Gabrilele Gori of VNK and The Italian Revolution dropped by the Cult & Boutique Show to speak with us about his ventures in hospitality and his journey through the trade.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (00:00):
So another episode of the Cult & Boutique show. My name is Daniel Paterson, uh, with me today, you could say as someone who is disrupting the food industry for all the right reasons, uh, Working exclusively in the past with the likes of Pret, Paul’s, Gayle’s Bakery, Whole Foods now heading up his own empires, V N K and the Italian revolution limited. Gabrielle Gori. Gabrielle, thank you for joining me today. How are you?
Gabriele: I’m very good. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I am more than
welcome and thank you for joining us today. And could you please explain to our viewers and listeners a bit about yourself, how you started off within the food industry and how you transitioned from the likes of Pretz pools, whole foods, et cetera. It’s now headed up, um, VNK and the Italian revolution when I, uh, came into this country as an unskilled worker in 2000, um, and started washing dishes for admin or catering as a K through an agency. Originally I actually came to this country to be a musician. Um, but when I got here and started hanging around with musicians, realize that we’re all living in pro in poverty. So I decided to get myself a job. Um, and prep was my, um, my Tigo place because there were playing jazz in the shops in the foot. It was a good environment for me. Um, and I was lucky enough to find a company that told me a lot of the basics of what I know today and gave me the passion for, you know, for what I’m doing today. Uh, so lots of the, um, you know, the basic skills, uh, and the leadership skills that I’ve got today, they come from, from a training of prep. Um, and then throughout the years I was lucky enough to work with, you know, with, with companies, but mostly we had mentors and managers that grew my skills and, um, and helped me grow in the industry. Um, so I moved from prep to, um, to poll for UK as a, uh, uh, a junior manager. Um, I was with them for a few years and around, um, a few shops in the central London until I met, um, uh, the guys at Gail’s, uh, when I was working in homestead. Um, and I was off the a a position as an arrow manager for them, um, and which was in a very, very good change, very good company at the time. It was still very small, very independent. Um, and I, um, I’ve been with them for a few years, open a few new sites and moved on to, um, onto a couple of independent. And so to what end, uh, whole foods eventually, uh, in High St Kensington as a, uh, as a a food team leader prepared for team leader, um, and working out this morning dependent as to whole foods, uh, visa Bloomsbury.
And that led to, uh, to the start of my self employment in 2015. Uh, what basically I started doing what I was doing already. So helping clients operationally from, you know, starting out to bettering the, the, the, the operation. Um, until I met my partners a couple of years ago and, uh, BNK group limited was formed in the UK. Um, and eventually the opportunity in camden Mike, um, came up about 18 months ago. Uh, and that’s probably taught him revolution was born in joint venture with butter them brewery, um, any today. Um, and that’s what we are now in Camden.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (03:37):
Well, it’s funny because I enjoy guns prep still in a, in Richmond and you’re right, one of the things, customer service, great. The food, very fresh. The music as you mentioned, very good music. Um, when I used to live in West Kensington actually, uh, we always used to go see the whole foods. They’re great wine selection. Bozo a beautiful layout. Cause I believe it’s an upstairs is what is the downstairs, right.
That was my venue actually. Yeah. The venue floor as they call it. It’s like a restaurant flows restaurant as well. Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. I mean we, we, we used to call it a porn food.
Oh, sorry. Food, food port. Hope was because the display and all of the colors. Nice, beautiful. Definitely hints. Oh, this is what enticed you in. Now you are paying a slight premium, a whole fee and rightly so because you get some fresh quality and fresh produce. But again, it was that layout that would just bring you in and you’d think, okay bun. But again, you know, you’re guessing high quality food that but some. All right. You mentioned of course about one of your stores, which is based in Camden. Um, the Italian Ali, which by the way, absolutely super great prices, great food to, if you haven’t been there, go there. I
can vote trip taken my wife, I’ve taken my children. I absolutely love her. Um, but obviously for you, what is the criteria which needs to be met is, you know, in order for these establishments become a part of the network, are you looking at things such as location, location, location? Is it also reputation or is it market trends based on that area? Because obviously London does offer that stoke Newington, Camden isn’t. And what does it for you?
