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#005 - Hospitality Meets Scott Hallsworth - The Chef and Restaurateur
Episode 522nd April 2020 • Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street • Phil Street
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Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street is a new podcast for the hospitality industry.  Join Phil each week as he hosts a new guest in a light-hearted talk about their journey and story to date.

In this weeks episode, Phil catches up with Chef, Restaurateur & Author Scott Hallsworth.  Scott is the owner of Freakscene in London (https://freakscene.london/).

Scott was the first guest to agree to conducting a virtual chat (So please excuse any mild drop outs in audio) as we chatted in early April 2020.  Scott talks us through his journey and covers off some gems including:-

- Ignoring the advice of parents

- Forgetting key items for high profile celebrity events

- A story involving Rancid Walnuts

And a whole host of other stories.   

Make sure you get to Freakscene when the Lockdown is lifted

To get in touch with Scott, feel free to reach out to him through any of his social channels



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Transcripts

Phil Street:

Welcome to hospitality meats with me Phil street where we take a light hearted look into the stories and individuals that make up the wonderful world of hospitality. Today's guest is Scott Holsworth, Chef restaurateur, and author, and owner of freak scene in London. Coming up on today's show, Scott destroys the dreams of his children.

Scott Hallsworth:

If My kids come to me and said, they're gonna do that 25 I'd be like you're mad, there's no way.

Phil Street:

Phil talks about his own cooking capability

Phil Street:

And I take great pride in producing food for my mates and things like that, that that looks great. But does it always taste great? No

Phil Street:

And Scott reveals his philosophy for life,

Scott Hallsworth:

just as much rock and roll as food I suppose.

Phil Street:

All that and a whole lot more as Scott talks us through His story and journey to date. As we continue to tackle lockdown, the chat was recorded virtually so please forgive any minor drops in audio. Don't forget to hit subscribe, and we hope you enjoy the show.

Phil Street:

Hello, and welcome to the next edition of hospitality meats with me, Phil Street. Today I'm delighted to welcome to the show, Scott Holdsworth, who is the chef and founder of frixion in Soho in London, also an author. And I'll come on to that in a second actually, because I've got a little bit of a story behind that myself. And just generally Oh, nice guy. I've been lucky enough to eat in

Scott Hallsworth:

Thanks for having me. It's good to be here.

Phil Street:

Pleasure. And yeah, my little story around your book, you you may or may not remember this because I know you you you have a lot of people through your door, but you very kindly gave me a copy of your, your cookbook, junk food Japan and wrote a little note in the front of it, which I think just kind of sums up your character to be honest, just you really humble guy. It said, Phil,

Scott Hallsworth:

That's good. You know, Bloomsbury and absolute press would be horrified to hear me say that. But obviously, I'm joking. Um, they spent so much time stress testing the recipes and making sure a home economist could understand them easily enough, because as you know, your Japanese ingredients, they're not that common sometimes. So. Yeah, they'd be probably a little bit

Phil Street:

Yeah, no, I that's why I wanted to put in the caveat, because I've done I think, maybe about 12 or 13 of them so far. And every one of them. I mean, it's just a it's a cracking book. People should go out and buy it. And that's not why we're here. But anyway. Great, well, maybe you could kind of kick kick off the next section just by giving us an overview of who you are and what

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, thanks. Well, I started my cooking career as an apprentice chef in I think it was 1991 in a place called Bumbry in Western Australia. I started working for a hotel group there under an executive chef named Alon Diwan Oh who just come over from the Gavroche here in London. And he wound up in this sleepy small city in Western Australia. So I had a bit of a kind of French

Scott Hallsworth:

in Toronto. Got my first sort of sous chef role there. As a young chef. I thought I was a bit young for it at the time. But anyway, I jumped in and did it anyway and

Phil Street:

Was like a natural progression was it? Was it something that just kind of landed on your plate? Or did you go go looking for a move to Canada?

