Essex and shared a bed in a Dublin dive, all in the pursuit of bringing the best tasting produce that we can find to our small corner of Kensington.
It has been a proper labour of love and I don’t think either of us has really thought about anything else, much to the chagrin of our long-suffering wives and children. We have found ourselves having ludicrously detailed conversations about brackets and grouting, have pondered the greatness or otherwise of a million cheeses and a plethora of scotch eggs. We have smelt up close and personal, a sewer to decide if a double seal rather than a single was needed (it was). We’ve bought old delivery bikes off EBay and picked them up from Slough and St Neots. Licence applications are terrible things. Kempton Antique Market has sold more antique meat cleavers in the last few months than anything else, I’d wager – come and see them, they’re hanging on our wall, where my lobster tank should have been.
We have formed the most incredible team consisting of among others, designers, architects, shop fitters, suppliers, seamstresses and staff. We have had amazing highs and some crippling lows but not once have either of us regretted leaving our jobs to make this happen. Today as I write we are five days from opening our doors for the first time and our shop front has literally just been finished. It feels like a huge milestone.