What inspired the launch of One Fine Dine?
One Fine Dine is something that I have been thinking about for a number of years. The takeaway market has absolutely exploded but what’s not been on the market is a higher-end product and also food that is not delivered hot. Our product is cold, and needs assembling: it’s fun, a kit. We are taking two amazing worlds: high-end fine dining and takeaway and have created something in the middle that combines these two polar markets and that is accessible for all. We have been the market leader in private jet catering for years and from my point of view, if we can cater for aircrafts, we can cater for houses. We started picking up clients and sending foods to their chefs and that’s how we started our launch.
And can you tell us how On Air Dining became One Fine Dine?
On Air Dining is still going – that’s our private jet arm, and One Fine Dine is our home delivery arm. They operate in very similar fashion, however on the aircraft side we get a lot less notice and the menu can be extremely diverse, clients can have whatever they want off-menu, whereas One Fine Dine works more on our products and by putting together an assembly paint-by-numbers-kit. It’s a lot of fun.
Can you describe the services offered by One Fine Dine and how they go beyond food?
We have had 10 years of developing a product for aircrafts that allows a flight attendant to re-create a dish to the same level as one of our chefs. That has taken 10 years of development and there are all sorts of elements that go into it, but essentially it comes as a kit and you follow the instructions – whether that’s on the photo guide that we give to you with every dish, or from our videos on our YouTube channel of how to put it together. You can do it yourself and look like a top chef or you can get the whole family involved where everyone makes their own dishes and it’s really creative. We take approximately 70-80 per cent of the work away from the customer and it’s more about the fun of plating and making it look beautiful and then having some amazing food afterwards.
Do you have any dishes on the menu that are particular favourites?
Yes, the miso cod dish is a big winner. Our desserts are also a lot of fun, people rave about those. The tomato and mozzarella is another favourite, that’s a really lovely dish.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why?
I think being an entrepreneur and a business owner is like the analogy with the duck swimming on a fast flowing river: from the top the duck looks serene and underneath it’s paddling like crazy. You have got to be positive all the time and you never know what’s coming round the corner. The world of being an entrepreneur is quite lonely. You are on your own and sometimes have to make very big decisions. So I think the best bit of advice I’ve been given was to spend at least 30-40 per cent of your time thinking – you need the time to strategise and balance between the emotional and constructive decisions that you have to make, which is always very important.
Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?
My dad! He built everything from scratch. That had huge positives: he had an incredible work ethic and great people skills, for example, but I also learnt from some of his mistakes too and have tried to get the balance of building a business and being a father and a family man at the same time. I have tried to make sure that I am there as much as I can be as well.
What ingredient can you not live without and why?
Chilli flakes, I love my spicy food and I always keep a pot of chilli flakes in my office because I end up putting them on most things! What item can you not travel without?
There are always three things that I travel with that I can’t do without. Passport, insulin as I am Type 1 diabetic and have been for over 30 years, and my sunglasses. Everything else I can do without or can quite easily buy.
Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
Sticks’n’Sushi is just fabulous. I think the staff who work there, the attitude, their whole company and brand, the ethos and culture are just fantastic. We work a lot with them at On Air Dining and I always enjoy it, the food is great, I’ve never had a bad meal there. I love the Opera Tavern too. Especially sitting at the bar and ordering tapas, which is one of my favourite foods.
What do you like to do on a day off?
Hang out with my kids. I like to cycle and do fun, cool stuff with my wife and three kids.
Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
The outdoors. I love my motorbikes and cars: I’m a big motorhead. And business! I love doing business, all different types: building stuff, ideas, creating things, I just love it.
When self-isolation is over, who do you most look forward to having dinner with?
My wife and kids, because they are stuck in Spain, in Barcelona, and have been there for three weeks. I am here in the UK and I haven’t seen them during that time. And I might not see them for a number of weeks more depending on how the situation continues. The second that this is all over I just want to hang out with my family.