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Kindling Restaurant

By March 20th, 2021No Comments

A conversation with Holly Taylor from Kindling Restaurant


by Aimee Rigby/20th-March-2021

So, welcome to Zero Waste Kode, would you like to introduce yourself and your business?

Hi, Aimee. I’m Holly Taylor. And I am one of two head chef owners at a business in Brighton called Kindling. And we started it just over a year ago with some financial help. And we’re a restaurant that puts seasonality and sustainability kind of at the heart of what we do. We’re a very small business, but we try and do our very best to do what we can to bring people lovely food in as ethical a way as we possibly can.

 

Fantastic. Yeah, that sounds really good. So, you mentioned a little bit there just about your journey. So, in a bit more sort of depth, what was your journey to opening Kindling, you know, what inspired you to open this sustainable restaurant?

So, I always wanted to open a restaurant with my best friend. And we’ve both worked at various restaurants kind of throughout the southeast of London. And we’ve worked in places where we’ve been really inspired by the way that people kind of source ingredients and manage waste. And we’ve worked in places that we’ve been, you know, less inspired by. We’ve also spent probably most of our friendship, our holidays, travelling around the world and eating at places that put that at the heart of what they do. And so, we’ve always wanted to kind of open somewhere where that’s kind of the guiding principle, there’s lots of places that say that they sourced local ingredients, or that they’re sustainable, but we wanted to actually try our very best, as a small place, to live by those values. Toby, my business partner worked very first of all, as a KP at St. John, and I think that sort of inspired him to the idea of using really seasonal ingredients and using all of everything. And then over the years we’ve dabbled in little bits and pieces. And Kindling was kind of a coming together of all of those principles for us, really trying to kind of put on a plate what we stood for.

A conversation with Holly Taylor from Kindling Restaurant


by Aimee Rigby/20h-March-2021

So, welcome to Zero Waste Kode, would you like to introduce yourself and your business?

Hi, Aimee. I’m Holly Taylor. And I am one of two head chef owners at a business in Brighton called Kindling. And we started it just over a year ago with some financial help. And we’re a restaurant that puts seasonality and sustainability kind of at the heart of what we do. We’re a very small business, but we try and do our very best to do what we can to bring people lovely food in as ethical a way as we possibly can.

 

Fantastic. Yeah, that sounds really good. So, you mentioned a little bit there just about your journey. So, in a bit more sort of depth, what was your journey to opening Kindling, you know, what inspired you to open this sustainable restaurant?

So, I always wanted to open a restaurant with my best friend. And we’ve both worked at various restaurants kind of throughout the southeast of London. And we’ve worked in places where we’ve been really inspired by the way that people kind of source ingredients and manage waste. And we’ve worked in places that we’ve been, you know, less inspired by. We’ve also spent probably most of our friendship, our holidays, travelling around the world and eating at places that put that at the heart of what they do. And so, we’ve always wanted to kind of open somewhere where that’s kind of the guiding principle, there’s lots of places that say that they sourced local ingredients, or that they’re sustainable, but we wanted to actually try our very best, as a small place, to live by those values. Toby, my business partner worked very first of all, as a KP at St. John, and I think that sort of inspired him to the idea of using really seasonal ingredients and using all of everything. And then over the years we’ve dabbled in little bits and pieces. And Kindling was kind of a coming together of all of those principles for us, really trying to kind of put on a plate what we stood for.

Holly Taylor. Co-owner of Kindling Restaurant

Fantastic, yeah, so obviously, with what you’re standing for, in what ways is Kindling sustainable and ethical and all of that good stuff, what are some of the strategies you employ?

So, it’s taken us a while to get there. But definitely one of the things that was really key to what we wanted to do was work as much as possible and as closely as possible with really local suppliers. So, people in our local area who are actually growing fruit and vegetables or raising meat in a kind of natural and ethical way.

So, we work with Chef’s Farm who are based over in Chichester, and they grow a lot of their own produce and source a lot of stuff from other local farms. So, we have an ongoing dialogue with Tom who owns the business, and we tend to plan our menus with his input. So, we have a chat with Tom, we see what he’s got that’s coming into season, how long we’ve got left on certain ingredients. We write a draft menu, we send that off to Tom and see if any of this going to be a problem- and it’s kind of a collaborative project that way, working with what’s available in the local area. We also work directly with some farmers like Roly up at Saddlescombe, to source our meats. But we also work with a local butcher who source everything kind of free range and naturally read. So again, it allows us to kind of work with produce that’s been fed grass and raised in a very kind of slow and natural way. And then on top of that we try to do as much as we can, because we’re working so super seasonally with everything, to preserve stuff and minimise food waste, and try and make the best of the produce that we have in the glut months during the summer, so that our menu is still interesting in the colder months in the winter. So right now would be really difficult for us in terms of getting lots of interesting produce. But we tend to have sort of fridges and store cupboards full of things that we’ve preserved over the summer, the spring and the autumn, that we can then use in our winter menus.

