The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Andrew Clarke to focus on Pilot Light mental health campaign full-time

12 March 2020 by

Andrew Clarke is taking a break from cheffing to focus on mental health campaign Pilot Light, along with co-founder Doug Sanham.

Clarke left St Leonards restaurant in London's Shoreditch last year, where he was overseeing the kitchen operation. He originally launched the concept in April 2018 with chef Jackson Boxer, with whom he previously worked on Notting Hill's Orasay and Vauxhall's Brunswick House as chef-director.

However, Boxer ceased being involved in St Leonards last summer. Clarke sought to buy the restaurant from Vice Media but departed the restaurant in September. "It wasn't the restaurant I wanted it to be," he said.

He added that he and Boxer are "still mates, we were just pulling in different directions".

Pilot Light is a campaign focused on changing the way people think and act about mental health through addressing the industry specific contexts and environments found in professional kitchens and the broader hospitality sector. Clarke and Sanham set up Pilot Light in 2017 to open up the conversation about mental health within the hospitality industry.

Clarke said he wanted to transform Pilot Light "from a part-time campaign to a full-time business". Justin Coghlan, who helped launch the Movember charity, has become a shareholder to help advise on the project.

While Clarke is not ruling out opening another restaurant eventually, he said: "I'm going to take a year out and give Pilot Light everything it needs to just hit the ground running as a social good business."

As well as running events to encourage people in hospitality to discuss mental health, over the next year Pilot Light also aims to develop online resources and offer monthly workshops on a subscription-based model which businesses can send their staff to, which would include mental health first aid training.

"We need to keep talking and sharing how to manage people better," said Clarke. "Sustainable workplaces have to be a priority. Chefs are our most precious commodity at the moment."

St Leonards' Andrew Clarke on combating the stigma around mental health >>

Continue reading

You need to be a premium member to view this. Subscribe from just 99p per week.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking