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OLLIE DABBOUS B


working five doubles any more. They’re getting an extra day off one week, then half a day off the next, so that was a big thing,” he says.


Flag in the sand Otherwise, what of the key challenges he faces with the restaurant in the future? “The primary answer to that question would be if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully getting a little bit better at it. I think we’ve maximised what we can do in terms of all the things that we wanted to at the beginning, but didn’t have the money. We’ve now done them.”


As well as working on a cookery


book, earlier this year Dabbous also opened Barnyard, a new 50-seat restaurant less than half a mile away. Under general manager Charlie Bolton


“It’s nice to plant your flag in the sand regarding certain dishes that I think are original or I haven’t seen anywhere else”


and head chef Joseph Woodland, Barnyard is relaxed, fun and upbeat and deliberately not interested in appealing to a Michelin inspector. On the surface then, perhaps an odd bedfellow to Dabbous? “I can see why people think that. Essentially it’s home cooking, but fast food,” Dabbous explains. “It’s comfort food but done to a level that your mum or gran never did, or if they did I’d like to meet them.”


As for his cookery book, painstakingly compiled and launching in September,


Dabbous is hoping that it will serve as “some form of tangible legacy” for his unique approach to cuisine. “It’s nice to plant your flag in the sand regarding certain dishes that I think are original or I haven’t seen anywhere else, it’s nice to have that portfolio, as such. I don’t want to cook forever so if I can set up a few things it will make the retiring process a little bit easier, hopefully,” he says. While it might sound extraordinary to hear a 33-year old chef talking of retirement already, Dabbous’ success has been incredibly hard-earned and nothing like the instant hit it has been portrayed in the culinary media. “It’s a bit like when you get the 18-year-old kid winning a tennis Open and people talk about an ‘overnight success’,” he says. “But that kid has had no social life and been playing tennis since the age of six.”


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