Alex Head is the passionate, creative and determined woman behind Social Pantry, a thriving London Catering Company and Café which Alex founded in 2011. At 32 years old, she is the sole owner and backer of her ever-growing business making her a seriously impressive young entrepreneur and chef. Social Pantry was born out of Alex’s adoration for fresh, seasonal and delicious food; after a lot of hard work and late nights, she has gone from hand-delivering sandwiches to managing a team of 30 across her businesses.
Alex began her career in hospitality, studying at Ballymaloe Cookery School, she went onto gain experience in many professional kitchens, including a two-month stint at Bibendum restaurant in London. It was a taster of a proper kitchen, she loved the buzz of the kitchen and was determined to prove to everyone she could make it. Alex loves a challenge so working mostly in all-male commercial kitchens only made her more determined to succeed and prove that a woman could handle the heat too! Alex completed a Hospitality and Business degree in Oxford. During her time there, she worked in the kitchens of both QUOD and Gees which gave her the invaluable experience she needed to pursue her catering business.
Alex was expelled from school at aged 15, and after a few more near misses throughout her teenage years she found her way whilst living in Saudi Arabia and selling her first homemade sandwiches from the back of her bike (named Billy)! Alex was lucky enough to be given plenty of second chances in life and it’s incredibly rewarding for her to now be able to offer someone else another chance, she now personally mentors and employs several young men and women who have recently been released from prison through Key4Life charity and works directly with Brixton Prison.
Social Pantry’s tagline is “Fresh, Seasonal & Delicious” and whatever they’re offering, it’s served with style. This has led to Alex creating menus and catering for some impressive clientele, the launch of Gigi Hadid’s collaboration with Maybelline, Fenty Beauty – Rhianna’s make up range’s party, Vogue have named her as one of ‘The Wedding Caterers to know’ and Time Out has voted the Social Pantry Café as number one in Battersea.
Alex works hard to use seasonal ingredients at all times and uses suppliers who have the same ethos and similar values to Social Pantry. They are working towards a cardboard free food delivery system with all suppliers and introduced a ‘zero waste attitude’ within their kitchens. They donate used coffee granules to local community for compost and Alex feeds the homeless on a weekly basis at Glass Door Charity in Kensington. At the café, they serve brownies made by Bad Boys Bakery, located in HMP Brixton. Redemption Coffee beans are from a roasters situated in Aylesbury Prison. Thrive Charity, a dementia charity based in Battersea Park supply plants and recycled plant pots for the café tables.
This year, Alex took her support towards Key4Life one step further and hosted their first Social Supper club. Five leading London chefs paired up with five young ex-offenders that the charity put forward for one night only, raising £2000 for the charity and helping to secure employment in other restaurants.
Alex was runner up for a YBF award in the Honorary Category for 'making a meaningful impact within Hospitality', and Social Pantry has been shortlisted in this year’s Foodism 100 Awards for 'Best Social Enterprise'. Social Pantry was also a runner up for the Centre for Social Justice 'Responsible Business' Award and Alex recently received the Caterer Magazine’s 'Mentor or the Year' Highly Commended.