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Chefs: Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Welcome to this brand new Blog series. In this series, I will be looking at fantastic chefs, sometimes super famous and sometimes maybe little known.

Kricket is a highly acclaimed Indian restaurant. In fact, it won a Rishi's Kitchen Award in 2020. Today I'm not looking at one chef, yes, I'm doing a double chef blog. These two chefs, Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell founded Kricket, a Trip Advisor 2020 choice restaurant, in 2015. Bowlby and Campbell are university friends and started Kricket off as a 20-seater shipping container at Pop Brixton, but now it has bloomed into an incredible trio of restaurants.

Britain is in thrall to Indian food and there is no doubt about that. No other country has more Indian restaurants on the streets outside of India. There is hustling and bustling street food and famous Michelin-starred restaurants. Kricket finds itself in the middle of those, and its co-founder Will Bowlby is at the heart of the Anglicised Indian restaurant.

Bowlby became interested in food when he was around 10 years old. He says it was Jamie Oliver who got him going. By the tender age of sixteen Bowlby ran a one man food catering business. As soon as Bowlby finished university he got a job at Rowley Liegh's Le Cafe Anglais.

‘I was thrown in the deep end on the vegetable section, which was massive,’ says Will. ‘It was really tough, but I kept my head down and over the next two years worked my way through every section there. It really taught me all the basics and I learned as much as I could about classical techniques and ideas.’

Bowlby left Le Cafe Anglais in search of a different style of cooking to further his knowledge in the industry. But when a European restaurant in India offered him a job he leapt at the opportunity:

‘I was only twenty-four and almost definitely not experienced enough, but I went for it anyway and moved to Mumbai. It was an intense two years – Mumbai is a difficult place to live in many respects – but it was also really exciting and unlike anything I’d done before. The idea of a European restaurant is incredibly vague in India; I suppose it’s more like a continental restaurant than anything. But while I was there it was the exposure to regional Indian cuisine that caught my attention.’

Bowlby soon became addicted to Indian food and starting to travel around the country as much as possible. ‘The sheer variety of food on offer is just incredible,’ he says. ‘The history behind it all is really interesting too – different regions have been influenced by everything from Portuguese colonisers to Middle Eastern invaders. It’s different wherever you go. I particularly love southern Indian food – Kerala is great for light, coastal seafood, but then you head east and the spices are used completely differently. The most interesting food I’ve had was in Lucknow, in the north, as it’s so rich, influenced by the Mughals from hundreds of years ago. You also can’t ignore the street food in Old Delhi, which is not particularly healthy but it’s incredibly delicious.’

Bowlby found a gap in the UK market and returned to found Kricket with his university friend Rik Campbell.

Campbell decided to take a completely different route than Bowlby after graduating from Newcastle University in 2010. He started a job as an accountant at Deloitte in corporate finance. But he decided to follow his entrepeunerial spirit and open Kricket with Will Bowlby.

Thank you for getting to the end of this rather long blog. If you have any Chef suggestions for me to cover please do let me know.

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1 komentarz

wilfred travers
wilfred travers
16 lut 2021

What a fantastic read! Love the story. What about Nadiya Hussain? She won bake-off and was one of the 500 most influential people in the UK!

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