Scott Hallsworth:

Oh, yeah, it was, it was a cool thing to do for people at the time, because everyone was, um, Australians get visas easily to Canada. There's a reciprocal visa programme much like here in the UK. So if you're under under 30, or 28, I don't know what the ages, you get visas quite easily to go for two years. And you can work for a majority of that, I think. Anyway, everyone was

Scott Hallsworth:

there not at the same time, of course, but having to cook the all the protein and have the sauces ready for it to be on the pass at the same time as the veggie guy and whoever else was near impossible in the beginning, because I wasn't allowed to go over to the past and look at the checks. It was quite rigid structure. And I kind of guessed what to put on. So I'd look over the the pans of the

Scott Hallsworth:

all that panelling as we did a lot of the, you know, shop fit work ourselves and had mates come in. After this days on the hill, you know, we'd we'd try and make mates with carpenters or, or electricians or whoever we could. And after they'd finished they're basically just no travelling ski bums if for one of a better expression they and they'd rock up at nighttime to earn a few francs

Scott Hallsworth:

where it was now Banville, I think it was called the shop there. And it was, it was an incredibly great experience. But by the time the summertime came around, I think we were exhausted. And of course, the most people leave the town. And there's a bit of a peak during the summer, when the mountain bikers and walkers and climbers will come to town, but it wasn't enough to sustain businesses

Phil Street:

What age were you at this point.

Scott Hallsworth:

I think I was turning 25 were turning 26 it was around my birthday that I had to leave Chamonix and recovering on the side. I think I was turning 26 maybe. Yeah,

Phil Street:

Was that kind of with the The Turn I suppose of London kind of beginning to really, I suppose shine a light on the global fits in because I mean, it was it took a long time for London to get going. But it definitely got there in the end, but it'd been about that time.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, I think it was, um, probably 2001 at this stage. Yeah, it would have been right. Yeah, there was some, there was some really vibrant things happening by the sound of it. I remember going to a recruitment company. I don't know who can remember who they were, but they were just off Oxford Street and I didn't know London at all, all I had was a mountain bike and a

Scott Hallsworth:

Anyway, we did a load of prep. We went down to the pub to play snooker and came back and did service and we're gonna do like 450 covers and I'm like, I've never done that many covers to that level of standard I've never done that many covers flat out. Geez, I think of defeated here. This was just too much for me, you know. Anyway, they gave us a job was gave me a job as a shifter party and I

Phil Street:

Yeah, I had heard about that, actually, that just talk us through that. What did that involve?

Scott Hallsworth:

Well, after a time, creating specials and things at Nobu, I had this kind of back catalogue of ideas and and there was a load of bargara ideas based on Japanese techniques and flavours and, and so on, in there and I remember talking to a maid about The same mate from Germany, Mike, he, he moved to Copenhagen by then and I was telling him about all these ideas what we've

Phil Street:

Of course it was so funny how the word the world changes of course, back then it was a revered ingredient wasn't it but but nowadays it's less so.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, and I think there's a lot of controversy about it and I am I don't eat meat at all anymore but that's what I need at all but you know, there's there's a there's a lot of bad press about it and rightly so. Because there are some bad for our farmers as there are bad bad techniques used in other kinds of farming or you know, rearing of poultry and so on this disgusting

Scott Hallsworth:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. So after about a year or so, in Nobu Melbourne, I thought it was time for me to move on from the whole Nobu world. It's a great world to be in. And I certainly influenced my career forever. And I loved it absolutely loved a lot. I can, I helped contribute to one of the cookbooks and I got dishes on the menu. And it was just, it was a great time, it was early days of nobody when

Scott Hallsworth:

time, just about whilst I was working on that, and which will be called Kabuto. Me and a couple of the other shifts there. I put this idea together that there was there'll be, we'd create this thing that was bit like Nobu, but it was more affordable and much more fun and rock and roll a bit like it is a choir but with you know, maybe slightly pimped up food. And we're going to call it curabitur.

Scott Hallsworth:

That's terrible.

Scott Hallsworth:

What do you mean by freakScene, I said it's just the name of the song by a dinosaur Jr. and I explained to Dinosaur Jr. was where and then am I and five and she said that's not a good name. And I thought at that stage Well, this is the right name because you know, it's it's slightly controversial and I've pointed out to my dad, he's a huge Pink Floyd fan I said, you know, they didn't really

Phil Street:

right?

Scott Hallsworth:

Why not?

Phil Street:

Yeah, if it works,

Scott Hallsworth:

yeah. And then that's it. I mean, I suppose we just traded up to a bigger, bigger site, we eventually pitched for the site, which was the original beruf in a restaurant for though they were there for around 10 years, I think in Fifth Street in Soho. We used to get that on a short term basis because the building was scheduled to be redeveloped in a major way. So they're only

Phil Street:

Wait, wait, wait, Brexit what what's that? I don't I don't understand. Not been a discussion as it for the last however long

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, that certainly went off the table. But so we got a longer lease on the site based on the landlord not wanting to invest any money into the UK whilst the Brexit negotiations were going on and so on. So we we've just been trading in Fifth Street and and loving it Really?

