This past wednesday, March 6th we were joined by vibrant members of London’s underground and independent cooking community to celebrate the ethos and ideas that motivate innovation in the kitchen. We were delighted to host the evening at PipsDish, a wonderful space tucked away behind Upper Street in Islington in a converted Citroen Garage.
All too often, we speak to people who have a wonderful idea for a foodie pop-up, but who get stuck when it comes to making it happen. Or perhaps they have been running a successful Supper Club in their home for a while, but are unsure how to take it to the next level.
We decided it was time to address these questions head-on. So for this Pop Up Meet Up we invited some of our most admired restauranteurs, who have grown their businesses from humble pop-up beginnings to more established movements and asked them to share their stories.
Our panelists for the evening were Philip Dundas of PipsDish, Martin Morales of Ceviche, and Cynthia Shanmugalingam of Kitchenette, the UK’s first food business incubator. Laura Day of Digest Magazine played compere for the evening and conversation lubrication came in the form of 2 ridiculously tasty wines supplied by A Grape Night In.
“Not for the faint-hearted” (Philip Dundas)
Starting up your own restaurant is serious business. Philip and Martin shared their personal journeys – ‘cooking for friends and family’ at first, and then asking for referrals until they were filling rooms entirely with newcomers. Using the pop-up model, Kitchenette looks to give emerging cooks the tools necessary to get their ideas out of the house and into the world.
Philip made an insightful point: “pop-up is entrepreneurship,” an ideal way to ease into bigger projects, build a community and develop a business plan. Having been through an accelerator program, we here at We Are Pop Up completely support a model which triumphs speed and access to new resources. Projects like Kitchenette are great for exposure and can facilitate growth in unexpected and exciting ways.
How Do You Take The Next Steps?
The panel uniformly agreed that ‘waiting for the perfect opportunity’ to take the next step could mean you miss a number of chances to innovate and develop. Don’t wait – mortgage your house, borrow your friend’s lounge, steal crockery from neighbours and spread the word. Reveal your passion for food, look after your guests and remember why it is you embarked on the adventure in the first place – the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
“Then you start inviting the ‘sneezers’,” that is: the bloggers and writers whose every nasal expulsion makes news. Having people in the room with clout and reach will help extend your network and your story. Whilst asking directly for reviews or a big news break may seem like the obvious outcome, simply asking for their impressions, ideas and suggestions for your project will help lay the foundation for meaningful long-lasting relationships.
What Are You Waiting For?
Philip’s recent “Opportunities For Cooks” post hits on some great upcoming opportunities for food entrepreneurs at PipsDish. We will be announcing more details about the application process towards the end of the month. Make sure you’re signed up to wearepopup.com to receive updates via email.
Further impressions of #PUMU: The Effervescent Collective reviews the evening.