London Restaurant to Celebrate Diversity in Age of Black Lives Matter
(Bloomberg) -- Two big names in the U.K. hospitality industry are coming together to open a pop-up restaurant in London that celebrates diversity with a multicultural team and a mash-up of Caribbean-inspired cuisine and French-led drinks.
Chef Andi Oliver, best-known as a judge on BBC Two’s Great British Menu, reflects her Antiguan heritage in dishes such as chocolate curry goat. She was formerly a singer in the band Rip, Rig + Panic with Neneh Cherry. She’s joined by French-born Fred Sirieix, a respected maître d’ before finding fame on Channel 4’s First Dates.
They say they hope that their One Love restaurant, which opens in East London next week, will help to focus attention on black, Asian and minority ethnic issues by bringing people together in shared enjoyment and a sense of community at a time of Black Lives Matter protests.
“One Love for us is a manifestation of our life and our world,” Oliver says. “Multiculturalism in this country — they’ve kind-of tried to turn it into a dirty word — but for me it is the jewel in the British crown. It is really the thing we should be most proud of about British culture.”
One Love starts on Aug. 20 and then will be open every Friday and Saturday for four weeks at Clapton Country Club, a former tram depot that was a wedding venue before the coronavirus lockdown. (There will be a pop-up bar alongside.) Sirieix says they’ve had 1,000 bookings so far. The menu will feature dishes from the Caribbean islands including Wadadli spice-rubbed roast cauliflower, coconut gravy & roast white sweet potato.
Oliver says the message of inclusivity and the recognition of the BAME community is both timeless and of the moment.
“People say this is a new conversation but it is a conversation I have been having my entire life. It is not a new conversation. It’s just that people have suddenly, finally started listening to us. So if people want to listen, then that is great. But we are going to keep saying what we have always been saying and keep doing the work that we do brilliantly.”
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