Want to know what post-service guilty pleasure the staff at Braunton’s SQ Bar & Restaurant indulge in? Owner Olly Seymour gives us a peek into his world of hospitality
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
Our Robocook. It can do everything: cook, grind, blend, puree, blitz, heat. Once we’d bought it I couldn’t understand how we’d ever lived without one.
What’s your earliest food memory?
As a child I had two career ambitions: to be a lawyer and a chef. When I was nine, my nan gave me a menu signed by Keith Floyd and I got the hospitality bug.
Wish you’d known 10 years ago?
That I didn’t have to undertake a law degree (I’m a fully qualified solicitor) to do what I’m doing. But it did give me the understanding and appetite for negotiation – as many of my suppliers will attest to.
Where do you like to eat out?
We eat out regularly – often with our three young children in tow. We like the local produce at Darts Farm but our favourite local lunchtime haunt in north Devon is The Coffee Cabin in Appledore.
Like to have supper with?
Richard Caring (owner of Caprice Holdings and restaurants The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey) is the king of casual fine dining. I’d like to ask him how he understood what people wanted and exceeded their expectations, creating an internationally recognised brand in the process. He’d be a very interesting man to meet.
Which food trend would you rather forget?
Pulled pork: it’s completely overrated.
Pet hates when eating out?
My wife’s pet hate is that I can’t sit in a restaurant without evaluating everything from the staff to the food. I don’t have an off-switch and she hates it. But it’s all in order to improve our own business and there’s always something positive to pick up.
What’s hot at the moment?
Our flat iron steak is selling unbelievably well on the set menu. People are coming in on a weekly basis to have steak and chips without feeling like they’re breaking the bank.
Most memorable day of your career so far?
Last year we ran a full Christmas Day lunch service for over 110 people. The planning, food, service and execution were spot on, leaving the restaurant full of happy diners. I couldn’t have been on a bigger high and went to bed exhausted but feeling we’d done what we set out to achieve when we opened SQ. I couldn’t have been prouder.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
After a busy day at work, the team and I always order a round of thickshakes from our sister restaurant Squires just over the road.