Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation.
The free subscription digital magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for professionals in the world of food and hospitality. Our first readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe and parts of Asia.
Foodies that have a more than average interest in food & drinks relate strongly to the content and style of the online publication as well. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration.
INT21 No waste
INT20 Plant centric
INT19 Food and healthcare
INT18 Reach of the chef
INT17 Vote food
INT16 Menus of change
INT13 Future cooking
INT12 Understanding the millennials
INT11 Ownership to Usership
INT10 Plant Based
INT08 Reinventing Traditions
INT05 Shift Happens
INT04 Food & Responsibility
INT03 Food & Trends
INT02 Food & Farming
INT01 Food & Tech
Bill’s started ten years ago in East Sussex and has opened several restaurants in London since 2011. Central to the concept of Bill’s is local organic produce, authenticity, in a relaxed atmosphere. The colorful restaurants also function as a grocery store: the walls are covered with shelves stacked with Bill’s jams, olive oil, chips, chutneys and much more.
Bill’s likes to use reclaimed materials: the tables are decorated with candles in old jam jars and cutlery is placed in empty oat tins. Honest food is key to Bill’s menu and dishes are always prepared in the best possible way, often with an original twist. You will find French toast with walnut yoghurt and maple syrup for breakfast and shepherd’s pie with sweet potato for dinner. Large communal tables stacked with piles of news papers fill the dining room and all meals are available for takeout.
Various locations, UK
Union Jacks is Jamie Oliver’s latest concept. It started at the end of 2011 and its fourth restaurant will soon open in Covent Garden. People rave about Union Jacks and Jamie is ecstatic about his collaboration with famous pizza chef Chris Bianco. The secret is the slightly 'cheesy' feel of the place, a little tacky but still welcoming. Union Jacks believes that their staff should be happy because that in turn has a positive effect on the overall atmosphere. This is also the reason you will sometimes find waiters in the kitchen or chefs serving food up front: fun and respect for each other are primary. Union Jacks is decorated with light pastel colors and nostalgic details combined with neon signs and a cinema-board menu.
The restaurant has a locally-sourced policy and highlights British produce. The menu offers simple British retro dishes (such as fish fingers and prawn cocktail) and a selection of wood-fired flatbreads: pizzas with British inspired toppings like braised meat, smoked fish and Leicester cheese.
Various locations, UK
The extremely popular Polpo is the brainchild of best friends Russell Norman and Richard Beatty. Two years ago the first Polpo opened in Soho, quickly followed by Da Polpo, Polpetto (which will soon move to a bigger space), Spuntino and Mishkin’s. In a few weeks time, Polpo Smithfield will open its doors and rumor has it that the two men are already looking for their next location. The concept of Polpo is based on the Venetian wine bar: a humble restaurant serving sharing plates and great Italian wine. Inspired by the best Italian recipes, the food is simple but of outstanding quality. The menu offers a selection of classics like pizzette and risotto, comfort food like meatballs, and modern dishes such as mackerel tartare with flatbread.
Polpo can claim to have brought the Italian cocktail to London and now Aperol Spritz, a drink mixed with Aperol or Campari, Prosecco and soda water, is a popular drink. Mishkin’s, a take on the Jewish-American New York Deli (think Katz in New York) where Meg Ryan ate her ‘orgasmic’ pastrami sandwich) stands out amongst the other Polpo restaurants. Naturally, then Minshkin’s also sells Reuben sandwiches alongside other classics such as mac&cheese and meat loaf. Service in all Polpo spin-offs is casual and slightly eccentric; there is no dress code for staff and many of them sport colorful tattoos. Reservations can’t be made so it’s always busy outside Polpo as people queue up for a table.
Various locations, UK
Nuno Mendes opened his much-praised restaurant Corner Room in the Town Hall Hotel in London last year. At this gastro-bistro, Mendes serves high-quality food for relatively low prices in a casual setting. The small menu changes frequently and is always full of sharing plates such as lamb with macadamia crust and miso, or blueberries with goat’s cheese, caramel and brioche.
The Corner Room operates a walk-in only policy for dinner and doesn’t even have an email address, website or phone number. All this conveys an underground feeling that is wildly popular amongst Londoners and helps to create an exciting vibe that turns what initially looks like an anti-marketing approach into an excellent PR stunt.
Australian chef Bill Granger owns several successful restaurants in Australia and Japan and has now opened his first business in London. Granger&CO is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests sit in a light and spacious dining room and can choose from a selection of Australian and Asian inspired dishes or opt for some of Granger’s classics such as light ricotta hotcakes with banana for breakfast, parmesan chicken with lemon as a main, and pavlova with red berries and yoghurt cream for desert.
Granger&CO doesn’t take bookings. It’s always busy and hard to get a table but that only seems to get the crowd more excited; every day long queues of eager diners wait patiently to try some of Bill’s famous Sydney classics.
Fergus Henderson knows how to generate attention for a brand: write a book. He is most well known for his book Nose to Tail Eating . His restaurant St. John Bar & Restaurant has been packed with meat lovers every night of the week since its opening in 1994. Over the years Henderson has extended his concept to include the cafe St. John Bread & Wine, the St. John Bakery, his own wine label and, since 2011, the St. John Hotel and restaurant in London’s theater district.
The latest restaurant has a look that is typical to St. John: no-nonsense with simple wooden chairs, white plastered walls and white table linen. St. John’s menu changes daily and is centered around Fergus’s philosophy of nose-to-tail eating where nothing goes to waste. You will find pig shoulder (to share with your entire table), snails with bacon, and potatoes fried in beef dripping. There is always something cooking in the open kitchen as the restaurant is packed with guests enjoying an early breakfast until late at night.
The chef as a brand
How do you make a successful new business in times of continuing downturn? The answer: by building a strong brand name. Not only are famous chefs using their own name as a brand but they are also embracing new marketing methods. The trick? They make it look like they don’t use any marketing at all.
It’s striking that customers can’t book a table at many popular restaurants. Diners either have to arrive early in order to queue or they must wait at the bar until a table becomes available. By not taking reservations, restaurants don’t have to spend the extra time needed to organize them nor do they have to deal with no-shows. This no-reservation policy contributes to the sense of a restaurants’ popularity: long queues generate curiosity and draw more people in. Another trend is to keep guests up-to-date via social media; the daily menu of Ducksoup, for example, is shared via Tumblr and Twitter.
Customers sharing dishes is one of the big trends in London and often wine is made available by the glass. This way the servings are small and restaurants are left with less food wasted. Sharing is often the best way for the customer to taste as many things as possible without having to pay a fortune and it’s also a very social way of eating; one that has been popular in Mediterranean countries for centuries. Restaurant Nopi - the latest hotspot of popular London chef Yotam Ottolenghi - is a great example: the menu offers only three main courses; all the other options are dishes to share.
2. Union Jacks
Top 3 Hot concepts
3. Nuno Mendes
1. Fergus Henderson
2. Bill Granger
Top 3 London chefs
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3. The chef as a brand
1. Sharing dishes
2. No reservations
Top 3 Recession-busting trends
3x3: three trends, three chefs, three concepts
Text: Denise Kortlever & Lisanne Mathijssen | Photography: Patricia Niven and Mikkel Vang | Music: The Clash London calling
The recession has left its mark on London’s hospitality industry and yet new restaurants still continue to open in the British capital. Some of these are even very successful and continue to attract new customers. How do we explain their success? And how do these restaurants use the economic downturn in their advantage? We hope to inspire you with some of these recession-busting trends.