6.
IMOGEN - FOUNDER OF NATIVE 

I know I’m one of the lucky ones as I am quarantining back in the Midlands with my family - in a field in the middle of nowhere - but the lock-down has enforced upon me something I never knew I needed.
Quarantine days have reignited my creative spirit, and although I hadn’t entirely lost it, the daily grind had certainly suppressed it slightly, with prioritisation of less creative tasks often taking up the majority of my day.

I’ve been experimenting, creating and conjuring up exciting things - not all of them work but that’s the fun of it! The purr of the commuter train has been replaced by the humming of the bees beneath the apple tree, while I enjoy my morning tea from a china cup, not a rushed coffee in a dash to the station, with the swallows that have arrived from Africa as my morning acquaintances.

One occurrence I will never take for granted is slowly watching the sunset every single day, whether it is sunny, rainy, or even foggy - working in hospitality that is a rarity!

Once the world begins to reopen, the “new normal” won’t be a world we recognise. The prospect of the indefinite future for restaurants feels incredibly daunting, but one that we are not unfamiliar with. We will be reopening Native in its 3rd new home in 4 years - this time, hopefully, a forever home.

My motto of ‘everybody’s winging it’ has never felt more comforting or apt. We are adjusting and ready to start afresh, with a rekindled appreciation and longing for the busy hustle of dinner service, with the whole team gracefully dancing around each other like a perfect production at the ROH. Cheerfully waving goodbye to the last table who have merrily turned ‘a quick bite’ into a 5-hour dinner and the joys of having celebrated a whole array of special occasions, and hello’s from our friends and neighbours.

I’ve been in experimentation mode, with cocktail creations and bio-materials using any by-products for aprons, wine lists, tables- the list goes on in my lab (my mum’s kitchen)!!

More than anything I think I’ve appreciated the opportunity to do something I’ve meant to for a long time… Stop.