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Oliver Peyton is the founder and chairman of Peyton and Byrne and a renowned restaurateur whose restaurants are recognised as much for their impressive design as they are for the quality of their cooking. Described by Matthew Fort as having a “penchant for the spectacular and the idiosyncratic", Oliver now oversees the restaurants and cafés for the majority of London’s famous galleries and parks, and Peyton and Byrne now lead the way in public space dining. He is also one of the judges on BB2’s Great British Menu and the author of two cookbooks. He was recently awarded an OBE for his services to the hospitality industry. On the 8th February 2013, when responding to questions on Channel 4 News about the quality of supermarket meat products, and referring to the Irish meat industry, stated Ireland was 'an airport for meat.' Furthermore, he said that he would never buy Irish beef, claiming that meat labelled as Irish was probably sourced in Indonesia.
Nightclubs and restaurants
"restaurants should be about having fun"
Peyton came to London while he was still a student. He ran two successful nightclubs in the Eighties, The Can in Brighton, and RAW in London then hit on the idea of creating a premium drinks importing company. He masterminded the UK distribution of Absolut vodka, Japanese beer Sapporo_brewery and a number of other brands, revolutionizing the UK drinks industry and creating the ‘Super Premium’ spirit sector that was to kick start British cocktail culture.
Peyton moved into his real love, restaurants, in the early Nineties, with the opening of the Atlantic Bar & Grill. Famous for its art deco interiors and modern British menu, the restaurant was an overnight success and was followed closely by restaurants Coast, Mash, Isola and the Admiralty at Somerset House.
Peyton and Byrne
In 2004 Peyton took on a new challenge with the opening of the eco-friendly and architecturally innovative Inn the Park in St James's Park. Setting the trend for offering a menu that was organic, seasonal and completely British, this opening marked a new direction for the business.
Seeing a gap in the market and a real need to change tourist perception of British food, Peyton actively targeted opportunities within some of Britain’s biggest national institutions. In 2006 he opened The National Dining Rooms at The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square and The Wallace Restaurant in the sculpture garden of The Wallace Collection. This was followed closely by a second eatery at the National Gallery – The National Café – and one in the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. In 2007 Peyton won the contract for the café-bar in the ICA, the British Library in 2009 and Kew Gardens in 2010. More recently he opened the Restaurant at the Royal Academy in 2011.
Not just content with restaurants, the business has also expanded to ‘Peyton and Byrne’ bakeries which are now at six locations across London, including two stand alone bakery-cafés in the newly refurbished St Pancras International Station and St Giles near Covent Garden. All the Peyton and Byrne bakeries offer a quintessentially British experience – presenting pretty pastel-coloured shops stacked with a variety of breads, biscuits, tarts, trays of hot pies and quiches, and cabinets filled with cream cakes, sponges and crumbles. In addition, all of the products contain only natural ingredients and are freshly made every day.
Running alongside the restaurants and bakeries is Peyton Events. With over twenty years experience, the team includes some of the UK’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, as well as experienced event organizers who create unique events for both corporate and private clients.
Outside of the hospitality industry Peyton invests in several creative businesses and when he is not cooking or opening new bakeries, he can usually be found browsing antiques shops or art galleries with his wife Charlie and their three children.
- BBC program directory with links to the series The Great British Menu
- Corporate website with basic biography
- RTE Ireland producer and broadcaster of the Recipe for Success series
- article from The Independent, detailing Peyton's career
- A review of The national Cookbook on the Visit London website
- "A lot on Peyton's plate", article from The Independent, Ireland
- Caterer Search magazine article, The 100 most influential people in catering
- Caterer Search magazine article with controversial claims made to the Horticultural Trade Association's catering conference in 2007
- Irish Examiner article about RTE's Recipe for Success series, which mentions that a schooolboy is one of the contestants
- Official site
- Peyton and Byrne
- Peyton Events
- Inn The Park
- The Wallace Restaurant
- The National Cafe
- The National Dining Rooms
- The ICA Cafe and Bar
- Interview with Oliver Peyton on Hot Dinners 2009