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Chef Chantelle Nicholson Wants to Give Meaning to Sustainability With New Mayfair Restaurant

Apricity is aiming to do much more than pay lip-service to the concept of sustainability, with programmes in place to support staff as well as minimise food waste

Chef Chantelle Nicholson will open a restaurant focused on sustainable cooking with a heavy emphasis on vegetables in 2022
Chef Chantelle Nicholson will open a restaurant focused on sustainable cooking with a heavy emphasis on vegetables in 2022
Lisa Tse/Apricity

Award-winning chef and sustainability champion, Chantelle Nicholson, has announced that she will open a restaurant, Apricity on Mayfair’s Duke Street, in March 2022. The former chef-owner of Tredwell’s in Covent Garden, says that her new restaurant which will focus on the sustainability and wellbeing of its employees as well a green approach to sourcing and zero-waste approach to cooking. Nicholson says Apricity “symbolises regeneration, warmth, generosity and light, which will all be reflected in the space and the menu.”

Apricity arrives off the back of the recent Hackney-based “pandemic pop-up” All’s Well, which Nicholson created to preserve jobs and boost morale within the hospitality industry during the pandemic — when many staff found themselves either out of work or in precarious and uncertain situations. Nicholson says the new restaurant will offer mental health support to its staff and encourage those who value a “sustainable lifestyle” to apply for roles in the business.

The new restaurant’s website talks about sustainability being the “beating heart of the restaurant, not only for the planet but for our team and wider community. The wellbeing of the team is our utmost priority and all of our decisions are made with them at the forefront.”

It also calls on those without prior experience to apply for roles. “We welcome individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences who can bring an alternative outlook to ours. Doers, makers, problem-solvers welcome. A genuine care for others is all we ask for as we can teach the rest,” it says.

Nicholson told Eater London that she wanted to create a socially conscious restaurant and business and that meant she was looking “beyond the bottom line” to “see how we can also contribute to society, not only by creating delicious food and drinks and joyful experiences, but to what organisations we can work with to have a wider, social impact.”

She said Apricity will partner with charities like School Food Matters and it will also look to implement “best practices for conscious hospitality.” She added, “We’d like to join the BCorp community which also has criteria in place to look beyond the balance sheet.”

During her time at Tredwell’s Nicholson earned a reputation for her vegetable-dominant menus, with the arrival of a green Michelin star (for sustainability) earlier this year testament both to those menus and the restaurant’s wider purpose. At Apricity, Nicholson’s kitchen will be run by head chef Eve Seemann whose peripatetic menu will be centred around “hyper-seasonal, sustainable produce from small-scale farmers and locally foraged ingredients.” That will translate onto the plate in dishes like Cornish mackerel and Shetland mussels with sambal butter and pickled pear; roasted Kuri squash with fermented fire flame chilies, miso aioli, squash seed crumb and Thai basil; venison with elderberry and walnut butter; and crispy brussels sprouts with spent beer vinegar and rosemary.

Elsewhere, there will be tasting menu dedicated to British vegetables, plus another menu offering “the best” meat and fish from across the British Isles. English vineyards will be among those selected for a wine list focused on low-intervention styles, while cocktails will be created with waste and off-cuts from the kitchen.

The restaurant has been designed by the studio Object Space Place who Nicholson says have been selected for the “circular economic” approach. They look to “repurpose anything that comes from the strip out (i.e. old stair treads to clad part of a wall) and working to more of a repair than replace methodology,” she said.

When asked why she chose the big-money Mayfair neighbourhood for the restaurant, Nicholson said, “There were a number of factors... It had a lot to do with the Grosvenor Estates, and their sustainability and circular commitments and secondly because I fell in love with the arched windowed frontage, and wooden floor. Also, a central London location with great transport links is really helpful for all of us that will be working there.”

Check back for a first look in the spring of 2022.

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