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A Day in the Life of Michael Daniel, Owner of The Gate

Aoife Geary of Jobbio talks to The Gate owner Michael Daniel, here’s an extract from the interview

Tell us about your role and how you got there.
My role as the owner is to oversee everything. I’m not involved with each person directly but my job is to inspire from the top down and guide the business as a whole.
The business really started when my brother found the space, he was looking to get into catering and he stumbled across the space by accident. It was available to rent and he phoned me up and said ‘Do you want to help me open up a restaurant?’ It was all a bit pie in the sky – like what the hell – yesterday we didn’t have a restaurant, today we’ve got a restaurant! We were making traditional vegetarian dishes – lasagne, curry, hummus – another 2 restaurants and 27 years later, here we are.

What’s been the biggest change for you in all that time?
I think the whole of society is different. From social media to Deliveroo there’s been a lot of changes in how we eat and experience food. 30 years ago people weren’t eating out like they do now. Today, if you’re under a certain age, you just don’t cook at home very often.

What are ‘must have’ qualities to work at the Gate?
A desire to grow. Why else are you in catering otherwise? When you work on our team that growth is possible at any level. Last week I walked in the kitchen and the guy who had been washing the dishes was serving food. That’s amazing! Our chefs have the ability to grow people but those people have to want it too.

What advice would you have for people looking to excel in the industry?
In catering, you really need to give all of yourself to succeed. It’s about really throwing yourself in and then being open to learning. That’s how you grow, that’s how you really excel. Find someone to be your mentor, that can help you grow.
I did it through modelling other people who had more experience and knowledge than me. You can achieve amazing things in the catering industry when you try.

Click here to read the full interview

If you’d like to join The Gate team, click here

Foraging at The Gate Seymour Place (and a new recipe!)

The Art of Foraging at The Gate Seymour Place

On Thursday 4th May we are hosting #VegTalks on The Art of Foraging at The Gate Seymour Place as part of London Craft Week 2017. We only have a couple of places left, please email marketing@thegaterestaurants.com to reserve yours!

So why did we choose wild garlic and nettles? Not only are they in season and fairly easy to forage in the urban jungle that is London town, but we want to show you how much we can do with them and how good they are for you!
The common nettle for instance is a powerful and much underestimated part of the wild food chain. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and iron, and one of its amazing uses is as a preventative antihistamine, which if taken steadily from very early Spring will be most effective against allergies such as hay fever.
Garlic is well known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and antiseptic properties. The main health benefit of garlic is its effectiveness in reducing blood pressure and wild garlic has the greatest effect.

Now let’s get cooking! What can you do with nettle and wild garlic?
Nettles are best in early spring when they are supercharged with all things good! Blanch or boil to remove the sting and use them as you would a leaf vegetable. Add it to stir-fries or simply steep the leaves in boiling water to make a healthy and warming tea.
With wild garlic, unlike domestic garlic, it is the leaves, rather than the bulbs, that are prized. Use them raw in salads, sandwiches, dressings and finely chopped as a garnish. A popular use is in pesto instead of basil. When cooked the leaves can be used like spinach or you can blanch and puree them as a sauce, in soups, stews, risottos, and lots more! The stems and unopened flowers are great in salads and stir fries. You can also eat the opened flowers, their flavour is stronger than that of the leaves. In small quantities the flowers make a decorative and tasty addition to salads.

If you don’t feel like cooking but want to try something new, our new lunch menu features a lovely vegan Penne Alla Nettle. And if you want to give foraging a go, our Head of Food Yossi Edri has been kind enough to share his (not-so-secret anymore) recipe!

Penne alla Nettle (vegan)

Ingredients:
500g penne
200g nettle leaves
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted 30ml lemon juice
10g garlic, peeled
50ml olive oil
250ml soy cream
100g rocket leaves, washed
100g cherry tomatoes, split in half
Salt & pepper

Method:
1. Cook the pasta as instructed on the packaging and reserve
2. Bring some water to the boil, place the nettle leaves for 1 minute in the boiling water and then remove and refresh in ice cold water
3. In a high speed blender mix the cooked nettle, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and most of the pine nuts (about 40g) to make a pesto
4. In a large frying pan place a bit olive oil and the pesto and start warming it with the vegan soy cream. Add the pasta and mix till the pesto is mixed evenly. When it’s all hot and ready to serve, mix in the cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves, plate in pasta bowls and decorate with remaining pine nuts.

