by Dominic Rolfe
What does the word hospitality mean to you and how has it changed since you started?
Hospitality means taking care of your customers and making sure they’re having a great meal, are enjoying the experience and making sure they leave in a positive mindset. They are the basics of hospitality – you can go into a lot of depth, the quality of the wine, the food, the whole experience but from a front-of-house perspective, even if the food isn’t amazing, if you’re having a great time and you feel like you’re in safe hands, that’s great hospitality.
Did you have a mentor?
I’ve worked for a few people that I would consider mentors. I worked for Tony Pappas and the Bayswater Brasserie guys. Tony was great for me. And when I worked for Tetsuya, he taught me a lot about hard work and making sure that everything is the same every time, that consistency is what you’re aiming for.
What was the goal when you opened and is it different now?
When I started out, I always wanted to have my own restaurant and be my own boss. And when that happened, it was about constantly improving.
I’m quite motivated by my staff and I find by keeping them completely in the game and enjoying working, they really motivate me. I never linger in bed in the morning, I’m always pretty pumped to go to work.
Do you have a piece of advice for young hospitality professionals starting out?
My mantra is consistency. I tell chefs and waiters that you need to do it the same every time. If you’re going to change it, it needs to be better and you have to let me know!
Did you have a piece of advice that you’ve carried through?
And my advice is the same whether you’re in the kitchen or on the floor: enjoy your work and leave your baggage at the door.
Just really enjoy your work and don’t be scared to ask questions. You can’t guess a lot of things! And don’t make the same mistake twice.