MARLO MEETS: PHIL HOWARD
Phil Howard is one of the most celebrated chefs in the culinary world, known for his innovative and sophisticated approach to contemporary cuisine. He is the former chef-patron of The Square, one of London's most prestigious restaurants which held two Michelin stars for over 17 years. Today, Phil's focus is on his four London restaurants - Elystan Street, Kitchen W8, Church Road and his latest venture, Notto Pasta Bar.
We have the pleasure of catching up with Phil for latest edition of Marlo Meets - he tells us about Notto, the best meal of his life, his ideal superhero power and what's in store for the rest of 2023.
1. Tell us a bit about your latest creation, Notto Pasta Bar?
It’s a wonderfully simple restaurant focusing on exceptional hand made pasta. We have a heavy hitting team behind it and so far we are extremely happy with the overall offering. It’s fast moving, buzzy and full of energy - but the focus is obviously very much on quality. Affordable, utterly delicious quality! Watch this space!
2. Have you had to adapt your businesses in response to the challenging times we’ve seen over the last year?
We have all had no option but to evolve in these challenging times but given the back drop of Covid we have all become accustomed to working with tighter teams. The focus is recruiting the right people and working together as a tight unit. Delivering a healthy bottom line has become increasingly tricky but with the right people and a focus on offering great hospitality it is still achievable.
3. Was being a chef your childhood dream?
No. I really had no foodie memories until I went to university. My mum is a great cook so we ate well. But it was at uni that I had to start cooking and knew from very early on that cooking would become a huge part of my life. It felt to me like I had found the reason I was put onto this planet. An amazing feeling….
4. Aside from at your own restaurants, what’s the best meal you’ve had in your life?
Probably one of the early meals I ate at Harveys. Marco cooked food that was both incredibly beautiful to look at an unbelievably good to eat. I had some truly epic meals at Faviken over the years too.
5. Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party, held at Elystan Street?
Great foodies I guess…..mentors such as Simon Hopkinson and Marco. Chefs I admired like some of the old school crew who I looked up to so much as a young chef - such as Nico Ladenis, Albert and Michel Roux, Pierre Koffman and Raymond Blanc. And great cooks who I have had the pleasure of cooking along side over the years.
6. If you could have any superhero power, what would you have and why?
I’m a very keen skier….and fear can get the better of you when tackling tricky terrain. Spiderman skills could come in handy.
7. Do you enjoy cooking for yourself, or is that the last of your concerns after a long shift?
Absolutely. Simple things. Perfect ingredients shown a bit of love.
8. What’s in store for 2023, do you have any exciting projects coming up?
A year of consolidation and focus. Elystan Street has new teams in the build both front and back and NOTTO, I hope, will continue to grow.