We talk to bio-chemist turned pastry chef Bethany Chellingworth about Sweet Thursday, the family friendly pizza place with an authentic flavour of Neoplitan pizza. Food for Kids chats kids and kitchen tips from the hearty pizza place off the Kingsland Road.
You launched Sweet Thursday in 2012 , what was the inspiration behind the restaurant?
We wanted to set up a family-friendly easy-going place in De Beauvoir (where we were all living at the time), and pizza was an easy choice – we all loved it! We chose to do Neapolitan style because it is the original, and in our opinion, the best! Helped also by the fact that I’d lived in Naples for some time and so had roots and contacts there. Our planning permission for the restaurant was dependant on retaining a retail section – hence the wine shop.
How important is sourcing your ingredients? Can you tell our readers a little more about the process to help create these healthy and tasty pizzas?
Top quality ingredients is what sets our pizzas apart – its easy to make money in a pizzeria serving mediocre toppings and cheap ingredients, but we stand for quality, authenticity and taste. So, yes its a bit harder to meet the margins, but our customers do keep coming back! Our pizzas are lighter on the stomach because we use top quality flour with very little yeast, and a slow fermentation. Lots of people don’t know this, but its often the yeast in breads and doughs that sits heavily on the stomach and can make you feel bloated. Our pizzas don’t do that – so we can (and do!) eat them everyday!
Can you share any of your favourite rain day activities with the kids?
Soft play time at Sweet thursday! We have a kids area at the back of the restaurant every afternoon, and we do a special offer – a kids pizza and a glass of wine (for mum), so it’s lovely to be able to sit and relax and eat a meal without being pestered! We also love going to the library – my little girl can’t get her hands on enough books!
What is your ethos behind the brand?
Its important to us to be approachable, family friendly, and stand for good quality with friendly, happy staff. We are all about sharing, coming to eat at sweet thursday should be like having your friends over in your own place. We want you to feel at home and welcome!
Can you tell us any exciting projects you may be working on?
We seek to improve…and potentially grow!
Any top tips on how to juggle being a working mum?
Accept all offers of help going! And try and get a good night’s sleep – everything is easier when you are rested. Easier said than done 🙂 Also, remember what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Having goals and the correct motivation can get you through the tough times, being exhausted, pulled in every direction and then wondering why you are doing any of it just leads to resentment…
What top food and nutritional tips would you give mums who aren’t confident in the kitchen?
Starting with organic can turn any guilty food moment around – at least then you know you are giving your child the best you can, even if its something very simple. Avoid any processed foods, you never know what is lurking inside. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple, like omelettes or spelt pancakes – I’m a foodie mum but my daughter doesn’t know that – she just knows what she likes and is happy with the simple things sometimes! Cooking in batches and freezing too – it’s great when you’re lacking inspiration to just be able to take a peek in the freezer…
Can you give our readers any favourite family friendly haunts from across the capital?
I love the city farms – Hackney, Mudchute and Leyton are all great, we love being outdoors – the animals are a constant source of entertainment, and there is no better sedative than fresh air!
When you’re not busy working and on mummy-duty, what do like to do to unwind and relax?
I love watching films for the ultimate escapism, reading food magazines and eating out with friends.
What advice would you give our readers who want to start their own business?
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how to achieve it. Keeping these things in mind will keep you going, the rest is just hard work and persistence!
What’s your motto?
Take every opportunity that comes your way – you never know where it will take you.