Q&A with Jake Finn, Founder and Owner of Cinder
We caught up with Jake Finn, founder and owner of Cinder to find out what inspired his passion for food and his love for cooking over open flames.
Where does your interest in food come from?
My interest in food started very early on in life. I was the youngest of 4 boys and my mum, Jacqueline, would always make sure that her 5 boys (Dad included) had a hot meal on the table every night. I always found myself helping out with washing, peeling, and chopping. As I got older I started to get work experience in a couple of restaurants and hotels which eventually led to me enrolling on an apprenticeship course.
How did the first Cinder Restaurant come about?
Pre-covid I was doing a lot of private dining/ catering whilst fundraising for a site I had my eyes on in Notting Hill. Then covid happened, and I walked away from all the plans, I was left at home with nothing to do, feeling sorry for myself. I then bought some 9×9 inch foil trays on Amazon and started a food delivery service for families stuck at home. Delivery trays of food, people could stick in the oven and take out a piping hot delicious restaurant quality meal. Things went really well and I soon realised I needed somewhere to cook that wasn’t my flat. After looking at some options to rent commercial kitchens, I realised that it would be cheaper to have my own little kitchen that had a few tables inside to cook for guests. I found the site in Belsize Park. After ripping the whole thing out and putting it back together, we managed to squeeze in 14 seats inside and that’s how Cinder was born.
What makes Cinder so special?
Besides the food, what makes Cinder really special is the people. I’m very lucky and blessed to have an amazing team around me who feel proud and motivated to work at Cinder. Without them, I would be nowhere. When I leave the restaurant I have full confidence the people working represent our restaurant in the best possible way.
Tell us about the menu at Cinder.
Cinder was born out of my passion for cooking over live fire. We have a big charcoal oven which we use to elevate the flavour of all our dishes at some point. We start the day by preparing a lot of our vegetable dishes over the fire which requires really hot coals to add colour and flavour without cooking the delicate ingredients too much. Once the coals have cooled down slightly, we then make our incredible grilled bread fresh every day. During service, its mainly used for cooking meat and fish.