I love London. I was born here, I've lived here my whole life, I've constantly tried to escape it and it's always pulled me back in. While I don't love everything about it, I have a deep-seated belief that it's beholden on me as a Londoner that if I don't like everything that’s changed about London, I have to build something alternative. Having the opportunity to build something that reflects what I love about London in Selfridges, an iconic landmark of the West End, was one of the greatest honours of my career, and to see it take off and thrive has been such a rewarding process. In the restaurant the other day, I saw an exquisitely dressed, beautiful elderly woman wearing the most immaculate silk headscarf I've ever seen enjoying a cup of tea and our potato cake covered in cod’s roe by herself. I went to check in with her and she told me it was her third day in a row eating there and she’d thought everything was beautiful. As much as I love Brunswick House, the chance of this woman finding herself in Vauxhall three days in a row is very hard to imagine. I felt immensely proud in that moment to have done something that I felt was very reflective of what I think is good, interesting and beautiful about food.
I'm very hesitant to give business advice because I'm not a conventionally successful businessman. My restaurants have never made anyone rich and at the current rate they're probably not going to. I'm incredibly lucky – I have my children, I can pay the rent, put food on the table and I enjoy my job. Maybe I will make money in time, maybe I won't, but I think in the meantime, I have a sense of longevity and still really enjoy my work. Yes, it would be nice to have a bit more cash – I'd probably stress about things a bit less – but there's nothing that money can buy me that would make me happier than I already am. The thing that I’ve found over the years, and this is quite a conservative feeling on my part, is that whenever I've got carried away and tried to make money by putting the prices up or trying to think about profit, things have always gone completely in the opposite direction and alienated people – they spend more money, but they come less frequently. Whereas whenever I focused on what I love about this job, which is making as many people as happy as possible, while also investing as much care, love and attention into what we do as possible, we’ve succeeded.