Join Hosco as we talk shop with the owners of one of London’s most exciting restaurants, Hicce
Where does the journey to owning and running one of the most exciting offers in the central London restaurant scene begin? For Pip Lacey and Gordy McIntyre, it started in the French Alps in 2000/1 where the duo met for the first time.
Both were working for Crystal Holidays in Alp d’Huez, Pip as a maitre d’hotel, and Gordy as a barman. Both had ambitions for much more. “We talked about running a place together from the moment we met,” Gordy explains.
“We used to say, let’s open a fine dining place in France, in the Alps and smash it, snowboard everyday and run the best bar/restaurant in the region. Good job we didn’t, as we’d have been bankrupt twice by now,” he laughs.
“It was a pop-up that showed us our potential as a team.”
Although many conversations are important, one chat for Pip in 2008 was life changing. “A friend said I should be a chef. I literally wet myself laughing. I mean, I had no experience or qualifications at all. I was in my late 20s. Me? A chef?,” Lacey says.
“But then I thought about it, and actually the idea wasn’t so out there. I always loved cooking, and often found myself in the kitchen during the season Gordy and I met. So I did it. I walked into Gordon Ramsay Group’s York & Albany, applied for a job, and they took the chance on me.”
Her rise through the ranks at Ramsey Group (Pip also worked at Royal Hospital Road) coincided with meeting her mentor, Angela Harnett. And in 2011, Harnett took Pip to Murano, her flagship Italian restaurant in the heart of Mayfair. But Pip’s burning passion for innovation and individuality meant her eyes and mind were always on something more challenging.
Fast forward to 2015. Pip and Gordy began running the popular London Gap pop-up restaurants with Adam Jay (who was at that time Head Chef @ Cafe Murano St James). As Pip explains, she loved working for Angela, but had the desire to see where she could take her career herself.
“The pop-ups were so much work, 18 hour days after full weeks in Murano, but they were also so rewarding. This was ours, without the influence of anyone else. We had the freedom we always wanted, the ability to make things unique.”
Gordy agrees. “I was the openings and operations manager at Greene King pub group, so had control of a big operation, really busy, hard work across multiple sites in London. Just like with Pip, I loved it but I always had the feeling that I could do more, especially with her,” he says.
“It’s all about passion and belief.”
What´s the reality of working day to day in one of Coal Drop Yards’ biggest success stories, Hicce?
“Be on the curve, stay there. Just be honest, listen to people and move the concept to where they are. Don’t be arrogant. Learn fast and change things that don’t work,” they both say in unison.
Gordy explains that they don’t want anyone who steps into Hicce to feel like a number, whether they are a paying customer or one of their 40+ staff. “Pip and I know what it feels like to be treated well on both sides – as a customer and an employee. So now that we can make everyone feel welcomed and involved, we always do.”
Regular training for front of house and kitchen staff has been a feature of the Hicce employee offer since day one. And in 2021, they are expanding their training offer. Now all their people will be able to attend two workshops a month, one practical and one more theory based. The training could cover something specific for the kitchen, or be general enough for front of house.
Potential topics for theory include sustainability & seasonality (where the kitchen staff might learn the importance of using seasonal ingredients), communication & team building, and key for people looking to build their own business in the hospitality industry, restaurant financials 101. “I have been so well supported throughout my career by people like Angela, Gordon, even Gordy, and we both want the same for anyone who works with us,” Pip says.
Gordy explains the concept in a simple sentence. “Hospitality is all about passion, belief and personality. If you have those three things you can succeed – with a load of hard work as well!”
“Hicce is for everyone who wants to have a good time.”
And what about Hicce itself? It’s a relaxed environment that screams good times, although in a much cooler way. Signature dishes include Hicce Boards, with options of cured salmon, wasabi cream cheese & shiso; duck rillettes; or fennel and garlic salami, and Hicce Plates, with sea bream, heritage tomatoes, basil & chilli; courgette, peas, ticklemore pomme dauphine, lemon & basil; or lamb neck, coco beans, pine nuts, gremolata & ricotta salata.
2021 has so far been great for Hicce. This year, they’ve done a huge expansion into a market downstairs, expanding the terrace and increasing covers beyond 100.. The cooking style is unique for british cuisine, using open fire and wood to create an ambiance of the ‘med’ in Kings Cross. This concept is hugely popular with the lunch crowd, for after work drinkers and diners, and at the weekend.
Hicce jobs are now on Hosco. Check out their job directory page with the link below – as a growing restaurant brand they are often looking for chefs and front of house people. If you want to know more, you can always contact them directly. Check out their profile on Hosco, here.