THE ROTA ARCHIVE

HONEY SPENCER - THE WINE GURU

"I EAT EVERYTHING. ALTHOUGH I DREW THE LINE AT PIGS VAGINA IN TOKYO. I THINK THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE"

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @honeyandvine

Honey Sims.jpg

1.     What was your first job in hospitality

A waitress in a conference centre. Not exactly glam but it was a laugh-a-minute place, absolutely heaving with oddballs.

2.     What is your favourite type of cuisine to eat – preferably not the one you work in?

I love Turkish food. Turkish food is so full of integrity, I mean it’s quite carb heavy but the flavours! Oh and it’s cheap! And Turkish people are all hot. All of them. Sort of.

3.     Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Definitely macaroni and cheese, it’s my ultimate comfort food. 

4.     What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

You and Me – The Wannadies

5.     What do you crave after a long shift?

A kebab from the Lebanese place on Hackney Rd.  The kebab is so massive and you’re like ‘how the hell am I ever going to eat this?’ and then it’s gone!

6.    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

Chocolate cereal is my weakness; I was never allowed it as a kid so tend to go a bit crazy for it on days off.  Working days usually just involve a strong coffee. 

7.     What is your favourite word?

Coquettish.  

8.     If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – in which city would you choose to do so?  

I’ve just come back from nearly a month in Japan which was just insane, the food is next level out there. I travelled Italy for a month too, which I’d do again tomorrow given the chance. I think Scandinavia next.

9.     All at the same time or coursed out?

Coursed out would be fine. We’re moving to Copenhagen in a few weeks so will hopefully get the chance to go roaming a bit.

10.  What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

Dealing with weirdos. One day we had a guy come in and he was like ‘I’ve got a dead dog in my bag’ and I said ‘well we don’t allow dead dogs in here’ and then he said ‘do you want to see it?’ and I was like ‘well, go on then’ and it was a crate of beer!  Bearing in mind someone had literally just fallen on my head down the hatch and then I had to come up and deal with this guy, this drunk Polish guy who looked a lot like the drunk Swedish guy we had arrested another week. 

11.  What is the best cure for a hangover?

Ice cold full fat milk, coco pops and a cold beer in the late afternoon.

12.  You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Sherry and tonic- THE best.

13.  What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Nothing drives me mad as such, but I am eternally bemused as to why all guests feel completely compelled to sit on the one dirty table. I’ve got many theories but I’m not sure I’ll never truly know the answer. 

14.  Do you have any rituals during a shift?

Attempting to tame my outrageous mane of hair and standing in the cellar to take stock of the wines helps centre me before a busy night.  

15.  What’s the last film you saw?

CHEF- more films like this please.

16.  Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant?

A winemaker friend of mine really rates this pub in North London, and we paid for a taxi to go there for this pub dinner.  The guy who owned the pub came over to us and was chatting with us and we were talking about hospitality, and I kind of mentioned where I worked and Charlie mentioned where he worked.  You know, we’re not big fish, but anyway, at the end of the meal the waitress came over and just said ‘the owner wanted to pay for this for you, the whole thing’. We had ordered a really nice bottle of wine and like two roast dinners and the bill was £150.  I think we just struck a chord with him when he sat down with us, and how much we love hospitality, and yeah, it was really nice.  I kind of feel like we didn’t deserve it, I would have thought kind if he had just taken off the dessert. We were like ‘this is crazy!’

17.  What’s your tagline/motto?

When I worked at Sager + Wilde, the girls would call me 'Badass Middle Class' (laughing). No, I know this sounds super boring and cheesy but honesty and integrity.  That you are good to people and you don’t fuck them over. 

18.  Photography while eating – yay or nay?

We give ourselves a 10 second window when food arrives. Charlie and I spent five years working for the man that invented food instagramming so I think it’s fair game.

19.  Rank the following in order of priority; wine, food, sex

Sex, wine, food. Wow, that is SO hard.

20.  What would be your last meal – drinks included?

I used to always cook blue cheese pasta with my best girlfriends and I think that is it. Blue cheese with macaroni, shitloads of it with pancetta and Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Blancs de Blancs. Heaven.

21.  What makes you happy?

A good bottle of wine and a good conversation. Oh, and cheese obviously. 

22.  How do you relax?

Yoga, the pub, cooking for/trying not to poison my friends.

23.  What is the background on your phone?

Ah, it’s naff but a picture of Charlie when he was 21.  It was years before we met but it’s so him, and he looks like he knew me even then, and I like that.

24.  Favourite Instagram accounts to follow

@chefjacqueslamerde - hilarious

25.  What is the best thing about working in hospitality?

It’s the people isn’t it? You can meet some of the best people in the world, and some of the biggest dicks in the world and I find it all completely intoxicating. Oh, and you get to drink great booze.

26.  Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

The Ledbury

27.  Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

Danny Meyer- living proof that nice guys win too.

28.  What is your go to party trick?

I can quack.  I am also the world’s worst/best dancer on the planet, depending who you ask.  Failing that, definitely the quack.  But that’s a last resort.  

29.    Finish this sentence;  I eat everything except…

I eat everything. Although I drew the line at pigs’s vagina in Tokyo. I think that’s understandable.