2015 - 2018
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” HE Luccock
Just as I signed all the papers for our new kitchen the Head Chef told me she was leaving. I decided to take Denisa, the only other employee at the time, to our new 3,500 sq ft site and explain to her that she would be Head Chef. I was really nervous about how she would react but when we arrived the first thing she said was that she'd have been 'disappointed if it was any smaller'.
Invitation to our 3rd birthday | Our Founder Georgia testing a bolognese with Head Chef Denisa in the new kitchen
We had a small party to celebrate three years of business but it was the start of a very hard year during which I learnt a huge amount very quickly. One of the lowest points was when I lost a six month rental deposit in a case of email diversion fraud. I'll never forget the feeling as I walked out the office with no idea how I was going to recover. I was in total shock. I spent two weeks on the phone with the banks involved, hassling them to find out what was happening and whether they could recover any of the money. No one could help. My brother sat with me to go through all our numbers and afterwards asked if it might be time to quit?
Our Founder Georgia & Laura at our 3rd birthday party
The next day I had to let two thirds of our team go, I knew there was no other way we could survive so we were down to a Head Chef (Denisa), operations assistant (Sophie) and kitchen assistant. I had no idea what was going to happen but tried to convince the people that stayed we'd be ok. People often say it's the people that make a company successful, and that's certainly been my experience. There is no way I would have survived that year without Denisa and Sophie who stayed loyal, positive and focused throughout.
Georgia Doherty, recipe developer and Founder of Hill Food Co | Denisa and Sophie
About a month later without any word from the bank I noticed two thirds of the money I'd lost in the fraud had been credited. When I called to enquire, they explained that because I had managed to call the bank within minutes of the fraud happening, they'd managed to freeze our account and the money returned was what was left.
As a small team we went into the autumn of 2016 with a new sense of focus and determination and sales doubled over the next few weeks making 2017 a record year for sales. I also met Georgia Doherty, one of the most naturally talented cooks I've ever met and founder of bespoke catering company Hill Food Co. We were starting to make much bigger quantities and Georgia came in to help us develop our recipes and processes.
Fergus at the market drawing our logo
We also redesigned our logo. After arriving at a huge fair with hundreds of stalls, we had 60 minutes to set up and decorate our stand. We had a couple of framed illustrations and some double sided sticky tape but quickly realised the frames only stuck for five seconds before they fell crashing down. Fergus, suggested hand-drawing the logo with a marker pen onto the wall and stuck for alternatives, we all agreed. We took a bunch of photos of the stall and once back in the office decided to start using the handwritten letters as our logo. I loved that it was handmade and a team effort, just like every single meal we send out. Today, every piece of packaging you see with potage written on it, uses the letters Fergus hand drew above our stall that day.
Denisa, Georgia & Sophie at the 2017 Christmas Party | Sophie with our new branded bags
Today we deliver to hundreds of offices and homes across central London every day with the same goal as when we started; to bring people together by delivering delicious meals in a sustainable way. We also recently launched an exclusive range at Pear Tree Cafe in Battersea Park and a series of seasonal menu collaborations with Nadine Levy Redzepi.
If you are reading this, then we owe you a massive thank you for supporting us along the way. Whether you're a customer or friend following our journey, there is no way we'd be where we are without your help over the last six years. We've got some big plans for the year ahead and hope you'll stay with us.
Product labels to celebrate 5 years of business | Our Founder Georgia