Feature – The Set
Ahead of their pop up at Curry Leaf Cafe on Tuesday 26th August, we caught up with Semone Bonner, one third of The Set – a new pop up collaboration between Semone, Danny Kenny of the Gingerman Group and Ali Bell from Cocktail Shack.
Tell us about how the idea for The Set came about?
We were looking to expand our creative capabilities and deliver food without boundaries. Cooking in restaurants means we create food and experiences that already have expectations affiliated with the venue.
A customer has come to experience the restaurants food and a high percentage are returning guests already excited about eating “Modern British” or “Classic French” cuisine and that’s where we got thinking: why not create an experience that surprises our guests? They don’t know what to expect and, in some cases, wont even receive plates for certain courses. Let’s tear up those boundaries of eating out and really make something to be remembered.
How do you both know each other and what are your backgrounds?
Danny and I met working together at The Gingerman restaurant in Brighton and got on so well instantly, we started pushing each other on creativity and professionally, whilst maintaining a level of playful jibes and banter.
We knew we were going to work well together for a long time and we still text each other daily (both working in different restaurants now) about ideas and general childish abuse! Both our backgrounds have been spent in fine dining restaurants and experiencing world cuisine. [Semone in Europe cooking in France and Greece and Danny having lived in Vietnam and eating his way through Asia.]
What sets The Set apart from other pop up’s across the city?
We are not doing this to get rich and buy fancy watches, we really want to excite people and leave people asking “How do they do that?”
Our events are not just a dinner out, but an exciting and different experience every time. Whether it be plating directly on the table or inside a sealed chocolate “ball”, our food is interactive and we are very much a presence in the dining space.
What sets us apart is we want the guests to have fun, smile and laugh and really understand what we are about; its not just about the head scratching food or interactive drinks involving toffee hammers and smoke; it’s the entire night that will be remembered.
Do you feel working as a trio ensures a higher quality of food?
Yes, very much so. Our creative meetings are bizarre and exciting. With Ali creating the drinks components to our events with me and Dan working on the food. But its all very much tied together by the theme of the event and the venue specifics. We push each other to create wonderful and innovative ideas and already have ideas pencilled in for future events because its hard to not get carried away when you don’t have boundaries.
Why are pop up’s important to you?
We have plans for the future with The Set, its not just a fun hobby.We are here to stay and the pop ups give us an opportunity to be creative with the company and with the most genuine critics: our guests.
We want to turn this into an exciting brand that people look out for and “popping-up” across the city gives us the creative outlet to deliver a different experience from venue to venue.
If you had to sum up The Set in three words, what would they be?
Fun, memorable and interactive.
The Set will be hosting their second pop up at Curry Leaf Cafe on Tuesday 26th of August. For more information and tickets, please click here.
Words by Claire Beveridge
Originally printed in the Brighton & Hove Independent 22nd August 2014