What was your vision for Redemption and what inspired the idea? We created Redemption with the aim of providing Londoners with an opportunity to “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” and to prove that socialising with friends doesn’t always need to be at the expense of your health. Together with Catherine Salway – my business wifey – we came up with the bones of the brand and I put the vegan meat on. Catherine, the former brand director of Virgin Group, and I are a perfect team with different skills but the same ethics and drive to create a legacy brand.
We wanted to have purpose at the heart of what we created. Catherine and I had been looking at emerging global food trends and movements, and we knew that the bar would be ahead of its time with veganism and alcohol-free drinking, but eventually the world would be ready for a little Redemption.
With extensive experience as a chef, did it require more effort or creativity to come up with a delicious plant-based menu?
Absolutely. The dishes we serve are not only plant-based, they are gluten-free and refined sugar-free too, so it was quite a challenge, especially in the early days when the ingredients we wanted to use were much harder to get hold of commercially. I have always had a natural curiosity when it comes to ingredients and a desire to experiment, which sometimes got me into trouble when I was a young commis chef, but it turned out to be a perfect attribute for becoming a development chef. I was often impetuous and I had a yearning to play with the new exotic ingredients on the scene from the Pacific Islands and Australia; to shake it up and break the rules a bit. Following the rules was important when I trained as a chef in New Zealand in the mid ’80s, especially when I worked at fine dining restaurants where work was extremely regimented and the cuisine was about as classical and precise as you could get. It wasn’t much fun at the time, but I learned the classic culinary foundations that I would rely on later in my career. Creating dishes for Redemption continues to stretch me, but it’s exciting to be part of a new way of eating.
Redemption has been described as the best vegan restaurant in London. What makes it so popular?
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