Catering for world-famous models and actors, launching their first cook book and planning to open a new restaurant – it’s been a whirlwind six years for two friends who launched a boutique-style catering company.
Based in the capital, the business has proved a recipe for success, providing high-quality and healthy on-site cooking for fashion and film shoots and private events.
Their client list is like a who’s who of the modelling and acting world, having worked with the likes of Stella McCartney, Gucci, Lancôme, Tim Walker, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Eddie Redmayne, as well as magazines such as Vogue, GQ and LOVE.
It’s impressive stuff. And the two talented chefs have an exciting few months ahead of them.
Their debut cook book – A Love of Eating – goes on sale from today, and features a range of their favourite recipes.
And in the summer, they are launching a new permanent site, Eccleston Place, in London’s Victoria, in the affluent West London district of Belgravia. The meat and game for their new eatery will be sourced from Lucy’s farm – Hedgeley Farms, near Powburn, which is part of the Hedgeley Estate and has been in the Carr-Ellison family since 1786.
Lucy and Jemima are excited about what 2018 will bring.
Lucy said: “Our new cook book is about our approach to cooking – the excitement of new flavours, the importance of seasonality and good produce and the pure pleasure of creating a delicious meal.
“It’s always been our dream to open a permanent site, and we couldn’t have thought of a better place than nestled in historic Eccleston Yard.”
Lucy and Jemima met in 2010 when they were living in New York – Lucy was studying photography and Jemima was interning at Vanity Fair.
They were put in touch by a mutual friend, they clicked, and the rest is history.
Sharing an interest in food, the pair would venture all over New York to sample the rich and varied culinary scene.
It was to excite their taste buds and fuel their idea for a new venture. They returned to London a few years later and were happy to see that a ‘food revolution’ was taking place in the UK.
However, the pair were struck by something. While they noticed that people were thinking more about the quality of the food they ate, there was something that was missing from what they had experienced in New York.
Over in the States, Lucy and Jemima had been impressed by the fresh, healthy food that was on offer, which was made by hand, instead of the dry sandwiches and wilted salads being served up in the UK.
So they cooked up an idea – to create a boutique-style catering company that made wholesome, attractive food. And so, Tart London was born.
It was to prove a recipe for success, and in their own words, they went from enthusiastic foodies who enjoyed cooking for family and friends, to professional cooks running on-site kitchens.
And some! Catering for bespoke shoots for some of the most influential names in the fashion and acting industry.
Famous actress, model and designer Sienna Miller has described Tart as serving up ‘the best food in London’, while British fashion photographer Tim Walker has said the Lucy and Jemima are ‘our favourite on-shoot cooks’.
No job is the same either – from working a horsebox in the countryside to a tiny minimalist studio in the city, and at times, cooking for groups of 40 or 50. But no matter the size or type of the job – Lucy and Jemima always stick to their mantra – to make everything fresh from scratch, in situ, all while thinking about the variety and presentation of the dishes.
To keep things fresh and different, the pair say they are constantly inspired by their travels.
And they also have other outlets to channel their abilities.
Recently, they started a two-month pop-up restaurant in West London.
They also write a weekly recipe column in the Evening Standard’s ES Magazine.
Not only has running a catering company and a restaurant helped them to fine-tune their skills, it has also enhanced their love and passion of seasonal and local produce.
While both based in London, they still spend time in the countryside – Lucy growing up in Northumberland and Jemima having a little farm in Somerset – and they admit that they often come back from family weekends with baskets of fruit and veg.
And now, they are sharing some of their dishes in the new cook book, which focuses on fun, easy, healthy, feel-good recipes, that are also affordable.
Dishes in the book include saffron roasted peppers, smoked haddock curry and a white chocolate, cardamom and raspberry tart. The book (ISBN 9781910931578) is priced £25.
Then there’s the launch of their first permanent venture in London – a multipurpose venue incorporating a restaurant, retail space and fashion photography studio, and an events space in partnership with Tom Warren, founder of Lock Studios. Eccleston Place by Tart London will incorporate all elements of Tart’s signature style, with a restaurant focused on all-day seasonal dining, grab and go with both healthy and more decadent options, a retail space showcasing beautiful products and homeware discovered on Lucy and Jemima’s travels and the large photography studio helmed by Tom, offering a new central London shoot space for brands and drawing in some of the world’s most important creatives to Victoria. The various elements of Tart at Eccleston Place will open in stages from early summer, beginning with the photography studio.
Lucy said: “This is more than a restaurant, we want to create that sense of warmth and home in busy central London with a light space that marries food, fashion, lifestyle and photography, the photographer’s kitchen.”
Housed in a former power station and coal store, the new restaurant and studio will retain the building’s original distinctive arched roof structure and skylights which date back to the 19th century.
The venture will be the flagship restaurant and lifestyle tenant of the new Eccleston Yards development by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland which will see a vibrant neighbourhood arrive at the intersection between Belgravia’s London village and busy Victoria.
Joanna Lea, retail director, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “We are hugely excited to welcome Tart London to Eccleston Yards with its first permanent and flagship site. We have created a new destination that showcases and champions creative, independent talent.
“The brand ethos that Lucy and Jemima have created completely embodies the healthy and energetic spirit we aim to foster. We want Belgravia to work harder for its community and all Londoners with thriving, enterprising places that appeal to all.”
For more information, visit www.tart-london.com
For a taste of Tart, give this a try.
White Chocolate, Cardamom and Raspberry Tart, with a Pecan and Hazelnut Base
Ingredients (serves 12)
175g unsalted butter, melted
2 pinches of sea salt
100ml double cream
300g good-quality white chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Spread both the pecans and hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes until nicely golden. Remove and set aside to cool.
2. Place half the nuts in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder, then put into a bowl. Blitz the rest of the nuts to a rough crumb, then mix with the powdered nuts. Add the melted butter and a pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Tip the mixture into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin and press firmly up the sides and into the bottom of the tin. You want the base to be crunchy and quite thin, rather than a thick crust. Chill in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
3. Put the mascarpone, double cream, white chocolate, vanilla and cardamom into a pan and warm over a low heat, stirring all the time to let the chocolate melt, then add a pinch of salt and remove from the heat.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the base. Return to the fridge and leave to set for about one hour.
5. Put the raspberries into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Use a spoon to press the raspberries through the sieve, leaving the seeds behind in the sieve. Once done, take the nearly-set tart out of the fridge and use a teaspoon to dot blobs of the raspberry purée over the tart. Turn the teaspoon over and drag the dots a little to create a pretty, swirled effect.
Return to the fridge for another two hours to set completely.