A MasterChef semi-finalist has realised his dream by opening a new café in Brixton that combines his passions for cooking and design.
After competing on the BBC TV show in 2017 Brodie Williams, 29, left his career in architecture behind and in July launched Annapurna café, on Loughborough Road.
The café is situated in the former Loughborough Hotel pub and connected to San Mei contemporary art gallery, and Brodie has relished curating his own business in a creative environment.
Brodie said: “The space here is really incredible and I’ve tried to design the café and menu around what I would like and hope that will rub off on other people.
“If you try to be something you’re not then you’re destined to fail – and if you don’t believe in what your business is then it won’t be successful.”
After MasterChef Brodie ran a series of supper clubs and private dining events and honed his kitchen skills during a stint at Brixton’s renowned Indian restaurant, Kricket.
He said: “It’s one thing to go on MasterChef and cook four to six dishes at a time, but when you have to cook 40 it’s a different kettle of fish.
“MasterChef gave me the confidence that I could cook and Kricket gave me the confidence I could make things work as a business.”
Brodie always wanted to name his business after a mountain and inspiration came to him when reading Maurice Herzog’s classic Annapurna – a gripping depiction of the first expedition to conquer the 8,000-metre Nepalese peak.
He said: “I thought it was a beautiful name and when I was researching what it meant, in Sanskrit ‘anna’ means ‘food’ and ‘purna’ means ‘filled’, and I thought that was perfect for what I wanted to do – which is fill people with food!”
Customers can enjoy hot drinks, pastries, cooked lunches and a weekend brunch range with Brodie’s speciality sausage rolls becoming near-legendary in the area.
Sustainability is also on the menu as the café ensures all packaging is plastic-free and biodegradable and ingredients are sourced locally where possible, such as coffee from South Wimbledon’s Alchemy roastery.
Brodie said: “I’ve met my coffee supplier and they know the growers, so you know that it is ethically sourced and high quality.
“Judging from the feedback I get, people actually come here because they think it’s one of the few places you can get a decent coffee!”
In testament to the lasting friendships Brodie formed on MasterChef, several of his fellow contestants have popped in to check out his latest project.
He said: “What people don’t realise is that you are hanging out for about eight hours a day together and if you get to the latter rounds, you’re filming over three or four months so that’s a lot of time together!”
“The best thing about it is that you get a big group of mates who are all united under one thing, which is their love of cooking.”
Annapurna Café is located at 39a Loughborough Road, Brixton and can be followed on Instagram.