Emily Roux: before you open your own restaurant, secure a team you can trust

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd September 2019

If Emily Roux and Diego Ferrari's Chelsea flagship, Caractère, was years in the making, it is because the couple were sure of what they wanted - they took the time to find the perfect location, the perfect team and made it look exactly as they wanted it.

Both chefs were already highly experienced, but even for them, the process was a learning curve. Here's Emily's advice to anyone who'd like to follow in their footsteps: 

This feature appeared as part of a series about how to open your own restaurant.

Other chefs include

Pip Lacey , Hicce

Scott Smith, Fhior

Tommy Banks, Roots

Tommy Heaney, Heaney's

Richard Johns, The Hovingham Inn 

Michel Roux Jr, Le Gavroche

Simon Bonwick, The Crown

Sat Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains 

 Prepare to wear lots of different hats 

Whereas as an employee, you have "a set role and not that much more is asked of you," said chef Emily Roux, when you're in your own business, many things become your responsibility.

"From plumbing to electricity,  cooking,  waiting,  answering the phone and doing various jobs," you have to do it all.  

Be patient - and use your time to think through the finer details 

For Emily and her husband Diego Ferrari, it took almost two years from concept to actually opening the restaurant as it involved visiting different sites, dealing with solicitors, architects, building and design contractors. 

However, the chefs saw this as a blessing in disguise and instead of losing patience they decided to spend the time fine tuning things: "not only the menu and the wine list but also the cutlery, the crockery and all the little details."

Get your core elements in place


To make sure they had the best team when they opened, the couple made sure to give key positions to people they knew they could trust. 

"Be it in the kitchen or in the room that we knew beforehand and worked with beforehand - we had a solid team opening up which really helped," she said.  

Make sure someone's got your back 

Going it alone might seem tempting, but having someone to bounce off can make all the difference.

"Being with my husband was just an immense help. Having somebody to question all the time - and somebody who's always got your back as well to say: 'are we doing this correctly, is this the right move, should we have done this,'" she said.

"To have somebody by your side to cheer you up and to help you is amazing."

Crack on 

What  final piece of advice would she give to anyone wishing to open their own restaurant?

"I would say go for it."

"Lots of preparation is needed, lots of thinking and sitting down and getting your ducks in a row before going full-steam ahead, but definitely do it." 

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd September 2019

Emily Roux: before you open your own restaurant, secure a team you can trust