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 Tate’s 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 I’ve opened boutique hotels in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia, I’ve opened restaurants for Conran, including Coq d’Argent and Bluebird and worked for Compass for five years.
Tate is different to many other galleries. We’re 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. We’re not making profits for someone else.
The new Members Room is fantastic. I think it’s 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 we’ve 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 we’ve never been able to do at Tate Modern. It’s going to be a place where people can spend a lot more time, almost like a private members club, and that’s really how we’re looking at it.
The food will champion the best of British. It’s 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 it’s generally only been out of the water for 24 hours.
There definitely is a ‘Tate style’ of food, but it’s difficult to pinpoint what that is. It’s about food that is comforting and friendly – it’s about quality and consistency.