And we also have an arrangement with Tom, whereby any veg waste product that we can’t turn into something for the menu actually goes back to him for composting to be used to grow the veg for next year.

 

Wonderful. So, I see the advertisement as you know, sort of seasonal produce on a lot of the hospitality sector websites. Why is it exactly that using seasonal produce is a sustainable alternative to just you know, using any old produce Why seasonal?

The first thing is obviously that seasonal means that it can be grown locally. And that in itself is useful because it cuts down, if you’re sourcing these things locally, on the kind of air miles of the produce transport. So as I said, all of our produce comes pretty much from Tom at Chef’s Farm. And it’s all grown in the local area. And that’s, that’s a product of the fact that it is seasonal.

So obviously, in the UK, we can’t grow things like avocados and pineapples, and they have to be flown in. So as a business, we avoid those ingredients and try and use more local things as an alternative to those that we can then sort of have that lower carbon footprint with. So that’s the first part of it. And the other part of it is,

I firmly believe that when things are grown at the time of the year that they’re meant to be grown at, that first of all, they taste better, like tomatoes that are grown in British summer taste phenomenal in a way that tomatoes that are grown in Morocco and flown in in December don’t.

And also, they require less kind of intensive farming and chemicals and things to grow. Because they’re growing at the time of year that’s natural for them. So, they’re a little bit less of an impact on the environment.

And so, we really like the seasonality of the British food calendar, we find it really exciting. Like the limitations actually make us more creative. And it means that like when it’s coming up to like wild garlic season, or we’re getting really excited about asparagus coming in, or strawberries or tomatoes, we really want to make the most of that thing for the period of time where it’s really peak.

 

So, how do you strive to be minimal waste, I can imagine as a restaurant that must be quite difficult in all aspects of you know what goes into a restaurant.

Yeah, I think the first thing we do is any veggies that we can’t use- and we do go out of our way to try and use all the bits of everything on the menu if we possibly can. Like we’re known for putting sort of weird and wonderful things on that people perhaps haven’t tried before, we’ve done crispy fried fish frames before in the fryer, as a way to use up fish bones.

We do things with the outer leaves of the cauliflower, we will ferment and use just about every kind of sort of veg trim and fruit trim to see whether it turns into something interesting. But if there is stuff that we can’t use, or we just have too much volume of it for it to be a useful product, then that does go back to Chef’s Farm to be used as compost.

So that’s one way that we reduce our kind of compostable food waste. Like most restaurants, things like cardboard and glass and stuff get recycled. And we’re working on trying to reduce our plastics. But that’s actually really difficult on a commercial scale at the moment. And it’s always a trade-off, if you put something for example, in a vacuum bag, then that gives it a longer shelf life, which means it’s less likely to end up in the bin. But we are looking into options of biodegradable food bags at the moment so that that will have a reduced impact as well. And also, the way that our approach to meat is always trying to use all of an animal.

So, where we possibly can, we’ll buy a whole sheep from Roly at Saddlescombe and we’ll work our way through all of the cuts. So, the legs and the shoulders will probably go on the menu. And then the kind of more prime cuts things like a rack will go on our specials board over the weekend. And then that way, we’re using up all of the animal and any bones and things will be saved to be used for stock.

Above images; Tasty dishes from Kindling Seared Salmon and Grilled Mallard and the ethos of being seasonable and 100% local

So, getting to the nitty gritty now, how did COVID change the way you’re currently operating or will operate in the future when lockdown is lifted?

I mean, obviously, at the moment, we can’t operate as a restaurant. So, we are doing finish at home menus. And we’re doing those over the weekends, three course meal in a box that people can order either for collection or for delivery within the local area. And it’s just a way to keep our brand alive really. It’s quite difficult to do much more than that at the moment.

 

Yeah, so one of the biggest times of the year for restaurants is coming up, Valentine’s Day with you know, a meal out being the ‘done thing’. How are you trying to keep that brand alive during Valentine’s Day in lockdown this year?

So, we got on that bandwagon pretty quickly. We are doing a plant based and an omnivore option; a six-course finish at home menu in a box and what we’ve always done with our finish at home menus is make them mix and match. Being based in Brighton we find that a lot of our customer base, there’ll be like one person who’s vegetarian or vegan partnered with somebody who’s a meat eater. So, we try and make our boxes flexible so that people can pick to have a mixture of menus or to have the same menu depending on their dietary preferences. And we’re doing a six-course menu with simple instructions where everything’s kind of premade and somebody just needs to assemble or warm things up at home to make it into a real feast for two.

 

So where can our listeners find out more about Kindling?

So, we are on social media @kindlingrestaurant on Instagram, and obviously we have a Twitter and a Facebook. We also have a website which is kindlingrestaurant.com, and on there you can see what we’re doing for our finish at home as well as what we do when we’re operating as a normal restaurant.

 

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for your time, Holly, and for coming on the podcast.

No problem.

 

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