Exclusive Pass to Soho House: A Talk with Founder Nick Jones
Nick Jones, founder and managing director of the Soho House, after almost twenty years, has compiled a collection of the ideas and concepts that have made Soho House unique: EAT, DRINK, NAP. The book, valued at $40 USD, can be purchased at any Soho House. The man who knows about exclusivity from his members-only clubs, which he describes as a “really a private club with bedrooms” opened himself up to questions regarding his new book!
photo credit essential surrey
Below is a Q&A with Nick on the makings of EAT, DRINK, NAP:
Why did you decide to create Eat, Drink, Nap?
I decided to do this years ago – it’s just taken a long time to come to fruition. Over the years, lots of people have asked us how we create the Soho House experience – from finding a sofa to making one of our cocktails to building a bathroom from scratch. So, we thought we’d get all the answers down on paper. We created the book for people who like what we do, and want to create a little bit of it in their own homes.
How do you decide the décor of the different Houses? And how do you ensure that while all the Houses look different, they all feel like part of the Soho House family?
We don’t come with a design and fit the design into the building. We look at the building, research the history, the soul and the feel of the city and we design around that. The Houses all look different but they have to feel like part of the Soho House family – they are not directly related but there has to be a relationship – like a distant cousin.That connection can come through friendly service, the can-do attitude of the staff, the furniture – there are all sorts of ways to connect the Houses to each other.
Soho house West Hollywood Chris Tubbs
The Soho House menu adopts a less-is-more approach to cooking, and aims to stick to three main ingredients on a plate – why is that?
I’m into simplicity. People over complicate things all the time – from turning a TV on to creating a plate of food. In my opinion you only really need three ingredients. In many cases there will be more than three, but then there needs to be an enquiry into that fourth ingredient – is it necessary or is it to cover up that the other three are not good enough? Lay it bare, have quality ingredients and keep the menu simple.
You are pictured in the book cooking a roast dinner. Is that your favourite thing to cook?
Yes. I do a Sunday lunch every week at home. For me it’s therapeutic, I really enjoy it. If I could play golf – which I can’t – I would still much prefer to cook the Sunday lunch. I can cook other things but they have to be meat-based…and simple!
I also think that if you’re going to cook naughty food, make it really naughty or don’t bother. If you’re making mash potato, put loads of butter, cream and milk in it and it’ll taste right. If you’re making mac ‘n cheese, throw a couple of packets of strong cheese in. Otherwise you might as well make something else.
What are the key ingredients to throwing a good party?
A sense of generosity. I don’t mean you have to spend a fortune – some of the most expensive parties can be dreadful because they’ve spent the money in the wrong places – it’s about having a sense of generosity in the spirit of how you throw a party. If your budget is limited don’t invite 100 people, invite 50 and make sure they have an amazing time – with plenty of food and drink.
Soho House Design Director Vicky Charles on Salvage Finds:
“Every project Soho House works on from Cheeky nails to Soho Beach House contains vintage pieces. Our salvage finds are integral to the design process and usually provide the inspiration for the rest of the room. Hunting for salvage is an obsession of ours and we are constantly looking, collecting beautiful things that usually need some love before we can use them. Our vintage pieces help authenticate the space, they bring history and help create spaces that are comfortable and lived in.
The best finds usually happen when we aren’t looking… a flea market in a small town, trailing through Ebay late at night or an image that is inspiring that sends us on a direction.
We get really practical before we buy anything. Does it work? Is the chair comfortable, the table sturdy or does the light need rewiring. We check every dimension and then get the best shipping deal. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than a broken package.”