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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

A Lifelong Project of Chef Gabriel Waterhouse, The Water House Project in Bethnal Green, East London

INTERVIEW



Photo: Patricia Wakaimba


The Water House Project represents a lifelong passion for Chef Gabriel Waterhouse, reflecting his unwavering dedication to quality seasonal ingredients. Founded by Chef Waterhouse in Autumn 2021 in the heart of Bethnal Green, East London, this venture seamlessly merges the elegance of fine dining with a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere. It is within the cosy ambience where Chef Waterhouse and his team curate seasonally evolving 10-course tasting menus, completely refreshed every three months, showcasing the best of local, sustainable ingredients.


At its core, the restaurant and its team is committed to ethical sourcing, utilising small amounts of sustainably reared meat and fish, and collaborating with like-minded suppliers. The attention to detail also extends to its wine selection sourced from small-scale European producers employing traditional, low-intervention methods. To quote the chef, "I believed and still do believe in creating a supportive and sustainable business, both towards the people we work alongside and the ingredients that we use."


Here, Chef Waterhouse shares with us all the details of his lifelong intimate project and its becoming.





1. How would you describe your culinary philosophy?


My food is flavour led. It is based on ingredient combinations I have discovered over the years working as a chef as well as my own trial and error experimentation. I believe that being a chef is an evolving process, and my food changes and develops year on year. Despite an evolving palate my philosophy towards cooking and food remains the same. I want to use produce that has been reared, fished or grown in a way that respects the environment as well as the animals we consume. I want to use ingredients that come from the UK, where possible so that the food we cook at The Water House Project makes sense. It has traceability and can be understood to have a place. Finally I believe in treating those we work with, with respect. I believe people work better when they are valued and nurtured.



2. How would you describe your path into becoming a chef?


I started working as a chef after leaving University. I'd just completed a degree in philosophy and I was keen to use my head less and my hands more. I managed to get a job working in a local French restaurant in Northumberland before a stint in France and eventually landed on the doorstep of Herbert Berger in London. Herbert and his small team gave me strong foundations which then enabled me to go on to Galvin La Chapelle and eventually start my own restaurant. My path has been unusual, since leaving the guidance of others and cooking other people's food my food style has evolved and continues to do so. I am learning all the time, from my colleagues and peers. I also realise more than ever that I am not just a chef but a restaurant owner. Juggling the two isn’t always easy and it can stretch you.




3. What does The Water House Project mean to you?


The Water House Project was always meant as a project, something that would evolve and enable me to leave professional kitchens and open my own restaurant. I believed and still do believe in creating a supportive and sustainable business, both towards the people we work alongside and the ingredients that we use. It has been my attempt at creating a restaurant that can function outside the normal perimeters of how a usual restaurant functions, stripping back the bits I don’t like or feel are unnecessary and outdated.



Photo: Patricia Wakaimba


"I want to use produce that has been reared, fished or grown in a way that respects the environment as well as the animals we consume."

- Chef Gabriel Waterhouse, The Waterhouse Project






4. How do you incorporate local and seasonal ingredients into your menus?


We work closely with British suppliers sourcing meat from the Lake district and fish from the south coast, working with suppliers who have direct relationships with those who grow, rear or catch our ingredients. We also forage as a team in and on the outskirts of London. Currently we’re gathering wild garlic and three cornered leeks which we are fermenting, pickling and making into oils for our summer season.




5. What do you hope to achieve with The Water House Project?


My ambitions for the restaurant evolve, much like my food. I believe that what we can achieve has no limit. We have the skill, passion and creativity to make interesting and memorable dishes and a compassionate, thoughtful team who are supportive of one another. These things are not always the norm in hospitality and to have created a space like this, alongside my wife Trish, with reflection is quite special.



Photo: Patricia Wakaimba

"I believed and still do believe in creating a supportive and sustainable business, both towards the people we work alongside and the ingredients that we use."

- Chef Gabriel Waterhouse, The Waterhouse Project



6. What do you hope the guests will take away from dining at The Water House Project?


We are often blown away by the feedback we get from our guests. We are lucky to attract some wonderful people to the restaurant who understand and ‘get’ what we do. I believe our food and service speak for themselves and those who do know about us regularly affirm we are doing both right. We are an insular business in many ways, we try not to look at what others do but do things our way, in a way that feels authentic to us and feels right. I believe our guests see this and it is that which makes us special.


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All imagery is provided by Goya Communications.



Address: 1 Corbridge Crescent, Bethnal Green, East London, E2 9DT | Website: thewaterhouseproject.com | Phone: +44 7841 804119 | Email: enquiries@thewaterhouseproject.com | Instagram: @thewaterhouseproject | Facebook: @thewaterhouseproject

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