I am big fan of the Olympics and an even bigger fan of the Paralympics. I managed to get tickets for many events back at London 2012.
The achievements and obstacles that the Paralympians have overcome are truly awe-inspiring and put much of what we do in perspective. The Team GB spirit is something from which hospitality could learn a lot: the mentoring, support and camaraderie is a delight to watch and something that we should strive for in our everyday lives.
I watched Stephen Clegg win an incredible silver medal in the S12 100m butterfly, but his attitude was that he lost gold by 600th of a second. He was gutted in his interview – he has to wait another three years to try again. There is a big lesson in determination and dedication.
This week hospitality has its own Olympics – the Cateys – recognising the very best of our industry. First, a massive congratulations to all who have been nominated. The Cateys put establishments on the podium as winners. The hardest part for the silver and bronze medallists is not knowing how close you were to winning, but simply being shortlisted should drive you forward to be better. There is industry and peer recognition for your achievements.
The hardest part for the silver and bronze medallists of the Cateys is not knowing how close you were to winning, but it should still drive you forward to be better
By the time you read this, the Hardens annual awards will have been announced and I'm seriously proud that in its 30th year, Pied à Terre is nominated for best Gastronomic Experience, alongside the excellent Core By Clare Smyth, Muse by Tom Aikens and So|La. I'm taking the nomination as a win, regardless of the outcome.
The nomination is more interesting when you know that we have changed much of how we do things over the past 12 months. Coming out of lockdown has been tough and no one has escaped unscathed. Survival is the name of the game for many, and at Pied à Terre I took it as an opportunity for change.
We are working a shorter week of eight shifts, and so reduced the size of the team due to fewer shifts; we have focused the menu offering to a core of 10 dishes alongside 10 vegan dishes; and the front of house is very much more relaxed in style and approach. This new look and feel is not an accident, but a conscious decision by me to appear more informal – that's where I think fine dining is going.
Reflection on what we do is really important. Having an honest chat to yourself and the team about what you do well and accepting that some things have been done less well or even badly is vital. Our failures can be our biggest inspiration for success. It's from those conversations that we find the 600th of a second to take gold.
David Moore is the founder and owner of Pied à Terre
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