Eyre, David (5 of 10). Food: From Source to Salespoint

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  • Subjects

    Chefs; Restaurateurs; European cuisine

  • Recording date

    2011-03-18, 2011-03-30, 2011-06-21, 2011-09-28

  • Recording locations

    British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Eyre, David, 1961- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: Track 5 [01:48:00] [Session three: 21 June 2011] Talks about getting a job as a waiter Smith’s restaurant – mentions a sailing trip from Portugal to Kinsale – describes Smith’s restaurant in Covent Garden (manager was Mike Belben) [00:03:39] Graham Norton also started at the same time – dishes on the menu at the time. [00:05:42] talks about the division between front of house and the kitchen, briefly worked with Marco Pierre White and returned to Smith’s as a barman [00:8:12] Talks about how he was the only person working at Smith’s who planned it as a career: describes the skills needed as a waiter, the different customers in your section, describes the sound and performance of restaurants. [00:13:42] Reflects on why Waiting was not considered a serious job – describes working with food appealed to DE. [00:18:12] Describes himself when he was a waiter – how growing up in Mozambique was a conversation point in England – mentions the strict licensing laws and how they got round it by serving wine in teapots after hours. [00:22:53] DE going to find work in Barbados and returning to find work at Rules in London – describes Rules restaurant in London (taking off extra slices of roast beef for you). [00:27:33]Meeting a food writer from New York (briefly describes Rules uniform) and being offered an opening at Café des Artistes in New York. [00:31:24] In September 1986 he started work at Mélange as a cook – describes what he was cooking. Meeting and marrying Emma, an actress in 1989, they were soon divorced [00:36:05] but whose aunt had offered to support a business, it was she who suggested a pub rather than a restaurant, he mentioned changes to ownership /freehold of pubs - going to see The Eagle in Farringdon, London [00:40:07] describes his worries prior to going ahead to – doing the deal with Banks and Taylor – how they got the money to go ahead [00:43:41] his brother joining DE as first employee. DE describes the interior and exterior of The Eagle – DE on the music system they installed – [00:48:55] the limited kitchen in The Eagle when they opened. [00:50:49] Mentions pubs before The Eagle and why it was their only option – restaurant food and why DE wanted to do something different at the Eagle – chefs DE was inspired by (Alastair Little, Rowley Leigh, Simon Hopkinson). [00:54:10] Who they thought would come to The Eagle. DE was sleeping above the restaurant – DE writing the menu on a blackboard – buying from the butcher and delicatessen next door to The Eagle. [00:57:09] Cookbooks DE used at The Eagle – planning his menus the night before. [00:59:11] Shopping in Exmouth Market – dishes that were inspired from his childhood in Mozambique – they only built a proper kitchen after they had been opened several months (first place to serve tuna steak). Talks about The Eagle being honest in what it was cooking – describes cookery journalism in the early 1990s and why The Eagle was well received, discusses their immediate success. [01:07:07] Mentions the customers; how there were as many women as men. Reflects on how they didn’t have an idea of gastropub – many of the features came out of necessity i.e. an open kitchen and chargrill. George Allan’s were their vegetable suppliers – having fresh basil. [01:12:23] DE watching Take Five Chefs with Franco Taruschio suggesting it was a better idea to start a pub – “gastropub’ was coined by Charles Campion. [01:15:19] Serving fresh coffee – key features of The Eagle: blackboard menu, no booking, egalitarian seating. [01:16:61] Describes the crockery and cutlery (secondhand EPNS), seating were church chairs. His dislikes of fakery in pubs and restaurants – how the pub was invented. [01:20:54] Describes his handwriting, writing the menu in chalk. [01:23] He describes his dishes at The Eagle ‘buy the best ingredients and do very little to them’ – how his dishes were prompted by the choice of ingredients (police siren) talks about tomatoes. [01:26:23] DE discusses his dislike of food wastages and how he avoids it. [01:30:52] Explains how he would describe his dishes on the menu at The Eagle – his dislike for menus with spelling mistakes. [01:37:35] Feedback from customers and the importance of having contact with customers. [01:39:32] DE talks about times when it is stressful in the kitchen: customers ordering off the menu – the pleasure at the end of the service. How he achieves consistency. His attitude towards customers. [01:45:54] His contemporaries when he was at The Eagle: the profile of chefs in the early 1990s.

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