Proper Vegetarian Breakfast at The Gate Seymour Place

We’re very excited to launch Breakfast and Brunch at The Gate Seymour Place on the 4th February! Breakfast will be served Monday to Friday from 8am-11.30am and brunch on weekends from 9am-4pm. The Gate Seymour Place is the first of our three restaurants to serve breakfast and brunch! In line with our long-standing ethos, all dishes are healthy, produced using carefully sourced ingredients, and showcase the versatility of vegetarian food.

Our founder Michael Daniel explains: “We wanted to translate The Gate’s signature take on vegetarian food to a breakfast menu and the opening of Seymour Place gave us the perfect opportunity. With a range of vegan dishes and some new takes on established dishes, we’re excited about this menu and look forward to welcoming customers to The Gate Seymour Place for the most important meal of the day.”

The menu includes vegetarian and vegan takes on cooked breakfast favourites including a Full English featuring smoked butter bean sausages and grilled smoked tofu rashers, and Scrambled Tofu with chunky avocado & spring onion on toasted Sourdough seasoned with sumac, za’atar. Popular breakfast dishes such as Huevos Rancheros, Omelettes and Shakshuka will sit alongside lighter dishes such as Potted Chia, both vegan and gluten free. The team at The Gate tasted all the dishes on the breakfast menu – it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it! – and one of our favourites was the Raw Chocolate Bowl made with organic Peruvian raw cacao. Not only is it rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it will also boost your immune system and give you increased energy. It’s as healthy as a bowl of hot chocolate can be!

After making sure all the dishes were tried and tested, we hosted our first breakfast event last Wednesday, for the launch of Azamara Club Cruises’ local experiences. The 30 attendees mingled over Grapefruit & Orange Juice and Carrot, Ginger & Apple juice, then sat down for a bespoke sharing-style menu of Scrambled Tofu, Potted Chia, Homemade Granola, Herb Frittata, Raw Pancakes and Fresh fruit Platters, before a short presentation. Our first early morning event under our belt, we got up again before sunrise the next day to host a fashionable vegan brunch to launch Olivia Burton’s new line of vegan-friendly watches. The semi-private area was decorated with beautiful flowers to match the very pretty watches on display. The intimate gathering attracted quite a crowd including Emma Crompton, Venetia Falconer, Sophie Milner and Aj Odudu, who admired the new products an Apple Mojito in hand. The girls tucked into Vegan Omelettes, Banana & Flax Raw Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu.

For any information on booking your own event at any of our restaurants please email marketing@thegaterestaurants.com You can find our Breakfast and Brunch menus here: thegaterestaurants.com/menu

 

The Gate Seymour Place

The launch of The Gate Seymour Place, our third restaurant, marks an important step in the life of our family business. I felt the time was right to bring our take on vegetarian dining to a wider audience. We’re obsessed with the quality of food and the optimisation of vegetables and we wanted our food to be easily accessible. Opening a third restaurant in Central London made sense, and we’re particularly excited to be doing so in Seymour Place where we’re surrounded by many fellow independents.

Opening our third restaurant presented its challenges, as is always expected when opening a new restaurant. Finding a suitable site was one of the first challenges. I drove around town for hours trying to find a suitable location, from South London to Dalston and Central London. At first, the site on Seymour Place, where The Lockhart once stood, was already taken but two hours after the deal fell through we received a call asking us to move quickly if we were still interested.

Funnily enough, we had a similar experience while looking for a site for our second restaurant in Islington. I fell in love with the space and with Sadler’s Wells down the road it was a no-brainer. But another buyer had already agreed to buy it, again luck was on our side and we exchanged contracts within 48 hours.

But let’s get back to Seymour Place. Once I found a new abode for our third restaurant, the next step was working on the interiors. We wanted the design to reflect the food and we used different textures and layers to do just that.

You may have noticed we like to keep things in the family, so I enlisted the help of my wife and architect Alice Bajrach of Studio Alice. She designed The Gate Seymour Place in a pared-back style with plain walls, maximum use of natural light and simple furnishings to achieve a calm and refreshing space.
We felt it’d be best to keep the interiors simple and fresh but inventive, just like our cooking. We wanted our customers to leave the restaurant feeling nourished and calm, both the interiors and food work to help us achieve our goal.

It wasn’t always an easy journey and it’s nowhere near over (who knows, we might open a fourth restaurant!), but that’s the beauty of life, the journey makes it all worth it…

The Gate Restaurant – Ambitious About Autism

The-team-smallCharity, as the old adage goes, begins at home and doing good is something I’ve grown up believing in. You’d have to have some reason to set up a vegetarian restaurant business in London nearly 30 years ago with absolutely zero experience and less money! Anyway, fast forward to a couple of years ago and I was discussing with my (now) Director of Business, John Page about how to get really hands on with a charity and I wasn’t talking about writing a cheque.

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