Andy Briggs, co-founder of The Stable talks cider, perms and minke whales with Laura Foster
'I left school as soon as I could and joined the Navy, where I trained as a chef. We’d spend the winters in Norway doing arctic training and the summers in the Caribbean doing jungle training.'
'I was supposed to go to LA last summer and ride a motorbike up the West Coast with my friend Kyle, but he forgot to tell me he didn’t have his bike licence yet.'
'When you first start a business, you do everything. But as we’ve expanded we’ve got more people taking care of different parts. We’re at 14 branches now, but it’s easier because my brother, sister-in-law and I aren’t doing it all ourselves now.'
'Lots of people are jumping on the artisanal cider bandwagon now, even big brands are bringing out products that look cloudy…'
'I really like spice. I went to the South Devon Chilli Farm, and the guy dared me to try the chillis in three jars on the fridge. The hottest was called something like a Jamaican Scorpion. It made my toes curl and knocked my hat off.'
'Cider has evolved. It’s not drinking it on a slide in a rec.'
'I once worked in Australia as a diving instructor and a minke whale and her calf followed our boat for a week. They’re huge. She was very inquisitive considering she had a baby with her.'
'When I was really young I had a perm. I remember sitting at the hairdresser’s with a bag on my head when this girl I fancied at school walked past, which was really embarrassing.'
'I fell in the toilet at Toulouse train station. I was there back in the day when the French had drop toilets, and I was holding onto the bar when it fell off. Not pleasant...'
'If I could invite anyone to a dinner party, it would be Stephen Fry. I think he’s an extremely articulate bloke. I’ve grown up with him from Blackadder through to QI.'
'With all of our branches of Stable, we’ve sourced local suppliers. But we had to change that with London – there aren’t many cider producers there. So we’ve brought a taste of Dorset to the capital instead.'
'I was a lazy little fatty when I was a kid. I feigned sickness one Christmas Eve so I didn’t have to go to Midnight Mass and inhaled six selection boxes. A proper Augustus Gloop.'
1986-1991 Trained and worked as a chef in the Royal Navy
1991-1995 Worked as a chef in the French Alps during the winter; and in Cyprus during the summer, as a diving instructor by day and chef by night
1998-2008 Lived and worked in Australia running his own café restaurant
2008 Returned to the UK to help Richard and Nikki Cooper at The Bull Hotel in Bridport, Dorset
2009-present Co-founder of The Stable with the Coopers