23 Apr 2018 Interview with Les Nénettes in Clapton, Hackney
We interview The Nenettes’ general manager and owner, Eve Ricard, and Head Chef Emilie Fuller.
“This project was my dream, it has been in my mind for over 6 years, and The Nenettes finally opened its doors in March 2017. It took us a while to find the perfect site for us, we wanted a restaurant located in a corner and with big windows and lots of lights.” (Eve Ricard)
“Les Nenettes (the girls). It is hard to succeed in hospitality being a woman and that is why I wanted to empower women here. I wanted the restaurant to have a strong female lead and I am very happy that Emilie joined us as Head Chef.”(Eve Ricard)
The Nenettes is a Bistro that serves French comfort food in a nice an cosy environment.
Eve comes from a big family of 5 kids and her mum is a great cook who inspired the actual menu.
Eve Ricard is also the General Manager, she is French and has been working in hospitality for 18 years with experience in Club Gascon, Oxo Tower, The Forge and Market Café. She felt that is was time to open her restaurant and give it her touch.
Emilie Fuller has worked as a chef for 10 years. She started her career in Brighton, at Terre à Terre. After a year she moved to London. She has worked with Mark Hix for 3 years and also at Bistro Tech and Market Café where she met Eve.
Menu is created in collaboration between Eve and Emile with sporadic calls to Eve’s mum.
They research in France where they travel often together to keep up to date with new trends and source best quality ingredients.
Les Nenettes offers seasonal traditional dishes with a little modern twist. There is always a “Plat de jour” depending on what is freshest. Ingredients are sourced from France and also from local produce in the UK. They try to support the community in the area: a good example of this is their salmon which is bought from Secret Smoke House at London Fields.
“I have lived in Hackney for 18 years so I couldn’t think of a better place to open the restaurant. We have all sorts of customers, different age range and profiles. This is a local restaurant where all sorts of people from the neighbourhood get together to enjoy good food.” (Eve Ricard)
The key to success
The challenge as an independent
“If you want good food you need to offer a good salary and also be careful with your margins. It is also hard to get the site. Rent has increased in the area in the last few years so it is harder to recruit people who live in the area.” (Eve Ricard)
“You need to make sure that people really enjoy their food. Because we are a neighbourhood restaurant and we devote ourselves to our regular customers, we need them to come back. Food needs to be good and consistent.”
“We need to find chefs and staff that are passionate about what we do and fit well in the team. We are only 8 people in the restaurant and we all get on very well.” (Emilie Fuller)
Their goal is to keep growing and maintaining the quality and authenticity of their dishes.