Phil Street:

How long have you opened up?

Scott Hallsworth:

It'll be coming up to two years about now actually. Yeah, I think it just about it aniversary in in Soho about now. So that'll give us a total of about two and a half years with freaks in all together with the pop up.

Phil Street:

Yep. Got it. Okay. And then any any further plans or about the may not be able to announce anything but what what does the next little while have in store for you? I suppose I should put a caveat on that. We're talking currently in the middle of the wonderful COVID-19 situation, which kind of puts everything on hold, but assuming we all get through the other side of that. what's

Scott Hallsworth:

well Hear that's a good that's a good point just before the lockdown I was, I was at the Russian tourist office, tourist visa officer. I was about to pay for the visa. And the girl behind the counter said to me, Hey, you know, Moscow might go on lockdown for 10 days. I said a really when's that? About about the time you were there? I went, Ah, well, I'm glad you told me. And

Scott Hallsworth:

here. It's not at this stage, not the way things are going. So yeah, we had a dream, I suppose was always sort of look outside of the UK. And then we're working on a project in my hometown in Western Australia. There's a large state government fund to repurpose my hometown, my hometown, it's all been based around sort of power stations and coal mining, where I come from coal quarry, right. And

Phil Street:

Was that the inspiration to move into the world of Asian cooking.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, I always wonder if that was the first little thing that really did influence me, it probably it probably was. So anyway, we're looking at this project in Western Australia, the the government going to repurpose the town because coal mining is going to die out in the next 20 years, or the power stations will won't be fit for purpose By that time, and they won't really build

Phil Street:

Yeah. Well, does that sound like you're not sitting on your hands? Just enjoying what you've got? Yeah. So that's, what's that? That's a career spanning what 20-25 years?

Scott Hallsworth:

I think 29 years this year.

Phil Street:

Right? Yeah, you must have some regrets in that time. What's the biggest regret But you've had,

Scott Hallsworth:

I don't know. Probably probably no, no, no serious regrets, no heart, no strong heartfelt regrets really just, you know, probably take things a little bit probably would have always taken things at a better pace. I always work at a fast pace, I guess that's inherent for shift to do. But yeah, I don't know, I just, you know, maybe maybe working at it at a slower, more considerate

Phil Street:

Right. Got it. And kind of biggest lessons that you've learned along the way.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, I think, you know, going into business and just thinking you can you can just trust your friends and things like that and do it without putting the problem proper measures in place. We again, you know, I think doing things in a in a in a smarter way, smarter, slower, more considerate way. So, you know, yeah, that, that's, that's the that was the biggest lesson for me, you

Phil Street:

Right? Gotcha? Who do you at this point in your your career? Who do you look to for mentorship?

Scott Hallsworth:

I've always sort of really liked Danny Meyer, Union Square hospitality in in a group in New York. And just read recently reread his one of his books, and I just reckon he's, yeah, he's the he's the man who's who's really built it up from from from nothing. He's built that enormous company, and he's such a positive influence on people. He does think he seems to do things right,

Phil Street:

Yeah, it's definitely a shining light for the industry. The world needs more of them. For sure. Yeah. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?

Scott Hallsworth:

I mean, the amount of funny things that have that have happened over the years, I could probably make it make it in a book just about that. But one thing came to mind one of the days that days at Nobu. Lots of lots of funny things happen there. But what a guy Ben, I mentioned earlier, became a really good mate of mine. He made these pickled walnuts. And I don't know if they turned

Phil Street:

Yeah, you're right, though. I mean, there must be too many to mention. I think probably everybody's got a book and some of the silly things that happen along the way. But then you're a massive part of day to day life. Right.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, there's some through doing stuff like you know, they sort of think there's a lot of comradeship. And I think, you know, you make some good friends along the way. And there's some of the good moments you remember. And, you know, looking looking back at that we made a lot of good friends. But you know, as we start this theory, you know, the more more crap

Phil Street:

Anything terrifying happened to you?

Scott Hallsworth:

I dunno terrifying. Just, I suppose the worst thing that one of the worst things happened to me organising an event once I completely forgot to bring an ingredient and the event was being organised in London for a private home in Madrid. And it was for David Beckham. It was for Victoria Beckham actually. And David Beckham had been organising it as a surprise for Victoria. And

Phil Street:

Yeah, well, I mean that that kind of sums up the industry in a in a story to be honest, because I mean, it's just full of out of depth moments that that people respond to and kind of get back into depth was always a problem to be solved. Always. stuff that you're that comes up that you just you were the best planning in the world. You can't You can't plan for and I think it creates an

Scott Hallsworth:

Definitely does. And I think nine times out of 10 people are just ready to jump in and help to you know, which is amazing.

