Paul Leigh Smith, 1928–2018
Founder of Hasbeans, Covent Garden Market
— by Joel McMillan
“It’s for you, Papa.” I say handing him the phone.
“Oh, hello Sandra, you’re looking well!” He’s got that sparkle in his eye, with a laugh just below the surface. I often wondered how many people he caught off guard with that simple greeting. Did they thank him with an automatic response and then later think, “Hey, wait a minute … what? Is he watching me?!”
That was him. Constantly cracking jokes, ranging from ridiculously inappropriate to little kid corny “dad” jokes. He also had an amazing ability to call up images from his past, images that would transport you to the very places that had affected him with so much awe and wonder. Whether he was driving through mountain ranges or sitting on his deck up north by the lake or with people from back in the day, you were there with him through his words.
I think one of the most inspiring aspects of Papa was his ability to immerse himself in business without becoming inhuman. I believe that’s why he was able to overcome the many obstacles that any entrepreneur faces. Many many years ago, when his father Paul Smith Sr. ran businesses in the market, Papa was filling in the blanks and doing a lot of damage control. With the help of my mom Deb, Papa’s daughter who started working with Papa at a very young age, and with his head held high, he pulled those businesses out of debt and continued to evolve and better himself and the whole family.
When he conceived of Hasbeans in 1969, Papa was truly swimming in unknown waters. Coffee roasting was absolutely unheard of in North America. It didn’t take long to catch on though, and Hasbeans has been (wink wink nudge nudge) firing delicious coffee into your mouths since!
You might have known my Papa as a man who kicked alcohol 50 years ago. You might have known him as a man who smiles and plays with your kids when your family swings by the market. You might have known him to help you when life felt it was at its worse, to guide you to a better you. He truly was an inspiration to everyone he crossed paths with and his mark has been softly yet permanently recorded in many of our hearts.
As Mom and I fully take over the reigns of the shop and all that it means to run a business in this modern world, I’m reminded of the love, time, and energy Deb and Paul put into this glorious little magic bean shop. The sacrifices were worth it, and I know he will live on through us, the fourth and fifth generation in the market. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without his soul, love and charity. Come on by the shop if you miss him. He will always be there … crackin’ jokes.
— Joel McMillan is Paul Smith’s grandson and a proprietor at Hasbeans in Covent Garden Market.
Anthony Michael Bourdain, 1956–2018
Chef, writer and broadcaster
— by Holly Granken
When we heard the news that Anthony Bourdain had taken his own life, we were in shock. In one way or another, he had an impact on anyone who works in a kitchen. He was cool, he was a bad-ass and he worked damn hard — something all of us pride ourselves on. We read his books, we watched his shows, he was awesome. I wanted to do something to honour him. I’ve always loved the cover of Kitchen Confidential. It’s a photo of a young Tony with two other chefs. They’re leaning against a graffiti-covered wall holding huge knives with self-satisfied smirks on their faces. I wanted to recreate that golden moment with my own crew.