The Eighty Six List pop-up restaurant’s latest residents answer our questions
Throughout June, Eighty Six List, a hospitality network founded in 2015 by Natalia Ribbe-Szrok, is curating a month-long series of pop-up restaurants at 1 Cathedral Street, featuring some of the UK’s most exciting chefs. From 22nd—24th June, the guest chef will be Leandro Carreira alongside business partner and sommelier Cameron Dewar, who’ve worked together at Climpson’s Arch pop-up and Nuno Mendes’ Viajante. They talk travel, family life, and putting the spotlight on Iberian wines
How did you come to work in food?
Leandro Carreira: I was born and grew up in Portugal. I studied there, but I left a long time ago. I wanted to do something different, but I didn’t really know that I wanted to be a chef. I started working the same week I started culinary school and after I finished I thought cool, I can do this, I like this. I grew to enjoy it.
Cameron Dewar: I have always loved food—loved sitting around the table, sharing a meal. I’m from Melbourne, and as soon as I left school I began working in restaurants and hotel groups. What I really enjoyed when I moved to London was the nature of what was happening in the food industry. I was put in touch with a friend of a friend and ended up working at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, which is where I met Leo. The cooking style and scrutiny over detail was scary! It was a very fast-paced way of being introduced to that world.
What’s your earliest food memory?
LC: In my house, we always ate very well. Being at the table was very important for us. My grandmother was a great cook and my mum is too. Whenever we had one meal, we were thinking about what we would have for the next meal, it was a bit obsessive. I grew up close to the sea so I had a lot of fish and traditional Portuguese dishes. My memory is of it being very diverse, my diet.
CD: I come from a large family of five kids and both my parents had to work, so we would spend a fair bit of time next door with my grandmother, who made a lot of traditional stews things like that. We weren’t necessarily a food-focused family, but we were encouraged to pursue our interests—I did a lot of sports growing up, and tried to learn a language, not very well!—which meant we were all very busy, so the times we were sat round a table were quite special to me.
What’s your most recent project? Plans for future?
LC: Climpson’s Arch, which is a platform for chefs to showcase their ideas and concepts for a future restaurant. That’s the project that we finished last, but we are in the process of launching our own restaurant. I wish I could talk more about it, but I don’t really want to! It’s still in a sensitive position, but it should be open before the end of the year. After all these years, fun though it is to take part in other people’s projects, there comes a time when every single chef wants to have their own project, and feel free.
CD: We both still have day jobs to pay the bills while in the process of launching the restaurant: I am front of house and will be Leandro’s restaurant manager. I do pretty much anything that doesn’t involve cooking—financial stuff, as well as restaurant duties such as wine pairing. The restaurant is going to be on one of the back streets near London Bridge, which is what we preferred: we want a neighbourhood feel to the place.
What can we expect when you come to 1 Cathedral Street?
LC: I wanted to do simple food—that’s the way we’re going to go for the restaurant. I hate this phrase, but it’s about focusing on the produce, there’s no other way to say it. It’s a great opportunity to work with the Market, which is where we are going to get all the produce. I’ve been to the Market a lot of times, I know it well, and I am hoping to establish more relationships with people from there for the restaurant. It’s a good way to showcase a little bit of what we’re going to do. It’s going to be great.
DC: For the pop-up, we wanted an Iberian-focused wine list, so Spanish and Portuguese. We want to represent a part of the world that is kind of less glamourised, and focus on interesting wine regions. It works well with Leandro’s more Mediterranean style of cooking. We’ve worked together on and off for six years, so when Leo tells me what he’s going to do with a dish it doesn’t take much for me to come up with something that works well. Through experience and having that relationship, we work well together.
Where do you like to go out? Any stand-out experiences?
LC: I have been to lots of places, I am very lucky! The first time I ate at Noma was a stand-out for sure. Another is a place in New York called Atera which I went to with a friend of mine. Amass in Denmark—there are so many, I could talk about it all day. Travelling is something I have high regard for, I think for everyone but especially for a chef it’s really important. I have lived in seven different countries, which has helped a lot with my cooking.
CD: One of the places I always go to for a glass of wine is Antidote in Soho, which is a natural wine bar. It’s normally quieter than you’d think, considering it’s so central. They do really cool stuff. After that, I would say the Laughing Heart in Hackney, which is where I work at the moment and is probably one of the most fun restaurants I’ve ever worked in. I enjoy socialising there too, which is quite rare—quite often when you finish work you just want to get out the door. The guys at 48 Maltby Street do a great job, and it’s not so far from Borough. I’m hoping to frequent it more when we open up here.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
LC: Getting to eat lots of delicious food—to eat! I like to eat probably more than I like to cook, if I’m honest. I enjoy them both. I like to give people the same things that I like to feel when I go to a place: I like to feel comfortable, welcomed. To eat great food, drink great wine. To enjoy the experience and have a great time. That’s what I love.
DC: I personally love steering people’s experiences: having customers in front of me and talking to them about food, what we’ve got on offer today and showcasing the wine—perhaps introducing them to something they haven’t tasted before. That’s why I’m doing this, to create that experience at the table. I love service—I like the rush of it, the adrenaline and excitement of a buzzy restaurant. I think the industry has changed, and people are more comfortable asking questions and trying things. That’s one of the great things about Borough Market, it’s got such a strong food culture. Cathedral Street is an awesome site, it’s exciting to be doing something there.