Adam Byatt, chef-owner of Trinity and Bistro Union in London's Clapham, has said it is vital hospitality businesses stay relevant, up to date and evolve.
Byatt, who is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' (RACA), was speaking to another RACA fellow, Chris Galvin of Galvin Restaurants, in the third part of an exclusive video series for The Caterer to mark the Academy's 40th anniversary in 2020.
The pair discussed the theme of evolution, and Byatt said staying relevant and up to date to today's market is "what keeps you in business".
He said: "Trinity's been here 14 years. I've always wanted it to become an institutional restaurant, like you would think about somewhere like Chez Bruce. You look at those restaurants and think, ‘that's a mainstay in that area, that's been there forever'… for me that's about staying relevant and staying current. Always evolving and changing.
"We're very secure in where we are, but we're very happy to branch out from that, as long as it doesn't go too far."
Byatt said he believed that both new food and business evolutions are similar in that they should feel right: "If it comes together and it feels natural and it feels like it belongs together and it's harmonious and it's easy to get on the plate, it all just feels right, then I would tend to go with it. If it's awkward and it doesn't quite work and we have to force it to work, I'll walk away from it."
Galvin pointed out that a critical lesson for him during his career was to ask the question, "could you, and should you?" Meanwhile, both Byatt and Galvin emphasised the importance of competitions to young chefs. Byatt said competitions, such as RACA's Annual Awards of Excellence, "helps you benchmark where you are, helps you learn, it helps you progress, and it helps you get recognised".
Galvin said he himself had done more than 50 competitions in his career. He added that chefs need to develop and evolve the industry "just as our forebears did", adding: "Ingredients have changed, techniques have changed, but the same core skills are there... It's our duty to evolve as we go and it's an expectation from our audience, from our customers that we do evolve."
Watch part two of the video series, in which Jason Atherton explains how he's using the pandemic as a 'restart' button here.