05 Jul Interview with Marc-Andrea Levy⎪Percy & Founders, London
Summer and cocktails go hand in hand right? This is not a trick question, the answer is yes obviously. In the U.K., where summer feels fleeting as it is, we like to make the most of it. That’s just one of the reasons we are such a fan of Percy and Founders – they know how to embrace summer in the best ways. This year they are running their first ever summer event, Greener On The Inside. Yes, Greener On the Inside is an Instagram dream (think a bar fully decked out with seasonal plants, luscious green foliage, and a wild and colorful display of English plants and flowers. Yeah, IG dream, we told you), but Percy and Founders is also a sustainable dream. We love both of those things separately and even more so together, so of course we had to chat to their Food and Beverage Director, Marc-Andrea Levy about sustainability, his own journey, and what you can expect at Percy and Founders and their summer pop up, Greener on the Inside.
FAIR: OK maybe we’ll start with the basics, do you want to tell us a bit about Percy and Founders?
Marc-Andrea Levy: Sure! Great place to start. Percy and Founders was the first opening from Open House London – we opened in 2015. We’re a bar and restaurant in the heart of Fitzrovia, serving modern British and European dishes every day of the week. You can get everything from a quick morning coffee, business lunches, and evening cocktails to boozy weekend brunches and a classic Sunday roast. We change up our menu seasonally to keep it fresh and to minimize out of season sourcing where we can. The name is actually inspired by our location: we’re part of the Fitzroy Place development which is the former site of the Middlesex Hospital. So we’re named after the Duke of Northumberland, Hugh Percy, and the group of philanthropists who founded the Middlesex Hospital in 1755.
F: That’s a really amazing nod to the history of the location!
MAL: Thank you! We really wanted to note something of the history and keep it a part of the community.
F: Speaking of history, tell us about your own history? How you got into this field and why you choose to stay in it?
MAL: I actually started my career in the industry when I was 16 years old! I managed to get into it through a connection and worked in the U.S., Belgium, and France during summer jobs. At 18 I left France to come in the UK and started my career in beverages and wine. My grandfather had shaped my palate for great wine from a young age and this became an obvious direction. I worked for Gordon Ramsay in most of his U.K. restaurants, including his three Michelin stars, for 10 years. Through this time, for six years, I’ve worked closely with Angela Hartnett and opened all her London restaurants heading the beverages. For the last five years I’ve been opening and running large operation casual dining sites for Cubitt House, Open House, and Boxcar at a Director level. I love it and I stay in it because the wine and restaurants industry in London is one of the most active in the world: a round table of wines and spirits where constant discovery with new and exciting products.
F: We agree! So, with so much to choose from, why do you choose to work with FAIR?
MAL: I was probably one of the first ten clients of Paul’s when he started working for FAIR and have never stopped supporting the brand since! The whole range is of superb quality, combined with a great ethos. Groups like FAIR are the precisely the ones I always like to support and work with. By paying higher prices for their ingredients, FAIR supports dignified and sustainable farming in developing countries across the world. Sustainability and Fairtrade have such a connection, and sustainability is really important to me. Most of my career in wine has – and still does – focused on low intervention wines, ones that don’t use chemicals and in particular small producers who take care to consider sustainability.
F: We love when we hear things like that, about people focusing their career on sustainability. OK, finally, is there anything you want to add about the summer pop up Percy and Founders is doing, the Green On The Inside event?
MAL: We’re really trying to just bring the outdoors in. Apart from what you’ve outlined above, we just think it’s the perfect setting to enjoy a summer spritz and some delicious seasonal treats from our summer menu. We’ve also teamed up with FAIR to create a signature cocktail for the event, called A Green A-FAIR. It’s made with house-infused sugar snap pea FAIR vodka, house-made sugar snap pea and mint syrup, fresh lime and Franklin & Sons soda. A Green A-FAIR is a limited edition cocktail, only for this summer event, and for every one sold, £1 will be donated to the Felix Project, a local charity that is dedicated to rescuing edible food waste and delivering it to vulnerable people suffering from food poverty in London.
Not only will Percy and Founders be delivering the best indoor garden you’re going to see this summer AND serving up amazing drinks, but the Wimbledon Championships will also be screened live all day, every day, in their Cocktail Bar. The Green On The Inside event has been running from Monday June 17 and goes until Sunday July 14, and the Wimbledon Championships will be on July 1 until July 14. So we vote that you get on down there and enjoy exactly what it has to offer while you still can!