Ollie Templeton

Ollie Templeton

Mile High ended up being the first food concept that Ollie ran with his brother Ed and cousins Anna and Will, and was in essence a pop-up, immersive, tongue-in-cheek experience, themed around 1950s air travel, 'it was a bit of fun,’ says Ollie, who would cook a menu inspired by the destination of each fictitious flight, ‘but it was also a big success and we sold out loads of events.’ Following this success, the cousins were all set to push on with plans to grow their food-cum-events company but were stopped in their tracks when the opportunity came along to take over a space permanently on Blandford Street, which would need to house a restaurant of some kind. The four of them decided to take the plunge, and the space went on to become the first iteration of Carousel.

‘At the point where the site came along, I’d only been cooking professionally for two years,’ says Ollie, ‘there were still things I didn’t understand or know how to do. I wanted to go and travel around doing stages in Copenhagen and places like that. So, we thought ‘why not just do a restaurant, where instead of me going and doing stages, we just bring the chefs to us?’ The idea of just constantly inviting different chefs felt really cool to us and I think I still is. I didn’t feel ready to put my name to a restaurant of my own and this felt like the perfect middle ground. Plus, there was also plenty of space to continue doing events.’

Carousel launched in 2014 and since then has played host to over three-hundred different chefs from more than fifty countries, becoming known as London’s go-to spot for chef residencies. These chefs don’t totally takeover the space though; they work alongside Ollie, allowing him and his team to learn from them, ‘That’s always been the main goal for me,’ he says with a smile, ‘and I’ve learnt from every single chef we’ve hosted.’ All this experience has also influenced Ollie’s own food, which initially just formed the basis of the lunch menu at Carousel on Blandford Street, but has since gone on to become a larger part of the offering.

In 2021, Carousel relocated to a larger site on Charlotte Street, where all sorts of chefs continue to do residencies; however, Carousel mark two also features an all-day wine bar, which solely serves Ollie’s own menu. Inspired both by his time growing up in Spain, his travels and also the plethora of different chefs he’s worked with, Ollie’s food is very much Mediterranean in feel but also champions seasonal British produce, ‘by the time we opened on Charlotte Street, I had a very clear idea of the food I wanted to serve,’ he explains, ‘the aim is for the menu to be punchy but super approachable. Every dish has to be able to stand on its own two feet but also needs to harmonise with everything else.’

Until it moved home, the focus had always been very much on the guest residencies at Carousel, and whilst they still form a core part of its identity, the launch of the wine bar in Fitzrovia has finally allowed Ollie to really showcase what a fantastic chef he is in his own right. By staying humble and letting other chefs be in the spotlight at Carousel, he’s been able to quietly spend years learning and absorbing knowledge, and all this experience now shines through in his own food.