It all began when Raymond Blanc walked through the door of the kitchen of London’s Claridge’s hotel, where I was working. He prepared a tomato dish which I tasted, nothing I ever tried managed to pack so much flavour, but was yet so light and balanced.
The next thing I knew I was working at Raymond’s two star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, where I spent a decade. It was here that I studied nutrition and qualified as a nutritional therapist. I ended up eventually leading Raymond’s cookery school. Raymond taught me about the importance of variety and the details that affect the quality of produce. I came to deeply respect the food chain, and taught my guests all about nutrition and how to source food in a responsible fashion.
It was finally being able to eat at Rene Redzepi’s NOMA in Copenhagen in March 2013 that reconnected me to my passion for nutrition and the food chain. I was so inspired by New Nordic food, with its reverence for natural produce and intimacy with the seasons that drew me to do a stage in the NOMA kitchen. I returned to London feeling inspired, and established The Topham Suppers with my partner Salma.
Later that year, I returned to Copenhagen to intern at the Nordic Food Lab, where I immersed myself in artisanal food production, science and fermentation. I later returned to the lab again to work on a somewhat unorthodox project — the deliciousness of insects. This was where I met Hong Kong born chef Richie Lin, who told me upon my return to London that a friend of his was looking to open an interesting restaurant in Hong Kong. That restaurant became NUR.