Q What’s your first food memory?
My mom’s handmade green spinach pasta. I didn’t appreciate it at the time (what child wants to eat green pasta?) but now I love making it.
Q From graduating with a degree in engineering and working in finance to becoming a restaurateur. Is this as big a leap as it sounds?
I’ve always loved solving problems, whether in my early career as a food engineer in a biscuit factory or in finance helping a business look at doubling their profitability. Being a London restaurateur in the wellness space is about trying to help busy Londoners eat better and live more balanced lives. My approach is finding ways to inspire without being dogmatic about it.
Q If someone is looking to overhaul their approach to food, what is the most important thing they should start with?
Eating the balanced plate: 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% protein (vegetarian or not!) and 25% complex carbohydrates. This approach is simple to follow and doesn’t require any detoxing or restrictions to what you eat, while ensuring you are eating a balanced and nutritious meal every time.
Q Do you have a favourite recipe you could share? Something simple that would be a nutritious, zingy lunch you’d never get bored of
Yes, Buddha bowls with a yummy miso nut butter dressing. The great thing about Buddha bowls is that you can substitute the carbohydrate base, protein and vegetables with anything you like (or can find in your kitchen!). Why not try the bowl with wild rice instead of noodles, or instead of spring greens go for some sprouting broccoli, or what about fresh basil instead of mint, or sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of almonds, … the options are endless. So have fun with it!
Q What has been the main challenge in setting up your brand?
Learning that starting your own business means you have to work on the good, bad and the ugly! I wish I could spend all my time in the kitchen, but there’s so much more to it than that because you don’t have the budget to hire all the people you need to help you.
Q Any tips for would-be entrepreneurs?
Here are my top 5 tips:
- Follow your passion (you have to be passionate because there are so many ups and downs)
- Be ready to take the risk
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
- Stay balanced
- Family and friends are invaluable – don’t forget about a work / life balance
Q What are you most proud of creating?
A team that loves what we do and believe in Maple’s mission of making people happy.
Q What trends do you currently see emerging in the restaurant industry? Where will we be in three years?
We’ve seen so many restaurants closing in the recent months, I see brands thinking of new and different ways of collaborating like cross selling and combining operations and back office functions.
Q What next? Are you planning more branches?
Yes, always, and maybe finally getting around the finishing my cookbook which I started 3 years ago….