You may have noticed that food is a big focus for Soho House & Co this year. Here, Martin Kuczmarski explains why and shares details of what’s going on around the world
At the end of last year I decided that our focus for 2017 needed to be food. Friends and family often ask me to take them for dinner at a Soho House restaurant and there was only a handful that I felt proud of. It made me realise that our sites are not consistent enough; we need to get the food in all our clubs and restaurants from a 7.5 to at least a 9 out of 10 – to be good enough that you would travel to our clubs and restaurants just for the food.
I am leading this project with the support of Tom Collins, Andrea Cavalliere, Matthew Thomas, Pierre Dorneau and Gus Haughton, who is also co-ordinating the projects. But it already has the backing of all the general managers, head chefs and everyone working in our clubs and the excitement has started to show on the plate.
We are focusing on three ways to improve: internally, through our people; by working with external influencers; and social & communication. We need our food coverage to compete with the press attention we get for interior design. You can see details of what will be happening below.
I’ll be in touch during the year to let you know how we’re doing, but although we’re calling it Food 2017 this project will never end. And it isn’t just for GMs and HCs: it needs support from all our teams. Everyone is involved in making sure our members and guests see the passion on the plate. It’s up to you to make it happen, and we will only succeed with your support. MK
Front and back of house teams now taste our menus ahead of service each day so every detail is covered.
Ever wanted to run your own restaurant? House Eight lets our future head chefs and GMs create pop-ups in our sites. From writing menus and drinks lists to sourcing produce and serving it up, it’s a chance to take on more responsibility and showcase their talent. Read more about the first popup, House Eight here and watch a video of the team here.
General managers and head chefs are going on monthly “dates” to check out interesting restaurants near them.
Each head chef has chosen a rising star in their kitchen, who will get extra training rotating between sections in the kitchen, and cross exposure working both front of house and in a different site.
Cookhouse trainings are getting even better, including sessions with Michelin star holders like Skye Gyngell and Merlin Labron-Johnson in the UK, and vegan chef Amy Chaplin in the US.
Chefs, GMs and support teams are sharing pictures and creative recipes via email and Whatsapp.
Front-of-house people, including general managers, will spend time in the kitchen to help them give more informed service and work better as a team. Chefs will also try working front of house.
Each site now has a budget to spend on inspirational cookbooks to build up a kitchen library.