MY PASSION for cooking led to me spending 15 years in the trade and I only became self-employed by circumstances.
I slowly became interested in becoming an owner operator – some might refer to it as fated desire. In my early career within the industry, I spent 12 years travelling and have been fortunate enough to work at some of the world’s top five-star restaurants spanning Bermuda, Grenada, Russia and Switzerland.
That gave me the taste and desire to create something special and easily accessible – what I’d like to think we’ve done with our two existing venues.
Guests over the years have repeatedly told me how important ambience and character are along with a price that people could afford.
We created Salt House Tapas in a building previously The Church of England’s Diocese of Liverpool headquarters, that lay unused for more than five years.
I was so taken by the building’s architecture and design that I was confident it would work for our first concept in restaurants.
Every day, my own agenda is about our aim to change the way customers think of their relationship with a restaurant because that relationship is often confrontational.
My partners in the business share the same values that root us firmly in the non-corporate, fiercely independent, passionate stable. Our diaries are fairly similar too because looking after our guests on a long-term basis is the focus of the owners of this business, so we will be in-house much of the time.
It’s my own philosophy that this works best and if you look at the best-performing restaurants in any city, it’s the only way to run a business in this sector.
All that said, it has still allowed me enough time to work with the team in opening another business in Liverpool – Hanover Street Social – and, look at opportunities for rolling out Salt House.
If there was a pivotal point in all of this happening, it was the day my old boss ordered bought-in desserts without telling me.
Through establishing both venues, I’ve had to confront a number of fears too including my lifelong dread of dealing with builders.
I’ve no fears around hard work and wanting to serve people – even if the latter does not come so naturally to some.
The most successful people that become part of our team have the ability to demonstrate both.
The best thing about creating businesses is being able to follow your dreams – mine being playing for Liverpool and all the kids in bed by 9pm.
Patrick Smith, Red & Blue Restaurants Group (owner of Hanover Street Social & Salt House Tapas)