After the initial spamming of our Instagram with pictures from our kitchen residency at BDQ in the South of France – you may have noticed that things have gone a bit quiet...
Unfortunately, the reason for our radio silence is because we made the decision to cut short our kitchen residency. A key aspect of Sprawl is that we work in collaboration with breweries – but collaborations require compromise. Sometimes, that compromise is just a little too large.
When we met with the owners of BDQ out here in February we knew that they wanted to utilise their outdoor wood-fired oven and include pizzas on the menu. Whilst we love pizza, we are no pizza chefs. However, we listened and compromised, creating a menu that included both Sprawl favourites and pizzas. We didn’t mind having one or two pizza nights a week on the calendar as long as the food we love to cook (and the whole reason we relocated!) took centre stage for the rest of the week. However, when it became apparent that they instead wanted pizzas to be served Thursday-Sunday it became clear that Sprawl wasn’t the concept they were after. This is not to discredit pizza. I love it – it contributes greatly to my waistline. But pizza is not something that I want to produce under the banner of Sprawl Kitchen. It just doesn’t fit with the vision of my brand.
The reason that I started Sprawl Kitchen was because I wanted to create a business that reflected my love of food and beer. Having worked and managed a number of bars and restaurants in the UK, all with different approaches, it became clear just how much ideology and philosophy mattered to me. When I am not fully invested in an ideology I cannot pretend to be proud of its results. We do not always get it right with Sprawl Kitchen but I get a huge amount of gratification knowing that I did it my own way; whether we failed or succeeded.
We don’t begrudge this decision. Our creative differences and individual visions for the menu offering were just too vast and neither party was truly getting what they wanted. It ultimately came down to having to decide what the best individual outcomes for Sprawl and BDQ were going to be. The best outcome was for us part ways and allow someone else to deliver the menu that best serves BDQ.
It is worth noting that we leave on good terms with the folks at Brasserie Du Quercorb and we really hope that their pizzas fly out all summer; we will probably be up at the bar eating plenty of them! Because, yes, we are staying out here for the summer! Abi and I spent a lot of our own money to be here for 6 months. With the beautiful house we are renting and our hire car paid off it means we might as well make the most of it and enjoy a summer in beautiful, rural surroundings. It also gives me some time to relax, have fun, figure out what the next move for Sprawl is and keep practicing my pies whilst Ab gets her PhD written up in the sun.
On top of this, we got engaged last week(!), so spending the summer in France with lots of lovely visits from our friends and family sounds idyllic. This trip to France definitely didn’t turn out how we expected it to – but we are going to make the absolute best of it.
We will see you back in Liverpool around October(ish) to feed you with our beery concoctions!