Sustainability in the industry

With James Fowler

I have been in the industry for 18 years – taking it most seriously since leaving University. Saying that, I spent most my time & money behind my flat bar or in the student union building a cocktail bar out of an old hot food hatch.

I left Uni & opened a fresh fruit smoothie bar from a converted VW campervan on Bournemouth beach. It was my mission to offer a healthy & more suited food offering rather than the typical sugar & grease laden kiosk food. The winter came & I sold up and moved into a bar manager position & a new Boutique Hotel & also took a part time Commi Chef at my favourite restaurant. The Chef role made a massive change to my career as I leant more & more about flavour integration & cooking techniques. I then left the kitchen as I was offered the General manager role at the Hotel & applied my food & drink knowledge to creating & busy local cocktail bar.

After 5 years I decided it was time to commit further & focus my passion into my own venture. In 2011 opened The Larder House restaurant with a colleague & great friend Jon Lister. Our focus was to create a bar & restaurant with a nod to the past, highlighting & reviving products that lost their way.

In 2013 after building a strong bar team I added “The Library” classic cocktail bar – Bournemouth’s first speak easy style cocktail lounge. At that time I also formed a local bartender training & cocktail competition league. Along with others our aim was to infuse & offer direction to younger bartenders, helping them to progress within the industry & competition scene.

In 2014, I was awarded the UK Diageo World Class Bartender of the year title. A ticking the box moment that showed my peers, friends & family that my drive for the industry had paid off. After World Class I spent a lot of time traveling to cities & villages home to food & drink festivals & traditions. Each time bringing fresh ideas to my food & drink menus. My time shifted towards spending more time training my team, local bartenders & educational evenings for my customers.

I recently became the local ambassador for Action Against Hunger after a couple of years of strong fundraising for the charity at the restaurant. With my love for the local area & my strong clientele base I decided to open my third venue – “Terroir Tapas”. Working closely with my restaurant team, “Terroir Tapas” has a strong focus on the environment & sustainability. We are almost zero waste – our only waste is high-end glass bottles that need recycling. Our key feature is the Aquaponic grow wall providing garnishes & plants for our tapas & drink menu.

With my fiancé, two kids & giant Dog behind me, I’m looking forward to continuing my mark on the industry & adding more great food & drink experiences to life.