We’re excited to share the second edition of this year’s Speciality Spotlight series, highlighting some of our trade customers from across the country.
In the second feature for 2022, we spoke to Chris Hall, owner of Giddy Grocer. Giddy Grocer is a grocery store, located in the heart of Bermondsey, London. The store focuses on sourcing artisanal & seasonal produce to serve the local community.
Tell us about yourself & how Giddy Grocer started?
I have spent most of my life as a documentary maker, producing and directing films for the main UK television channels. One of my claims to fame was making the first two series of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and winning a much-coveted BAFTA award. Working with Gordon fuelled my already voracious appetite for fine food and wine and, looking back at that time, I realise I picked up a fair few tips for running my own food business. It wasn’t until some years later when my passion for film-making waned that I decided to open Giddy Grocer on the street where I’ve lived with my husband and dog (an Irish Terrier called Molly Malone) for the last 15 years.
What do you most enjoy about running your own business?
For me, it’s all about community. Food retail is a stressful business, but having a store where the locals, office workers and visitors constantly praise you for providing a valuable service is the most rewarding experience. I love being able to share food tips and recipes and encourage people to think about seasonality and where their food comes from.
What do you look for when sourcing products for the store?
I decided at the outset that the business would champion small producers and especially local British-based producers who share my views on sustainability. Each product that is chosen not only has to taste amazing but the branding and packaging is also key – it has to draw the eye and stand out on the shelves. I’d say at least 30% of our stock comes from within a 5 mile radius of the shop and that’s not only good for the freshness of the produce but also hugely helps our carbon footprint.
At Peter’s Yard our ethos is all about taking time for the simple pleasures in life – we’d love to know how do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I’m lucky to have a base outside London as well, so whenever there’s a bit of spare time I head to the South Downs with dog in tow. Tending my garden there is pure joy and even 24 hours in what I call ‘my happy place’ will restore the energy levels for the week ahead. I’m a keen forager so at this time of year I head to a secret spot in the nearby woods armed with a massive basket and pick as much wild garlic as I can carry.
What cheese or topping would be your perfect pairing with Peter’s Yard?
One of the dishes I make for the shop is a Smoked Mackerel and horseradish pate. That piled high on a Peter’s Yard original (with a hole) with some pickled cucumber on the side and a glass of chilled La Salada L’Ermot natural wine is my idea of heaven.
What’s next for Giddy Grocer?
I’m not in any hurry to expand the business but it’s incredibly important to keep evolving. We recently appointed a new manager, Sophie, who is brimming with exciting ideas so who knows which direction we will head in next? One thing is certain, we’ll continue to serve our wonderful community with fresh, local, sustainable produce in a truly traditional, and giddy, fashion.
If you’re in London, discover Giddy Grocer for yourself at 80 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD.
Sourdough crackers and crispbreads
Our hand-baked sourdough crackers and crispbreads are the perfect accompaniment to artisan cheeses, cured meats and dips.