As someone who is old enough to remember living in London in the late 1980’s, things have certainly blossomed in the city since then. At that time, you couldn’t even get a decent cup of coffee or a humble pizza if your life depended on it; certainly not the Haute Cuisine and carefully branded retail experience it is now. It was still a thriving, revered capital, but after having lived in New York City and Paris, London quite frankly, seemed rather provincial at the time. Not any longer. The proverbial baby’s grown up, and in the last decade urbanity oozes from even the roughest neighborhoods.
There were always renegades striving to make London a global spot of sophistication. Antecedents like famed restaurateur, designer and ‘cultural ambassador’, Sir Terence Conran, helped bring food, interior design, local renovation, and local appreciation to the fore. In many ways, Conran’s contributions paved the way for the Stella McCartney’s and Gordon Ramsay’s of the UK – an assertion that the UK could compete with anything on the continent or America with ease and aplomb. Just think what a laughing stock the words ‘British Food’ were even ten years ago; the connotation implied over-boiled veggies, a gelatinous pork pie and warm beer. The French were laughing. Now, though, they’re paying attention.
And so it continues with a new breed of multifarious entrepreneurs in the capital. Not happy to just excel in one area of business or culture, but rather always looking to be involved in new and exciting areas that are helping make London great. Frederick Achom is one of a handful of individuals that, like Conran, is able to turn his hand to many things and ‘just make it work.’ His background is as interesting and varied as the city he calls home. Achom’s business, The Rosemont Group, began life in 2003 focusing on the burgeoning UK property arena, the ever-expanding market for luxury brands, and, in the last few years, has moved into the thriving and cutting-edge world of top restaurants and the fine wines. If you’ve been to London lately, you’d know that the words ‘cutting edge’ are not an overstatement. Ol’ Blighty has upped the ante and is now leaving NYC, San Francisco and Paris to play catch-up.
Recently London’s Evening Standard newspaper listed Achom as ‘one of the most influential people’ in the London landscape. An impressive accolade for sure, and one that sees its recipient just about to launch a new brasserie and oyster bar, Bennett’s Brasserie, in the increasingly hip area of Battersea. Its Head Chef is the highly regarded Sebastian Ryder, and Achom is partnered on this venture with Ray Duhaney, who developed Chayne Walk, and ran Ronnie Scott’s. Its cellar, as you can imagine from someone who is a large shareholder in London wine merchants, Bordeaux Wine Company, is stocked with an impeccable selection. Sounds like another recipe for success.
Like most notable businessmen, Achom has a keen eye not just for trends, but for how brands can grow and evolve and continue to matter over time. This is an ability that can’t really be taught, but one that is cultivated by an innate intuition and what many would consider a ‘business barometer’. Titans like Warren Buffett, have a golden touch and certain feeling for brands and investments that is really akin to an art form. It must be the case, because every city is filled with those hoping to luck into success. Luck has little to do with it.
Achom, who was born in Nigeria, and educated in England, has already had a very diverse and interesting career trajectory. After completing school in the UK, he traveled back to Africa with the goal of becoming a doctor. A year and a half into his studies he decided to return to London and work in business developments. His ascension from a sales consultant to business owner was rapid, and in a short period of time he was able to sell one of his consultancies to parent company, EGC. After this, an inspired set of business moves would aptly describe the many investments and entrepreneurial ventures that Achom pursued: creative land developments, brand consultancy, restaurants, telecommunications, and as mentioned above, the fascinating world of becoming a vintner.
The thread in such a multi-faceted portfolio is, as Achom might say, rather simple. Such seemingly disparate elements are held together with three guiding principles: passion, hard work, and individuality. Frederick Achom’s maxim of, “focus on what you’re doing – and be authentic and individual,” is one that has led him from strength to strength in the business world, and serves as an inspiring landmark in the continually shifting landscape of London. Where he’ll go in the future, is anyone’s guess; but, as is already evident, everything Frederick Achom is involved in, continues to blossom and grow, and ultimately helps a city like London stay on top and keep moving forward.