Ever wondered why eating local produce when in season is better for you healthwise, better experience for your tastebuds, better for your wallet and better for the environment? Holly and Toby, founders & chefs at the Kindling Restaurant in Brighton, whose menus and dishes are inspired by nature and the changing seasons, were kind enough to explain everything you need to know about seasonal eating …. and we talked about footwear too, of course! Welcome Holly & Toby…
Hello. We are Holly Taylor and Toby Geneen, best friends, business partners and co-head chefs at Kindling restaurant in Brighton. We met working in London and have worked together on and off for nearly nine years now.
As founders & Head Chefs of the Kindling Restaurant in Brighton, how important is it to you that your menu is dictated by nature and that the seasons inspire the dishes that you create?
It’s the absolute heart of our concept. We are in a constant dialogue with our suppliers to find out when things are going in or out of season so we can adapt our dishes to showcase the very best of local produce
What is meant by seasonality?
For us it means creating dishes around produce that is growing naturally in our locality at any given time of year. We complement this with ingredients we have preserved from other seasons so that we always have a variety of tastes, colour and textures.
What do you feel are the main benefits to follow a seasonal based diet?
Produce that’s grown locally and picked when ripe tastes better, is usually less expensive and higher in micronutrients. For example, British asparagus will hands-down beat imported asparagus for flavour and texture every time.
I love that the seasons inspire your dishes – what are the popular dishes for each season?
Our smoked tomato dish is always a winner on the summer menu. Cuttlefish stew which is only in season for 6-8 weeks is very popular in May. In the winter, the locally shot venison is a favourite. Dishes always change a bit from one year to the next because we are constantly innovating and improving things.
What is your favourite season, especially where food is concerned? What dishes do you personally enjoy making/ and or eating?
We love them all for different reasons but we definitely get most excited about spring. We’re big fans of wild garlic, asparagus and elderflower.
So … let’s play the name game … why did you choose the name “Kindling” for your restaurant and the distinctive logo? Were there any other contenders?
We cook the majority of our food over a fire which is the heart of our open kitchen, so it seemed natural to have a name that was connected to this. We had plenty of terrible ideas early on but eventually Kindling seemed like the right fit. The logo is a design based on combining the alchemical symbols for land, sea and fire. We wanted to embrace the three elements that are core to our cooking and Brighton location – food from the local land and sea, cooked over fire.
Have you always wanted a career in the food industry or growing up, did you have other ambitions?
Holly – I wanted to be a chef when I was a kid but I was also pretty academic so I ended up doing university and some other things before eventually taking the plunge. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else!
Toby – As a kid I wanted to be a Professional Snowboarder / Rockstar / Sculptor / Astronaut / Barrister. I studied Design at University. I’m a Chef. I think my kid self would be at least somewhat proud.
Personal now – outside of cheffing, what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Toby – Adidas Superstars or Gazelles, or Nike Airmaxtrainers. Howies organic jeans and an extra large white t-shirt.
Holly – also Adidas trainers, bootcut jeans and an oversize hoodie.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Brocery store, they make the best massive hoodies
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Toby – new pair of superstars
Holly – new pair of tall knee-high boots
Boots or Shoes?
Holly – boots for comfort, I’m already tall so heels aren’t really my thing. Or just good trainers.
Toby – shoes, they’re more comfortable.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about Kindling Restaurant.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Holly & Toby (Kindling Restaurant, Brighton)
Photo Credits: Kindling Restaurant; Jo Hunt, Restaurants Brighton @JoHuntPhotography