A new artisan food-to-go outlet has opened on Richmond High Street, which plans to expand across London and the south-east in the future.
Cook & Garcia, which opened 11 weeks ago, is a privately-funded business which serves a selection of grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, as well as pastries, muffins, cakes, soups, hot beverages and smoothies.
The business was set up by Richard Garcia, who previously worked as the food development manager at Aramark, which won the contract to supply the food to the London 2012 Olympic Village, as well as his wife and marketing professional Janet.
Janet Garcia, co-owner at Cook & Garcia, told British Baker: "We are a cross between Carluccio’s for the deli side, Pret a Manger with the grab and go sandwich offering, and Starbucks for our coffee. Some food is available in chiller cabinets, while others will be made fresh including a live station where we will carve slow-roasted meats for sandwich fillings.
"We wanted to try and create something new and fresh in our local area, and on Richmond High Street there are hardly any independent retailers. So we are competing with the likes of Pret a Manger, Starbucks, Costa and Paul. It’s great to see them on the high street, but none of them produce fresh ingredients on-site which is one of our unique selling points."
Janet added Cook & Garcia currently par-bakes the majority of its bread, but will look to link up with a local independent bakery in the future.
Sweet Revenge, located in Kingston-upon-Thames, supplies the artisan food-to-go outlet with its sweet bakery offering, including large cakes such as red velvet, a gluten-free range, and a selection of cupcakes.
"If we prove the concept well here in Richmond, in a year we would like to open outlet number two. We are trying to build a brand, not just a sandwich shop," Janet said.