People Restaurants

Keith Goddard Chef + Munch Food Company

The Scream | Bringing Home The Bacon 

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On a return visit to the Violin Factory at Waterloo for the launch of Grohe’s new Blue classy collection of taps, we caught up with London’s hottest Michelin starred chef Keith Goddard. Classically trained – he studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York – 33 year old domestic god Keith has worked with Tom Aikens and Oliver Peyton at the Wallace Collection. After his much lauded stint at the restaurant 101 Pimlico Road, Keith’s latest venture is Munch Food Company.

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“If you want fine dining experience in the comfort of your home or for your business event, Munch is the answer,” says Keith. “We love the challenge of creating exquisite one-off menus. We’ll happily do it in your kitchen or at your chosen venue. Either is good for us. Just tell us how many people we’re catering for, what your tastes are, and we’ll come up with something that’s fit for a king.” Or queen.

Working up a sweat in the Violin Factory kitchen, Keith reveals, “Equally if all you’re after is a platter of sandwiches or Munch pizzas followed by homemade brownies, banana and maple syrup flapjacks, and elderflower refreshers to show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work, then order a Friday afternoon treat they won’t forget!” There’s always room to Grohe.

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Why a chef?

“I became a chef by accident while training in New York at the French Culinary Institute. My intention was to learn all I could about every aspect of the restaurant business before embarking on a career that would hopefully have led me to become a successful hotelier or restaurateur. Although I absolutely loved cooking even then, the idea of spending 16 hour days in a hot kitchen didn’t appeal to me. However, one week into my Culinary Arts Degree I realised I’d found my vocation.”

Where’s home?

“Paddington in London with my girlfriend.”

Why Munch?

“At the time when 101 Pimlico Road shut its doors I’d spent six straight years in restaurant environments doing anything up to 100 hour weeks. I certainly didn’t want to change industry but had a plan in my head as to where I wanted to be in my mid 30s. This involved not only a restaurant of my own but a catering division that would allow us to provide a service for many of my customers who’d inquired about it in the past but to whom I had to say no to as we just didn’t have the capacity. On top of that, event catering is a very different skill. I figured the time was right to make the move into it before I got back into another restaurant.”

Favourite dish to cook?

“Strangely I love cooking soups, particularly authentic soups from various parts of the world. In a similar vein I like slow cooking things like daubes, stews and tougher cuts of meat.”

Best advice?

“Don’t mess with the classics!”

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Eating out?

“I like to vary things to be honest. We’re extremely lucky in London as in one week we could eat pretty much every cuisine in the world. I occasionally like to go high end to Michelin star restaurants but the rest of the time to anywhere that has identity, that isn’t trying to please everyone. Other than French and Italian, I like Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese and Indian food a lot.”

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London or New York?

“I lived in New York for two of the best years of my life. However London is tough to beat.”


Mary Berry + The Violin Factory Waterloo London

Baking Hot

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Through a garage, darkly. There is definitely light at the end of this tunnel. And some canapés. Forget over egged and under served East London. Waterloo is where it’s happening. All the groovers and quakers. No longer a rookery prone to humbuggery and skulduggery. Within earshot of the screeching brakes of commuter trains full of weary suburbanites is a low key brick terraced house which leads Tardis-style into a hidden former warehouse. Welcome to The Violin Factory. Lavender’s Blue are at this hipper than thou venue to chat exclusively to the original domestic goddess Mary Berry.

Back in the day when inbox was two words and Made in Chelsea meant quirky artwork, there was Mary. Her rise from person to persona to Personality of the Year 2013 can be charted from the new look to the lean in generation. “Lovely to see you,” she charms. “The first thing people ask me is ‘Are you on Facebook?’ The other thing people want to ask me is ‘What age are you?’ I’m 78.” Quite.

Home is the postcard pretty village of Penn in the Chilterns. “My husband takes the dog for a walk very early in the morning so that he doesn’t meet people! Our dog’s called Wellington and we’ve a cat, Primrose. It gives me time to cook on the Aga. I’ve had an Aga for the last 44 years. It never wears out.” The same could be said for her charisma and career. So far Mary’s published 70 bestselling cookery books. There’s nothing half baked about this one woman industry. She does, though, acknowledge the longstanding assistance of her PA Lucy Young. Pippa Middleton really did get the bum deal with her book.

“The recipes that I do are very much family recipes. We’re not chefs. They have a brigade behind them. There’s such pleasure in making something traditional like lemon drizzle cake. It’s great to get all the family round the dining table to find out what everyone’s been up to.” Then, with a twinkle in her eye Mary paraphrases Shirley Conran: “Life is too short to stuff a courgette.” She discloses the pleasure she receives from people using her recipes but it’s teaching that’s her real passion.

“But all you want to hear about is Bake Off!” As an experienced interviewee, second guessing is clearly second nature to Mary. “The Great British Bake Off. What a shock it was to get asked to be a judge on the programme. Now we’ve got seven million viewers. Gardeners’ World has 2.5 million. I love it too. We’ve been voted the best reality judges on TV. Simon Cowell watch out! The programme has got Britain baking.”

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Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are so much fun to work with,” she says. “At the Baftas, Sue said to me ‘We’re in Row H. We’re far too far away from the stage to be winners!’” They won two Baftas. “How am I ever going to find my way down there was my main concern.” She did, just as she continues to help people find their way round the kitchen. Amidst the flotsam and jetsam of life, there are few constants. Except Mary Berry who’s an exceptional exception. And William Curley London Chocolates.

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