Stephen Goodlad, Tate’s executive chef, speaks on overseeing the restaurants and cafés across all four gallery sites, the new Members Room at Tate Britain, and championing the best of British food
Tate really encompasses everything that catering is. From a simple sandwich, to fine dining in the Whistler restaurant, right through to a dinner for three-hundred. I enjoy having several operations going on at once, it all offers a different take on what Tates all about.
I went to catering college in Yorkshire then came down to London to cook in various hotels: The Dorchester, Grosvenor House, The Ritz… Since then Ive opened boutique hotels in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia, Ive opened restaurants for Conran, including Coq dArgent and Bluebird and worked for Compass for five years.
Tate is different to many other galleries. Were one the few who still do everything ourselves in house, with all the money we make going back into the gallery, to spend on art, the restoration of the buildings and services we offer. Were not making profits for someone else.
The new Members Room is fantastic. I think its one of the nicest new spaces in the gallery with an amazing area to display food. A lot of thought has gone every aspect: even the cutlery that weve selected is British-designed, manufactured and hand-finished in Gloucestershire from an award-winning company called Studio William.
It also has its own kitchen meaning we can serve hot meals, something weve never been able to do at Tate Modern. Its going to be a place where people can spend a lot more time, almost like a private members club, and thats really how were looking at it.
The food will champion the best of British. Its the kind of place where there will be a roast joint on a Sunday, and the same in the Whistler. Wherever possible in the business we use British suppliers: all our meat is British, all our fish is from British seas. Most of the seafood we buy comes straight off the day-boats down in Cornwall: when we get it its generally only been out of the water for 24 hours.
There definitely is a Tate style of food, but its difficult to pinpoint what that is. Its about food that is comforting and friendly – its about quality and consistency.