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (05:21):
Well, I mean, uh, I guess it’s a balance of, you know, all of the elements that you, that you mentioned. Of course, you know, when, especially when, when we help, um, clients working on new concepts, obviously, you know, concept and market trends is the first thing, uh, to think about. Um, you know, you want to do something that is needed in, you know, in, in, in the local community. Um, and then obviously after that, you, you would know you’re the demographic that would appeal to, uh, uh, to your sort of concept. And therefore location is very important. Uh, and you know, reputation becomes very important after you open doors and stars that do your job. Uh, you know, you gotta do it right and make people happy. Um, so that you get people to talk about you positively. So it is, I think it’s a balance of, of, of, you know, all of these elements that frankly,
well, definitely I think Camden is one of the best places to have. If you’re going to have anything, Camden is the place because it attracts so many people and there’s so many other events going on there and it just lures people who as if something innovative, new creative. And I suppose I’m that tastes good at the end of the day. Did I? So I definitely, I’m not, you’ve been on record speaking about, um, stuffing, um, you know, within the hospitality industry, um, and obviously as most people sounds used as a springboard to getting 12 roles I’ve seen with Brexit, I’m the more recent news that unskilled workers, which I think is an absolute joke, but it’s the DNAs we’re in will not be able to stay in the U K what effects do you think this will have within the industry and for yourselves as a company? And do you
think it will have a negative of a positive effects on user experience? And the reason I ask that as an example, when a guy’s to an Italian restaurant, I like to be served by someone who is Italian. If I go to an Indian restaurant, someone is Indian, Chinese, you got the pitch shop.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (07:22):
are you opening the kind of warm Stan? Um, it is, um, it was a very tough news. Uh, we all, we all very worried in the industry of course. Uh, cause you know, as I came into this country in 19 years old as I am unskilled work, uh, and I’m, I’m obviously an immigrant, uh, as well and you know, started working as a kitchen port. Uh, and I, um, and, and in, uh, my, I guess my passion and my effort, um, got me to create employment opportunities and tax revenues today. My companies, uh, so obviously that, you know, when I, when I read, when I read the news, I was, you know, her personally as well as very worried though was my companies and you know, what’s going to happen with recruitment and finding the right skills and the right people, you know, from, from after December, 2020.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (08:19):
Um, I don’t know. I hope it’s still some, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll Priti Patel said the other day, something that would evolve into something more manageable, um, before the end of the year. Obviously the hospitality industry is not the only industry that was suffered from this. Uh, you know, my, my wife is a, is a, there’s a doctor works in a hospital. Um, and you know, D did the amount of unskilled work is that out of it that I’m not talking about the doctors of course, but you know, the nurse assistants and cleanness and all of these people that are vital, um, you know, or the industry and similarly, um, in, in what I do, you know, it’s a 26,000 pounds is, um, is obviously not a kitchen port, the salary in the industry. Uh, but the key porters is the most important people in the restaurant. So it’s really bad news. I hope he’s gonna you know, better itself before the end of the year. Uh, it looks pretty tragic.
Oh, you’re right. I hope so as well because it’s funny you mentioned of course with your, with your story too because you know my mother as well, she, she’s an immigrant and when she came to this country, thinks about 40 years ago, something like that, it was, it was as a, it was on a student’s visa, which I believe was uneasy about a maximum time, six weeks. I could be wrong, there could have been six months, but again, she was on the, I would stay here. Um, cause her uncle who was in America was able to support her bop in between, not she was doing the jobs that most skilled or unskilled people would and wants to do, which was waking up at 4:00 AM walking in the hotel, hoovering, claimed the beds, then come 1:00 PM going down to Lester square, walking on the buck King of that until 12:00 AM.
