Maidenhead chef opening shop with wife after losing job to pandemic

George Roberts

Maidenhead chef opening shop with wife after losing job to pandemic

Wesley and Francesca Smalley

A chef who lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic has teamed up with his wife to open up a new food shop in Maidenhead.

Wesley and Francesca Smalley are set to open Seasonality in Queen Street next month, selling restaurant-quality ingredients to budding chefs who want to turn up the quality on their home cooking.

After Wesley lost his job as a restaurant chef due to the pandemic, he and Francesca came up with a new idea to provide something they thought was ‘missing’ from the town.

Francesca said: “Wesley has always been in the kitchen and he always worked really long hours so going from that to the pandemic and being made redundant was very challenging.

“He’s always wanted to have his own place, but it was never the right time. Now was the time to do it.

“We thought it would be really interesting to have a shop where you can get restaurant-quality produce. We thought this is what Maidenhead’s missing.”

When it opens in around three weeks time, the shop will be selling unique fruit and vegetables like winter tomatoes and green citrus fruits, as well as top-quality meat and fish that will already be marinaded and ready for cooking.

Wesley will also be crafting some fresh produce, like homemade pesto, salsa verde, oil and vinegar.

Seasonality will also put together dine-at-home weekend boxes, containing pre-prepared meals that can be finished off at home.

Francesca, who also has a background working in the food industry, added: “Wesley has worked at some really great restaurants in the past and has built up a really amazing black book of restaurant-quality producers and suppliers.

“Rather than open a fully-fledged restaurant, which we don’t think was the right thing to do, we thought this would be a great way to get involved.”

The pair have lived in Maidenhead with their children for nearly five years, and have been busy over the last few weeks getting the shop, at 26 Queen Street, ready for business.

In May, when lockdown restrictions are relaxed further, they also hope to open a few tables inside so Wesley can serve up some culinary delights.

To see more of what will be on offer, visit

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