NEW VIDEO: ‘ultimately leaning on your team is the only way you can help bring together a kitchen’

The Staff Canteen

Kyren Thompson is the head chef at Michelin-starred chef, Paul Foster’s latest venture, Grassfed.

Based in Camden in London, the restaurant has been open for five months and Kyren was part of the original opening team. Located near Hawley Wharf, which is the other side of the Camden Market everybody knows, Kyren says ‘it’s a lot more peaceful’.

“It was always the side of Camden you didn’t really go to when I was growing up,” he said. “Over the years it has been developed and all of the arches have been turned into either shops or restaurants.”


The concept behind the restaurant is sourcing ‘the best beef’ and Kyren explained: “We look for suppliers who we want to work with, who respect traditional but also very responsible, animal husbandry, to create the best beef they possibly can.

“We believe the best way to respect that is to cook it over an open fire and cook it pink. People can have it well done if they want but we recommend pink. We accompany it with the best of seasonal ingredients we can source.”

The opening came with its challenges, the arches had all been retrofitted as they are over one hundred years old, with the trains going overhead, and as with most hospitality businesses staffing was also difficult.

Kyren said: “We combat that with not only creating a progressive working environment, in the sense of the hours and approach to staff care. We also try and let the quality of our ingredients and the strength of our menu, allow for our staff to express themselves.

“Paul is very much in favour of us having a creative stamp on the menu. That is not something a lot of places, especially new places, often do.

Open six days a week, the small covers allow them to run with low levels of staff, which Kyren says, ‘keeps the team tight’.

“The development of a menu is quite hard to get right, especially with a new opening. Paul is very much a guiding hand and is the father of the concept itself, but he wants us to have our own steak and input in the menu.

“Myself and the team discuss things we want to do and goals we want to set for ourselves in terms of challenges on the menu. We present several dishes to Paul to taste; he’ll offer notes based on the wealth of his experience and we then come together with what goes on the menu.

“There is a specials menu we sometimes run, which is a chance for ideas to be troubleshot and people’s creativity can come off the chains and have no limits.”

Kyren’s hospitality journey started in hotel kitchens, after college he worked in Claridge’s for a number of years and says it was really beneficial.

“It was very busy so I could learn about everything which was going on around me. Restaurants I think lend themselves to more of a focus and to be able to specifically do the food which you want to do, so after Claridge’s I went to a number of different restaurants, mostly ones which cook over fire, so Smokestack and Temper - very much meat-based and coal fire-based.

“I met Paul through online recruitment – it just so happened that I was looking for a place which really suited me, and he was looking for a head chef who suited the concept. After a very long conversation in the construction shell, which was this place, we understood very early on the concept and where we could go with it.”


The most popular dish on the menu currently, Kyren says is the Irish beef rib. “We recommend it for sharing but there have been a number of people who have just attacked it on their own.

“It’s 600g of meat on the bone, a Boston chop and it’s cooked over open coals.”

Grassfed is Kyran’s first head chef role, and he says that often chefs are promoted because they are good at cooking rather than because of the important things such as costing and GP.

“You can’t run a business unless you look after the pennies. Also, people management is something no one really teaches you and in hospitality, historically it hasn’t been the most important thing focused on.

GrassFed Paul Foster London


“As a head chef you have to look at development of your team and having people underneath you who can help take the load. When you are head chef for the first time you try to do everything on your own because you perceive that’s how it should be done. But I think ultimately leaning on your team is the only way you can help bring together a kitchen.”

Kyren says success for the team is a combination of a full restaurant everybody pushing. He said: “That is something as a chef you thrive on. I think individually the thing which really matters to us is the satisfaction of the people coming in. Accolades can come and go, the thing you can hang your hat on and what I measure success on is the satisfaction of people tasting our food. And knowing we’ve given them the best we could’ve done.”

Grassfed by Paul Foster

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th December 2023

NEW VIDEO: ‘ultimately leaning on your team is the only way you can help bring together a kitchen’