Minute on the Clock – Jamie Grainger-Smith

10 October 2014 by
Minute on the Clock – Jamie Grainger-Smith

Sustainable hospitality consultant, entrepreneur and co-founder of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, Jamie Grainger-Smith launched sustainable and informal restaurant Think.Eat.Drink (T.E.D) in London's King's Cross in July. He talks to Hannah Thompson about creating a business for the future

What's the T.E.D ethos?
At our core is the supply chain; knowing and understanding the food we serve, in the setting we serve it. From designers to contractors, food and drink suppliers and operators, we are committed to responsible practices and sustainable resources.

What was the thinking behind the Think.Eat.Drink name?
Our original name was Eat Green but as time went on we began to realise that sustainability is about more than just eating green. You've been running your
consultancy since 2005.

Why set up a site of your own now?
It was always the plan to open a restaurant, but the consultancy kept me busy. It was important first to build a strong foundation for the consultancy to grow.

What does ethically sourced produce mean in practice?
We source our produce through our accredited scheme, which vets all members on their sustainable procedures, so we know we are working with people of the
same mindset.

Which dish on the menu most represents your mission?

How has your own background at River Café, Fifteen and the Acorn House restaurant contributed?
In knowing what customers want. Working with Jamie Oliver helped me enormously in understanding and being able to absorb pressure. I also now know that planning is key.

How much did it cost to get T.E.D started?
The site had been redundant for eight years, so it took a good amount of investment to get it to where it is today, from ventilation to frontage, licences and groundwork. We don't burn fossil fuels, so it's electric throughout.

What's been the biggest challenge in opening?
Funnily enough, it was opening in King's Cross. We had to present our concept and business plan to four electives, including the police and environmental health. We needed to convince them that we were beneficial to the area. Thankfully they agreed.

Has anything not been quite as you expected since you opened?
I am pleasantly surprised at the number of key businesses moving into the area as part of the regeneration, and I'm so happy to be part of the restaurant renaissance here too.

What are you most proud of where T.E.D is concerned?
That we've created a restaurant for the future. We took a lot of time and energy ensuring we stayed true to our values, and as we make more decisions, day-in day-out, our ethos is right at the heart of what we do.

What do you still want to achieve with T.E.D?
I'd like to develop the concept further and take it to new sites across London - watch this space!

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