December 17 2011
The first thing I do when I wake up is read the newspapers online with a cup of coffee. It is the best way I have found so far to switch on my brain. I love getting immersed in what is going on in the world and, if I can, I prefer to read about current affairs in the morning because it feels a bit less depressing. I do not really focus on any particular theme or any country – I am interested in all nations, attitudes and developments.
From there I look at the most important emails from the morning or the day before and as soon as I start answering some of them, I receive phone calls. Usually, during my first phone call, I already have three missed calls and I am already late. That is the one thing I hate about my life currently; I feel as if I am always running, I never have time for anything – not even for breathing! Last summer, I managed to take two weeks off for holidays and we went to Formentera. This island now represents my dream life – remote; barely no connection to the internet; food; sleep; friends; family. Every time I come back from such a place, it is big questioning time. I often think that I must be some sort of freak or masochist to do my job because it is an industry where you work so much and can never take any rest because the places have to evolve constantly. The more places a restaurateur has, the more problems it creates. I suppose I should be happy with the fact that it is what I do and what I am good at and hence I probably like it. I imagine everyone questions their lives from time to time; I certainly do.
Late as always, I usually jump on my Vectrix. It is a great “open sesame for London”. Everybody thinks that I am a very green person, caring for the environment and so on (which I do), but I actually have a Vectrix simply because it entitles me to park everywhere in the centre, which happens to be extremely practical for a man who is always running late.
Today, my work day started early on the phone but I arrived at Sketch at 1pm for a meeting with some interior designers who wanted to discuss a pop-up project for homeless people for next year. To be honest, I loved the idea but I have so much to do at the moment that I cannot foresee things that far in advance. The British love to plan – an alien concept to me. After that, I sat down with the manager from The Parlour at Sketch who is unfortunately leaving us because she is getting married in South Africa in January. I am very sad that we are losing her because she was good and it is quite difficult to find reliable staff, as I was explaining the other day, but how could I fight against love?
After which, I needed to pop in to the Mark Marengo shop in Savile Row to choose the fabrics and styles of the suits for our managers at Sketch. I love their way of working, the fact that they always come up with fabrics that are so unusual. It is quite difficult to find good fabric, good cuts for staff suits. I have known the guys since they first opened their boutique in Paris.
I usually have lunch in one of my restaurants, the one I feel that will be the most relaxed. It is a good opportunity to try new dishes and give feedback. I invariably end up in the kitchen afterwards to have a quick informal chat with the chefs. I prefer the informal approach – generally far more effective, I find. Today I chatted to Jean-Denis, the head chef from the gastronomic restaurant at Sketch, The Lecture Room.
The rest of the day was devoted to fabric, as I then met my friend Juliette to discuss the new upholstery of The Parlour at Sketch. Juliette is just brilliant. We organised a reception in Venice a couple of years ago. It was crazy because of the necessity of shipping everything through the canals but we managed it, did well and had lots of fun (only problem, no one had a decent camera, so no souvenirs). I love working with Juliette because I totally trust her taste and know that when she is in charge of a project, she will lead it perfectly till the end. I don’t even know if people notice that The Parlour is in constant evolution. The thing is that the atmosphere in the bar gets crazy at night and furniture breaks regularly. I have a maintenance guy only dedicated to this room but I would not change it in a million years because it is the way I like things to work for my venues. To witness that there is a vibrant energy of partying people – going out I believe is not all about looking smart and tight-assed; that would be so boring.
Finally I returned to my office to meet the designers for the Martin Creed project because looming Christmas makes December very short and there is still so much to do before the holidays.
Far from finishing my day there, I returned home to have dinner with Robin, another friend who has been working with me for nearly 10 years, programming the DJs and parties in general for The Parlour. Then we went to Amanda Levete’s party in Victoria Gardens. It was great fun, lots of people I had been keen to see for ages.