13 November, 2018
Last Tuesday, our student trainees and our F&B team had the opportunity to attend Nicholas Lander’s sharing session on the essential ingredients for a restaurateur from his book “The Art of the Restaurateur” and his expertise on the best menus a restaurant can have from “On the Menu: The World’s Favourite Piece of Paper”.
Nick Lander’s eventful life as a restaurateur began in 1980 after graduating from Cambridge University and buying L’Escargot in Soho, London. Back in the 1980’s, most restaurants in the UK were still run by foreign chefs so Nick Lander became one of Britain’s first restaurateurs. L’escargot went on to become one of the capital’s most renowned restaurants.
According to Nick Lander, having a good sense of humour is a vital ingredient to being a good restaurateur because “Whatever you imagine your day is going to be like as a restaurateur, it is likely to be the complete opposite.” Another key ingredient to being a successful restaurateur is to have a nose for the right location. “Restaurants survive and thrive where the rent is cheap. Restaurateurs can only pay a certain portion of their turnover to rent, probably no more than 80%” said Nick.
Our F&B Team Engaged with Nick Lander
Nick Lander with our Student Trainees and F&B Team
On menus, Nick told us “I have been and continue to be absolutely fascinated by menus, they are the single piece of paper that brings the world the most pleasure.” This is something we could all agree on as he showed us one of the very first menus in the world and how much menus have changed throughout the years. He also pointed out the sheer importance of colour in a menu.
One of our student trainees asked "I'm sure you travelled all around the world and eaten at many different restaurants that serve the same cuisine. What's one dish you feel that restaurants still get wrong to this day?" to which Nick Lander answered, "My gripe is with restaurants and hotels that overcomplicate either the welcome or the final thank you." He went on to explain how simplifIying a dish exudes such a sense of confidence, so less is more. We also learned that the biggest difference between cooking in the UK and Hong Kong is the salt levels. "Apparently, people in Hong Kong have a much lower tolerance for salt" said Nick Lander.
When it comes to what differentiates a restaurateur from the rest, Nick Lander showed us that it boils down to your love for food and wine. That passion will be the foundation for a good restaurateur.