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Ian was born in Vancouver, Canada, but the allure of the west coast of Scotland proved irresistible, so he moved there when he was six months old.
He began his career working for Oddbins wine shops, managing both Cardiff shops in late 1980s. Ian undertook a wine & spirits diploma, alongside attending lots of wine tasting courses, and won numerous sales incentive trips to countries across the world, including France, Portugal, Australia and California. Each trip involved eating at top quality restaurants, which sparked an interest in food. At the time he was a vegetarian, but, in his own words, ‘was getting a bit bored of veggie lasagne and curry’.
Although he hasn’t undertaken any formal catering training, Ian believes ‘it’s only a short step from imagining what a 3 year old Burgundy wine will taste like in another 5 years, to imagining what your simmering stew will taste like if you add a splash of red wine vinegar and some of that orange syrup you served with yesterday’s beetroot ice cream.’
On a trip to Edinburgh in 1992, Ian noticed the burgeoning independent restaurant scene and anticipated that the same thing would happen in Cardiff, which, around 20 years later, it did. In 1995, he ran a small vegetarian cafe in the back of the CND charity shop on Mackintosh place, known as the Peace Shop Cafe.
Following this, he opened The Greenhouse Cafe in 1998, a vegetarian & seafood restaurant on Woodville Road which ran for 10 years, something that, Ian remarks, is quite an achievement in the pantheon of vegetarian restaurants.
After The Greenhouse, he ran the Sherman Theatre’s cafe until it closed for refurbishment and has been cooking lunch at Capital Law ever since.
Ian is no longer a vegetarian, but he still finds vegetables, herbs & spices to be more interesting than meat; he is often told that he cooks vegetarian food with meat in it.