And then again, it’s true. I lots of these so-called unskilled works and I think it’s very unfair to quote in that I had a lot of value to this country and it is all about that authenticity, full stops. I know. I appreciate that. Anyway, but like I said, there’s a can of worms, so I think it’s best to move on from that button. All right. Now with, with online sales having a huge effects on the high street, do you think that this is created more opportunity within the food and beverage sector? Because I know from experience that we’re seeing a huge ups on as an example in coffee shops and restaurants here in Richmond, uh, with the emphasis on quality,
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (10:54):
I mean, online sales is definitely changing. The industry, uh, you know, or change in the high street, um, I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing or a bad change. It’s just a change. Um, you know, Petro station used to have horses to exchange horses. Um, you know, back when we didn’t have petrol, now they’ve got petrol, eventually they gonna have electricity, I guess, and charging stations similarly. Um, you know, for, for, for the retail and hospitality industry, it’s just, you know, a change. Um, I think what’s happening with the high street, uh, a is more about skimming essentially at the moment and getting the, uh, you know, the operators that can manage this change and get onboard with it, um, to keep operating well and, and, and, and flourish. Uh, whereas, you know, other operators and we see, you know, from, um, lots of Rita’s thoughts at the moment. Suffering big chains massively. Um, seminary for restaurants, you know, a, you’ll the likes of Deliveroo, just the thought of these delivery companies offering a very useful service for restaurants. People tend to get out less. Um, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the, the wrestling industry on the high street is going to die because of that. It just needs to evolve and change opportunity.
Yeah, I know adaptation is definitely the key, isn’t it? So, all right. And um, I was reading on Forbes magazine a few months back, um, though talking about the upcoming food trends for 2020 and many people for vegetarian, vegan was just the fad. People grow old. That’s, but that’s going to be, again, you’ve seen it yourself and you’ve probably been in a big positive, you know, the, uh, the shift as well. Cause I believe Pretz they’ve got all set like a vegetarian, uh, outlets, haven’t they, um, across the UK. Um, obviously this talks about regenerative agriculture, West African cuisine, nonalcoholic happy hour, becoming more mainstream for yourself. Do you see any other upcoming trends, uh, happening in the future or what? Well,
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (13:10):
definitely, you know, the, um, um, customers today, especially young customers that they, the, the, the um, the panel or the attention to the environment and to the health side of things. Um, so definitely we, uh, you know, beginnings, uh, ESEA to stay I don’t think is just a, a trend that will go anytime soon. Um, and, um, in terms of predicting what’s going to happen next, uh, I can’t tell you today, uh, what I would, I hope it would happen mags, is to, um, hopefully go more. Um, you know, from, from extreme veganism that we’ve seen at the moment to, you know, close it to my grandmother’s diet. You know, you would, um, you wouldn’t eat meat every day, you wouldn’t meet once or twice a week, you know, fish once a week and then it’d be vegetables and pretty much vegan food. Maybe a little bit of cheese if
you’re lucky, you know, throughout the week.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (24:30):
Uh, I guess many consistently not the, they, it depends. I love going to gigs. I go as much as possible. One of my favorite band to, um, to go and see. And thankfully they come to the UK. Uh, quite a law is tower of power. Um, um, there’s a funk band that been going on since 1968. Um, cause I always love going to see them. They, you know, it’s, it’s a big show. There’s a lot of demo stage. It’s pretty good. Um, but, uh, again, anything, you know, the from, you know, from a small Abishai Cohen gig at Ronnie Scott’s to, um, you know, to, to, to tower of power at, at the forum or you know, um, metal band in a bigger venue.
Have you ever been to the download festival? Funny child soul and never been to the download festival. Okay. Okay. That’s definitely one. If you’re doing quite a spread of different bands and whatnot, you would definitely appreciate the download festival.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management (25:33):
I was close to go a couple of years ago and then someone could make mints happen and I couldn’t go. But yeah, no, he’s, he’s a, they usually have a pretty good lineup
[inaudible] cost as well, which I think where they’ve got the, um, motorcycle race truck as well. So you could always combine both your passions there. So I wouldn’t necessarily recommend listening to that music while driving the most about it, but ah, yeah. Alright, fine.
Cult & Boutique Wine Management
Well, Gabriele, thank you very much for today it’s been very insightful. I feel I’ve learnt a lot, hopefully our viewers and listeners would have too. Thanks for your time once again. Um, and yes, thank you once again for tuning in. Until next time. Be good.