Entrepreneurial duo Aaron Webster and Remi Williams are the chefs behind the popular Brixton based restaurant, Smoke & Salt.
Focusing on traditional cooking and ancient preservation techniques, the restaurant has a spot at the trendy Pop Brixton in a shipping container. The tiny eatery packs a lot into such a small space with colourful and flavourful dishes that have gained reviews from the likes of the Evening Standard and The Telegraph.
How it all began
Before they discovered their shared love for cooking on coals, the two chefs both studied at university. Aaron grew up in the UK and had gone to Bournemouth University to study business. It was here that he initially discovered he had an interested in food preparation. He claims that cooking for himself while he was a student encouraged him to eventually join a culinary arts course.
Meanwhile, Remi spent his childhood in Nigeria before his family moved to the UK. After finishing a Chemistry degree, Remi crossed the Atlantic to study at a culinary school in Boston. Finally moving back to the UK to marry, Remi took on a job at The Shed in Notting Hill and is here that the two brains behind Smoke & Salt first met.
Getting set up
In 2014, after both deciding to leave The Shed, the two set off on their joint venture.
Aaron originally had the concept for Smoke & Salt with the name referring to the styles of cooking that would be used.
Techniques such as brining, curing, salting and fermenting are all done from their tiny shipping container kitchen. In a recent interview with leather jacket brand, Belstaff, Remi commented, “We’re dealing with coal, we’re dealing with fire and we’re dealing with smoke. We need [clothing] that’s going to live up to the day-to-day rigours.”
The hands-on approach gives the restaurant its authenticity and intimacy that can’t be found in larger chains.
The two wanted to focus on using British ingredients in their dishes. To accommodate this, they change their menu near-monthly to use only food that is in season at the time. This is just one of the unique selling points to the brand as the menu is kept fresh, exciting and, most importantly, seasonally appropriate.
What’s in store for Smoke & Salt?
Now comfortably set up in their Brixton location, the two are focusing on how to grow the brand even further.
After winning the Cateys Newcomer Award in 2018, the two have also received nominations from the Love London Award’s and were also shortlisted for Best Breakthrough at GQ’s Food and Drinks Awards.
Their continued popularity has led both Aaron and Remi to look at developing Smoke & Salt further with hopes to potentially open a second location in the future.