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Friday Feature: Henry Hampshire, OW 2017

2nd February 2024

Vegan Chef of the Year Nominee and OW, Henry Hampshire (OW 2017), tells us about life after King Edwards and how hes managed to become one of the most famous vegan chefs in the City. 

When did you leave King Edward’s Witley and did you go straight into a career in cooking?

I left KESW after GCSEs to study at Godalming College. Originally, I was going to go on to study architecture, (having already chosen design technology over food technology at school) but I found that the A Level was really not for me. I started working in a bakery to support myself during my A Levels, and it was this that ignited my passion in food. 

How did you pursue this career after A Levels? 

I trained at the Vegan Chef School of Excellence and then became a chef in Londons first vegan pasta restaurant. Within three months as a commis chef, I managed to work my way up the ranks to sous chef, before being promoted to Head Chef, when I was 18 years old. With lots of extra training, I became Restaurant Manager of Raveoli, Londons first Vegan Pasta Restaurant.  

I was then approached to work for a Michelin star vegan restaurant in Soho but, sadly, Covid struck so this didnt materialise. It did, however, lead me to create my first business, becoming a private vegan caterer for vegan weddings and events. This became very successful, as did the launch of my own products during the pandemic: a DIY Vegan Cheese Kit and a trio of Italian pasta sauces.  

Alongside private catering, what other companies have you founded?

I started my own vegan street food company in June 2021 selling gourmet vegan pasta boxes in markets across Surrey, London and surrounding areas. This has grown into the Garden Restaurants, a collation of my Street Food Brands which I created whilst having my own pop-up restaurant and ‘Dark Kitchen’ in Shoreditch, London. Having 5 separate street food brands – The Pasta Garden was my original brand selling pasta bowls and pizzas, The Bao Garden sold bao buns and rice bowls, The Salad Garden sold healthy vegan salads, and The Spud Garden, irresistible loaded fries! After my 6-month pop-up through the winter, I took my best-selling items and created a new fusion style festival menu to take back ‘on the road’ with The Garden Wagon food truck trailer, where we travel the country to multiple of the biggest music festivals, like Reading Festival. It really has been a journey of constant growth and expansion in my career and also of myself, and I owe much to the great development I received along the way through my school life. 

To read more about Henry’s food and journey click here. 

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