a decent conversation with District & Where's Fred's.
With so many great spots and the new Where’s Fred’s opening, we had a lot to talk about with Chelsea, founder and wonderful lady behind it all. Read on for an insight into all her sites and some important lessons learnt along the way.
Hey! First up, can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself and how you got into the hospitality industry?
I come from a background of fashion and retail - customer facing so not too dissimilar to hospitality. While I was working in fashion and retail, I had part time jobs on the side at local coffee shops. I really connected with hospitality and wanted to bring the Australian coffee culture to London - that Antipodean flare in the product offering and the wellness aspect.
Can you tell us about your various spots and what inspired them?
Parsons Green was our first spot! Very small, a grab & go style. The community is a massive part of this spot - that local, village-y feeling. We were so welcomed from day one by the community and quickly became a part of people’s daily routine - en route to the tube etc.
Then came Nine Elms - which we opened just six months after PG. This was a pop up originally, a way to establish if there was a future for it in this still relatively under-developed area. It proved to be popular - the area was slowly growing and we grew with it. So we opened up a site around the corner in 2019 that was double the size, which is where we are now!
Our Mayfair site we took over just as Covid hit, so was a challenging time. It’s an iconic, charming area and I wanted to be a part of it. It was previously an old Taylor St Baristas site - I saw what an amazing job they had done and wanted to build on their legacy.
Inspired by the charm of the unknown, Where’s Fred’s is our latest project, which opened in 2022. It’s location goes against everything that a location should be - completely out of sight. It has this wonderful rawness with exposed brick walls, which inspired me in terms of the interior direction - a different brand look & feel to the District sites. The name comes from being on Frederick’s Place and the fact you have to search a little to find it. If you know you know!
Over the past six years, what are the most important lesson(s) you have learnt?
Never make decisions based on ego, I make them based on gut instinct. That’s what works for me - to listen to my intuition and make a decision based on a feeling rather than a number.
You also need to learn to relinquish control. This may be sooner than you’re ready or expect to, but it’s what will help you grow.
Go-to coffee order?
Don’t have one! Everyday is a different day of what I fancy - anything from an almond milk matcha latte to filter to a single shot oat cortado.
For someone visiting District/ Where’s Fred’s for the first time, what would you say is a must-try from your menu?
Our home-baked banana bread, for sure. It’s the recipe I started the business with and hasn’t changed. We load it with quality, thick greek yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and fresh berries.
How do you support sustainability in your coffee shop?
decent packaging of course! Which we love for the custom branding, and ethos behind it all. We also use local suppliers - our Nine Elms location is a stone’s throw from the new Covent Garden market so we have loads of local suppliers and products all so close. We ensure we have the correct methods for disposing - separating coffee grounds, packaging waste, food waste etc.
What are you most excited for in the future of Where’s Fred and District?
Really excited about the new opening of District - in Battersea! This is going to be a hybrid of District and Where’s Fred’s - coffee by day, wine bar and apertivo by night.
Aaaand Layers Bakery - opening by end of year, also in Battersea! It will have a B2B wholesale element and be B2C too. District and Where’s Fred’s will be representing the baked goods so we look forward to sharing them with everyone!