Guilty Business Pleasures

Just because you work in a high-end business, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able (or wish) to afford the goods that are on offer there. Sometimes, it may be that you opt for cheaper options elsewhere. This latest piece in our series on local business people looks at the guilty (and sometimes unexpected business pleasures) of high flyers.

Rachel Staunton, Made to Measure, Westminster

Running a boutique in a popular location, Rachel brings together collections from some of the world’s best known locations. She understands the importance of looking the part too and is elegantly dressed, whether at her flagship store or when appearing at a range of social events.

As a leader in local retail who is well known to members of the business community, it might be expected that she always dresses this well. But what about her days off? Does she, for instance, where Prada when relaxing at home?

Over a beautiful cup of coffee at Coffee Geek and Friends, she laughs loudly as I put the question to her. “I like it that you imagine that people see me that way, but home life is a lot more mundane, albeit in a good way!

She explains that she’s more likely to be found in “a comfortable old pair of jeans and a favourite T-shirt” than anything more stylish. Currently in the midst of a home renovation project, casual clothes are better suited to carrying out the necessary work. But they also make sense when playing with the children and taking part in family baking days. Does she ever feel that she should dress up, in case she bumps into clients when out and about?

“There is an element of that. I’m well aware that fashion is, in part, about theatre. Those who want to look great are obviously attuned to the appearances of others. If I’m out to dinner, then I do make the effort. That’s not just because I’m worried about bumping into others though – it’s because it makes me well good and also comfortable within the environment.”

Finally, I wonder if Rachel might have a fashion tip for our readers. She pauses and then offers some simple advice: “Wear what you like, not what others think you should wear. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, then you’ll naturally be more confident, which makes you look even more stunning.”

Charlie Evans, Chef, London

Charlie’s experience of working in some of the world’s leading restaurants has made himself a go-to chef for those seeking inspiration when it comes to innovative recipes with a truly European flavour. When back in London, however, is Charlie’s cooking all about deconstructing famous dishes and producing meals that are based on French classics? We decided that it was time to find out!

A visit to Charlie’s home, in a rather lovely area of Islington, provided the opportunity to learn more. Seated in his kitchen, offering a surprisingly green view of this part of London, I wondered aloud whether his cooking at home was a reflection of what diners expect to find in a top restaurant. Charlie was honest enough to say that there’s quite a difference!

Working in a commercial kitchen can be a draining experience. By the time that I’ve finished the shift and made my way home, it’s often the early hours of the morning. I’ll sometimes grab something to eat at the restaurant, but most days it’s a matter of grabbing something at home, before heading for bed.

I’m guessing, I suggest, that he doesn’t have the energy to cook a proper meal at that time of night?

Ha! You’re right there! I’ll mainly use this…“, he says, pointing to a toaster on the kitchen side.

It appears that the guilty pleasure in this case is more often than not “cheese on toast, maybe beans on toast, or sometimes just thickly spread butter on there”.

The only real sign that this is a professional that I’m talking to is when I look more closely at the toaster. Charlie explains that he specifically opted for this Breville toaster because it had some nifty functions. It apparently has the option to pop up the toast and take a look at how it’s toasting, before it’s finished. It sounds pretty handy and Charlie tells me that he used the Number 67 website to compare the various toaster models on the market.

As nice as that sounds, surely it’s not toast every day of the week? It doesn’t sound very healthy.

“When I have a bit more time, I will cook Sandie [his wife] a decent slap-up meal. But she’s just as likely to do the cooking at weekends.”

So, there we have it…guilty pleasures from two of Westminster’s finest entrepreneurs. What about you? Do you have similar guilty business pleasures?

Love Your Market

Love Your Local Market – 15 – 29 May 2013
Markets involved are Berwick Street, Church Street, Strutton Ground and Tachbrook Street.
In Westminster, there will be opportunities for new stallholders to ‘Trade for a Fiver’ during the campaign.
Becoming a Market Trader
There are 5 markets in Westminster where you require a permanent licence to trade:
Berwick Street W1
This is one of the oldest markets in the country, steeped in history and located in the heart of Soho.  For further details about this market please click here
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 6pm
What you can buy:
•    Fruit and veg
•    Vintage clothing
•    Fresh bread & cakes
•    Various hot food including: Vietnamese; Falafel; Chinese; Mexican & Moroccan burritos
Church Street NW8
Located in the diverse area near Edgware Road, this market is particularly vibrant on Saturdays when it boasts more than 200 pitches.  For further details about this market please click here
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 6pm
What you can buy:
•    Clothing
•    Clothing accessories
•    Household goods
•    Jewellery
•    Luggage
•    Leather goods
•    Fish
•    Hot food
•    Fruit and veg
Rupert Street W1
Although currently quite a small market, it has some exciting food stalls with other traders due to commence soon.
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 6pm
What you can buy:
•    Mexican burritos
•    Moroccan burritos
•    Thai food
Strutton Ground SW1
A bustling lunchtime market that serves many surrounding offices as well as local residents and tourists.  For further details about this market please click here
Open: Monday to Friday, 8am – 2.30pm
What you can buy:
•    Hot food and coffee
•    Clothing
•    Clothing accessories
•    Luggage
•    Leather goods
•    Jewellery
•    Fashion accessories
Tachbrook Street SW1
Run by Westminster Artisans this market has grown significantly in the last two years, selling a mixture of staple and luxury foods.  For further details about this market please click here
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 6pm
What you can buy:
•    Fish
•    Meat
•    Cheeses
•    Fruit and veg
•    Household goods
•    Footwear
•    Variety of hot food

Useful information about applying for a permanent licence
If you are interested in applying to trade in one of Westminster’s markets, please read the leaflet becoming a permanent market trader before applying. This outlines the process for applying and the latest details on what commodities we will licence traders to sell at each of the markets. For further details with regards to availability and commodities, please check the latest availability and commodities for each Market.