Erpingham House founder Loui Blake reveals his other favourite places to eat in Norwich
- Credit: Archant
Entrepreneur Loui Blake shares his Heaven and Hell with Gina Long MBE.
Loui Blake is a serial entrepreneur from Norwich. He is the inspirational founder of Erpingham House, Vegan Dough Co and Future Football Elite, and a partner at by Chloe. An international keynote speaker amd award-winning marketer, as well as topping RMI’s 2019 30 under 30, Loui is passionate about plant-based food and sustainability, entrepreneurship and business.
What’s been the impact of Covid-19 on Erpingham House and how have you adapted?
I think we have been fortunate as a business to endure so many challenges in our first two years, so our mindset immediately switched to ‘what can we do?’. We fed children affected by missing out on school meals for free, we scaled up our delivery operation and repurposed our kitchen space to handle more orders. We’ve utilised the government support as best as we possibly can and been strategic on when to open. I am pleased we were able to retain all of our staff for the first few months and continued to keep things moving, which has paid dividend as we ended August with one of our best months on record.
What is your connection to East Anglia?
I was born in Norwich and grew up there. I absolutely love Norfolk and recently had another 18-month stint living there. Although I am predominantly based in London, I regularly travel back and have a number of projects in Norwich that I enjoy spending time on, as well as visiting friends and family that live locally. It will always be home.
What is your East Anglian Heaven?
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The beautiful landscape, access to amazing beaches and the outdoors, the slower pace of life and the history of the city. The people are great too, very friendly. There’s a great community feel about Norwich that you don’t always get in big cities.
What is your East Anglian Hell?
It takes forever to get out! [although] The amount of time I’ve spent driving in and out of Norfolk could be much better spent, it’s also a nice thing to be removed from the rest of the country in a way.
What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?
Other than my own, I love Namaste Indian restaurants and I always have a great experience at Shiki, our neighbours in Tombland. More and more places are offering plant-based dishes, so it’s becoming easier than ever to eat out.
What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?
Heading over to the coast in north Norfolk, going for a walk and watching the sun come down.
What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?
I’m fortunate to have the restaurant at Erpingham House which backs on to Norwich Cathedral’s grounds, so, I would have to say the cathedral. It is such a beautiful building that is synonymous with Norwich.
What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
The football season! I love how sport can bring everyone together and it means so much to the city. I try to make it back for as many games as possible.
What would your specialist Mastermind subject be?
Probably food, specifically plant-based food.
What is always in your fridge?
Hummus. It is my go-to snack!
What’s your simple philosophy of life?
Try and leave a net positive on every situation.
What’s your favourite film?
What was your first job?
Coaching football at Norwich City Community Foundation.
What is your most treasured possession?
A book that was handed down to me, it has notes written in it by my grandmother.
Who do you admire most?
I love Alan Watts’s writing, which challenged a lot of traditional thinking at the time and made eastern philosophy accessible to the west. In a professional sense, Danny Meyer is someone I look up to, for what he’s achieved in hospitality.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Medjool dates. I can eat an obscene amount.
What do you like about yourself most?
I would say how open I am to taking risks, and resilience when things get difficult.
What’s your worst character trait?
I find it hard to say no to new opportunities, and being satisfied with where I am.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I go back to Los Angeles regularly; you can do everything within a few hours – snow, surf, sun, city, relax and party.
Best day of your life?
Anytime something I have dreamed about happening comes true, and I get to experience it in the physical world. The day I opened my first business, this set the tone for the belief that anything I thought could happen, I knew could become possible.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Avocado on sourdough, with a green smoothie.
What’s your favourite tipple?
A glass of Malbec.
What’s your hidden talent?
I can run a long way, at a reasonable pace. I did an ultra-marathon during lockdown.
When were you most embarrassed?
I’ve had a couple of business failures that were public. I’d shouted so much about them on social media. In hindsight, failure is so often gives us the tools we need for future successes. I’m less embarrassed about them now, but at the time it’s not so easy!
What’s your earliest memory?
Probably trying to climb the stairs in my first home and not being able to. I actually have a pretty bad memory and I can’t recall too much before the age of three or four.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Tell us something people don’t know about you.
I was in a TV advert with David Beckham once!
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
I’m not sure I can say it here!
Tell us why you live here and nowhere else.
People, community and it’s home.
What do you want to tell our readers about most?
Check out Erpingham House in Tombland, we are changing the way people view plant-based food! For more information see www.louiblake.com
Are you doing something special during Covid-19 times? Please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Twitter: @geewizzgee1 Instagram:ginalongmbe