I first met Charlotte around 2010, when she made a temporary move from London to NYC to explore the city and the industries of fashion, media and business. From the moment we met, I felt like she was the instant best-friend type - her open, light and fun personality makes it easy. She is a genuine good time, whip-smart, a social butterfly and extends a warm feeling of family to everyone she meets. Not to mention the girl has impeccable style.
Flash forward to 2014: Charlotte is back in London with a husband, a beautiful newborn daughter and is busy running three outposts of her budding restaurant empire Muriel’s Kitchen, all of which came together over the past couple of years. It’s about time we have a chat with this superwoman and honorary SERENE London member to see how she makes all her life’s magic happen…
Can you tell us the story of how Muriel’s Kitchen came to be?
Muriel’s is named after my Grandmother Muriel who died in 2011. When she passed away I was completely heartbroken, I missed her dreadfully. She was not only a brave and wonderful woman but an absolutely fantastic cook. Her cooking brought us all together as a family, she taught my Mother so many of her cooking tips as well as how adventurous you can be in the Kitchen.
Without her ever knowing she had planted a seed in my mind. London has an abundance of fast food and sandwich shops that Londoners were getting used to visiting on a daily basis to pick up their morning coffee and a pre packed sandwich for their Lunch. I felt we needed a place that felt like home; open from Breakfast to Bed time serving superb home-cooked style dishes with the finest British ingredients and of course at a reasonable price point.
So one morning over breakfast the idea began, and a year’s worth of planning, building, researching, training and cooking later, we were open!
Sam (my husband) and I run every aspect of Muriel’s together, we live and breath it everyday, even Chistmas day! But we also have the greatest team to support us: my best friend Lucy and my Godmother’s grandson William, who are our Operations team. Together we are the ‘Muriel’s family’.
You are a health-conscious restaurant focused on quality ingredients, which I heard is few and far between in London. Is the food scene evolving in the UK?
The scene is absolutely changing over here and restaurants/cafes in London flaunt that. We have a new lease of cold press juice bars and fresh salad bars popping up all around London. But Muriel’s sets itself apart as we fly the flag for traditional family recipes made with the finest British ingredients. We understand the importance of a hot healthy meal as well as a light and tasty snack so on a visit to any of our Kitchens customers might choose a salad plate of our seasonal salads or a hearty serving of our Famous Lasagne (Nana Muriel’s original recipe!).
Unlike most casual dining restaurants in London we change our menu every month and this is so our customers can savour the best of the ‘in season flavours’ from our predominently British ingredients. All our meat is Red Tractor assured which allows us to track any of our meat back to it’s certified British Farm. In short, we know exactly which farm our produce is from and the Farmers who have reared it.
Our menu is short and sweet comprising of six salads and six mains, enough for a different meal each day of the week but not so much that you can’t make a choice!
Before opening your restaurants you spent time in New York City, our home base. Do you hold any fond memories of the city, any inspirations or favorite shops/restaurants/cafes that you want to share?
New York is my favorite city! I lived in Soho and I miss the vibe and fast pace of the city everyday. My favorites were:
La Esquina- Has got to the be coolest Mexican restaurant ever!
Pure Food and Wine - Great terrace and fresh vegetarian meals.
Delicatessen - Wow … truffle cheesy chips….
The Butchers Daughter is an awesome concept
Dean and Deluca- Great food and gifts
And I love Intermix clothes store - please come to London!!
As a young first-time mom with a newborn, how do you balance that with being a entrepreneur, wife, sister, friend, etc?
On the 11th of January, I was changed forever. I became a mum, and that’s what I am now before anything else. I organize my whole life around my daughter and then everything follows. I see my family most days especially my mother and twin sister, who are my rocks. With Sam and I being quite young parents and following catering work hours we make sure to have fun with our friends regularly and do a lot more gatherings in our home with the baby monitor on the dining room table as we dance around it!
What do you do for yourself? How do you take care of yourself?
Taking care of myself is top of my list - me being unwell or unfit has a domino affect for my family as well as work. I am a huge believer in bathing with Epsom salts 4-5 times a week, I practically pickle myself! We even have a bucket next to the bath for my obsession…
I am a keen runner and have recently got back to this since giving birth. It is a de-stresser for me and I run to let my mind wander and keep my bum pert! I do yoga at Triyoga in Chelsea - their teachers are wonderful and I have made many like minded friends there, especially doing the pregnancy yoga. Whenever I am stiff or have a niggle in my neck I visit a cranio osteopath called Mika Simmons (Triyoga). She is fantastic and helped me all through my pregnancy, I even had Isobel treated 5 days after she was born.
Any good take-away lessons to share from all your life adventures, over the last couple of years especially?
For myself - I learned how to breath. This is so important and I didn’t realize this until I got a very bad shoulder/neck. I went to the doctor and he hooked me up to a breathing machine. He told me I was the most stressed 25 year old he had ever met. This put everything into perspective and so I started yoga and really learned how to breath properly. This has changed my life.
For work - I make a business decision in the cold light of the morning and then put the emotion in after.
For family- I would say make sure you have a family meal around the dinner table (with no phones!) at least once a week.
SERENE London is proudly partnered with Muriel’s Kitchen!
Attendees of our May 17th London Heal Yourself workshop will enjoy treats from Muriel’s.
Visit MurielsKitchen.co.uk for more info and locations.