Stephen Tozer is one of the founders of Le Bab, Maison Bab and Kebab Queen that reinvented the kebab. When I say kebab - think Michelin star kebab. Stephen met him co-founder Ed at Oxford university which they parted ways, Ed to go train at Michel Roux Jr two Michelin Star restaurant Le Gavroche and Stephen to work in the city.
After some time Stephen felt his long life passion for food and cooking draw him back to the idea of opening a restaurant and convinced his friend Ed to join him. Together they convinced Manu who also worked at Le Gavroche to join.
In this Chat we talk all about the Stephens process from coming up with the idea, facing his choice to leave his career and follow his passion. We talk about the journey to opening up a restaurant, raising money, finding mentors and what his philosophy behind business is. Stephen also launched an initiative in lock down called The Restaurant Co-operative that kept his staff in employment and fed over 9000 NHS staff.
I loved chatting with Stephen not only is he such an awesome guys, but his advice is incredible in this interview for people thinking about entering the restaurant world. This one ran for a while and we could have chatted for even longer - please enjoy my chat with Stephen Tozer.
Some of my favourite quotes:
"I thought I better go make some money so I can loose some when I eventually open one"
"I needed to do what I always wanted to do and what I truly love because if I don't do what I truly love, I wont be motivated, if I'm not motivated I wont be proud of my work and doing the best I possibly can and I want to do something where I feel I'm good and I have an edge"
"I think people could see our passion...people saw we were very serious about this, very dedicated and we had made big life sacrifices for this"
"At one point one of the staff came over and told me to get off the floor because I was throwing so much bad energy and I realised I was just super stressed out and panicking"
"Our kitchen was founded with a lot more experience then our front of house"
"The relationship of mentor, mentee just emerged from him answering questions and giving advice over time"
"In hospitality there is real camaraderie where everyone realises they are in this bat shit crazy world, one of the worst industries to go into to make money and everyone works super hard and it creates solidarity with everyone"