The second most frequently asked question coming my way these days (after “aren’t you that guy?”) is “now what are you up to?” Usually, I just give a bewilderingly vague and shamefully unsatisfying reply, like “cooking” or “this and that,” but I’m not trying to be flippant. The reason my answers are so unspecific is because to get into specifics would take an awful lot of time. There is so very much going on. I’m leaving the Euston Tap in a matter of days so I can finally take the time I need to sit down and sort through it all. But I’m sure you’ll still find me there, just on the other side of the bar from now on. It is London’s best pub, after all.
First and foremost: cooking. I will be working as a stagiaire in some of the country’s best restaurants, the names of which I cannot reveal, but rest assured they are led by some of my culinary idols. They are unpaid gigs, and I’m sure I will be on the very bottom rung of the kitchen ladder, but to have opportunities like these is a real dream come true and I am beside myself with excitement. I’m also scared out of my mind.
Additionally, I will be establishing myself as a caterer and consultant for private and corporate events. I’m doing a few parties and pop-ups in the near future, but the catering business won’t really get going until the end of the summer, when I’ve finished most of my stages and have more time to focus on setting it up properly. I intend for this to be my bread and butter for the next year, so I want to do it right.
Meanwhile, I am appearing in the MasterChef Experience at the Good Food Show in Birmingham, this June 15-19, along with my contemporaries Tom and Sara, as well as John, Gregg, Dhruv, Mat, and other MC alumni. Stop by to watch us cook and say hello!
At the end of June I’ll be heading up to Scotland to do something I’ve always wanted to do: brewing. And I’m going to go nuts with it. I’ll be spending three days with BrewDog producing one of the most insane lagers the world has ever seen, then cooking a beer dinner at their restaurant Musa in Aberdeen (details to follow). After that I’m trucking up to Black Isle Brewery to make another properly bonkers beer, and I have been discussing the possibility to brew with yet another respected Scottish brewery while I’m up there to make a neat little hat trick.
On top of all this, I plan to doing a bit of writing and recipe development for various companies, new digital media projects, a few appearances here and there, and I may also have a hand in curating an art exhibit and even making music. The people who I have met through my newfound notoriety have generally been lovely, and I’m thrilled about my upcoming collaborations.
Finally: the restaurant. There is a restaurant in the works, though it’s all quite nebulous right now. It would be disastrously foolish of me to think that I could immediately open up shop with virtually no experience, so while I am starting to meet with potential backers, I am going to take my time and build up my understanding of kitchen mechanics and restaurant management before I begin to solidify any plans. But the goal is to get the ball rolling early next year, for an opening late next year.
It’s all happening now. I am grateful for the continuing support I’ve had from my family, friends, and fans. It’s such a lovely feeling when people tell me they’d love to try my food, and I promise that soon enough, they can!