Co-owner, Fallow restaurant, Mayfair, London
Nominator James Robson, director, Robson Hospitality Partners
It's been non-stop for Will Murray since he gave up his job as a baker at the Peak Edge hotel in Derbyshire to move to London. Between 2015 and 2020 he worked his way through the kitchen at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, spending holidays on stages at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Royal Hospital Road, Core by Clare Smyth, the Fat Duck, the Clove Club, Pétrus and the Harwood Arms.
The skills he accrued gave him the confidence to start a business with two partners – including co-chef and fellow Acorn Jack Croft – and they launched the 40-seat Fallow pop-up on a limited budget.
To say he's had to overcome unforeseen challenges is an understatement. The sustainability-focused restaurant opened 10 days before the first national lockdown, so the business plan had to be immediately adapted. In the past year Fallow has been a takeaway, a shop and a casual-dining restaurant, as well as providing meal kits.
Testament to Murray's cooking prowess, Fallow has received a string of accolades, including a Gold award from SquareMeal and a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2021. He has also launched a fermented hot sauce brand, which is being considered for a Great Taste Award.
He's also hands-on in terms of staff welfare, creating an online platform so that those who didn't qualify for furlough could earn money through teaching cooking classes.
What is the most positive people change you see for your sector post-restrictions?
"Our Fallow concept grew during lockdown. The values of being creative problem-solvers, tirelessly positive and doggedly determined have been ingrained in our team – and everyone in hospitality. This has shown in our triumphant return post-lockdown."
Photography: Hospitality Media/Adrian Franklin