Phil Street:

Yeah, no, absolutely. Terrifying leads us on nicely to stupid. What's the most stupid thing you've done?

Scott Hallsworth:

God, how long have you got

Phil Street:

another book Is it?

Scott Hallsworth:

Another book? God I'll be reading books forever here. I don't know. I should I've probably got so many that um, I can't remember them. Yeah, I off the top of my head. I can't think but there's bound to be someone listening to this and go I've got something stupid that you've done... ready to tell me.

Phil Street:

Yeah, but I mean, the thing for me stupidity. I mean, it's a really strong word. But in actual fact, there's that's the the stuff where you get the best learning from Right. I mean, it's you've got to make mistakes. You've got to get past that and and look, you would probably look back on every single one of your your stupid in inverted commas mistakes and think you're either laugh at

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, absolutely. The you know, for the for the madness and the silly things that have happened. I'm pretty grateful for the lessons, that's for sure.

Phil Street:

Yeah. What? You've mentioned that you you look to Danny Meyer for inspiration and books. Who else do you? What else do you read?

Scott Hallsworth:

The last book I finished I'm reading a couple of books at the moment. But one of them is called spontaneous healing by Andrew Vale. Really interesting book on health and diet and that but the last really good book I read was by Scott Jurek who's an ultra runner. It's called What's it called? Eat and run? Yes, this is very simple title. But it goes on about Korea as how he

Scott Hallsworth:

recently, and just, you know, get this sort of nagging hippie hip complaint once in a while. So I've taken a couple of days off at the moment, but

Phil Street:

Ahh that's what happens when you get the wrong side of 40 isn't it.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Unknown:

Yeah. Yeah, I've got a back ailment. No, that restricts certain movements. So I've been, I've been taking part in to the Joe wicks, PE sessions that he's been doing through this, this period that we're in at the moment. And wasn't until I started doing that, that I realised just how out of touch I was, was with my own body.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yet, creeps up on you. Yeah.

Phil Street:

And yeah, yeah, you've got to respect that when you when you get the wrong side of 40.

Scott Hallsworth:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Phil Street:

Great. Okay. Um, what would you say to somebody who was considering a career in hospitality?

Scott Hallsworth:

Well, I'd say go for it, you know, you've got to be you got to be ready for the highs and the lows as well. There's some great highs from it. Because you know, you get instant recognition from guests telling you that I've had a great meal. Yeah, most for the most part and, and the buzz of service that that really leaves you in a natural high, because you've finished cooking

Phil Street:

Yeah, I think I'd add to that as well that you've got to be prepared to learn. I think that that's effectively what you just said there in terms of the plate. I mean, you know, I'm nothing but a domesticated chef, I'd love to get my head into what I classify as elite cookbooks. And take great pride and producing food for my meats and things like that. But that looks great. But

Scott Hallsworth:

No way. I mean, I'm doing you know, like I said, this is my 29th year and God is sometimes I look at different aspects of cooking or aspects of, you know, food science or whatever and think, jeez, I'm scratching the surface still. It's just this endless thing. So yeah, just just be just be patient with it as well as opposed to the other thing.

Phil Street:

Yep, absolutely. Great. Okay, well, if people want to get in touch with you to chew the fat, where can they look you up?

Scott Hallsworth:

our usual place, I suppose. Um, most people try and get in touch via Instagram message on there or, or Twitter or something like that, then yeah, it's probably the best thing to do. Yep,

Phil Street:

I do love your Instagram page is full of vibrancy. I think kind of you've really taken the brand and you deliver the brand in the in your Instagram message for sure.

Scott Hallsworth:

Yeah, there's just as many rock and roll shots of bands or gigs or you know, me standing with Jimmy Page when he came in for dinner or something like that. I like to check that one in there because he's a bit of a legend. Yet, just as much rock and roll as food, I suppose.

Phil Street:

Excellent. Well, that's been a pleasure to chat. I really appreciate your time. work was, and we'll talk again soon. Thanks very much, Scott.

Scott Hallsworth:

You're welcome. Thanks.

Phil Street:

Well, a big thank you to Scott for coming on to share his story. If you haven't yet made it to freakscene then get it on your post lock down to do list, just simply stunning food. Don't forget, we'll be launching a new episode every Wednesday. But in the meantime, we'd love for you to subscribe to the show and give us a like and a share on any of the usual social channels. See you