Peter Hartley-Booth


I’ve been working as a chef in London and abroad since I left the Besom charity nearly four years ago, where I interned and worked.During the Besom stint I was involved in working at their micro-finance sister company, Facetoface, helping people start small businesses. I was challenged by how you encourage those who don’t know what they are good at. I imagined a launch-pad to tackle this might be a professional environment that instilled self-worth, embossed and developed talents.

Outside of work I was cooking a fair bit, occasionally for money, and decided a food business could have a few different guises and limbs so sought to learn in that industry.

That’s been going for a few years: I started in a pub kitchen in Notting Hill, on the grill – a literal baptism of fire – and a month ago I left the research arm of Noma in Copenhagen. In between I’ve helped launch a restaurant and products for retail. Every door has opened miraculously.

Timing has always been unexpected. I had intended to take up a long term contract in Copenhagen beginning in September, and had some solid job offers back here in the UK but I was moved to turn them down, to pursue my wholesome bread business ideas.

On returning things started falling in place, freelance work appeared when necessary to keep things ticking over, and I attended Watershed, a fortnight that broke new ground for me. It was the most encouraging place to have long-held ideas about starting a business challenged, and some clear next-steps determined.

The excellent team translated a ton of key concepts into accessible and applicable pieces about day-to-day and long-term direction, and about people management. The combined attention to practical business themes and personal development drove home both the importance of focus and of letting go of trying to do everything. It was an invaluable time and a lot of fun.

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