Why pop-up restaurants could be the future according to Michelin-starred chef

Chef Chris Bower
Chef Chris Bower

Christopher Bower was just 19 when he moved to London to find fame and fortune as a chef.

He’d started out doing cookery at school in Bradford before attending Halifax College.

“At that time, there really wasn’t that much happening in the food world up north, and so we were always told that we needed to head down south to get the experience we needed.”

So Chris and a friend decided to move to London for a year to try their chances. He has been there ever since.

“We didn’t have jobs to go to, but within two weeks we’d found work.”

A young Christopher never looked back, and for 20 years he cooked in some of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants, including the Ivy and the acclaimed Snows On The Green with chef Sebastian Snow.

As head chef, then executive chef for Thackeray’s restaurant Royal Tunbridge Wells, Christopher and his team were awarded a Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes. Prior to this, while at Mello Restaurant in Kent, Christopher also picked up a Michelin Bib Gourmand and 2 AA Rosettes.

In 2014 he took on a role at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge Fifth Floor, serving the rich and famous.

“At that time they wanted to provide Michelin star fine dining,” says Chris. “But then they got a new CEO who had different ideas and so I decided to leave.”

He took a bit of time out to decide on his next move. His wife had just had their first child and he wanted to spend some time with his family.

His next move was to indulge his love of Moroccan cusine at a new restaurant that was opening in Portobello Road.

After that, Chirstopher decided to launch his own high-end events and catering business Olive & Thyme Events,

“It is very different from working in a big brigade, a lot of the time you are on your own, but it also means that you can do pretty much what you want, in collaboration with your client.”

Chris’s menu design is informed by his passion for field-to-plate cooking and, as a keen forager and game shooter, using local produce is intrinsic to his approach. The seasons determine each and every dish.

Last week he brought his innovative cooking back to Yorkshire in a pop-up event at House of Koko in Leeds which was preceded by a similar event in York.

“I really like doing the pop-up events as it takes my cooking to a wider audience

Although Chris has spent a large chunk of his life in the south he will always be a proud Yorkshireman.

“My mum and dad now live in Skipton and I always loved coming back to Yorkshire.

“I have lived longer in the south than the north but I love coming back and I would love to open a restaurant here one day – who knows?”