We had a coffee with health food and fitness entrepreneur Brian Lee from Chopped just minutes before he opened the doors to his new Fairview premises.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Loves taking risks.
What is the story behind Chopped?
Well we opened the first restaurant on Baggot Street in 2012 and that month I started looking into opening a second. I invested in a Londis years ago but it wasn’t a place where I’d be happy eating. The food was low grade. I wanted to have a place that I’d actually be happy to eat. That’s what Chopped is. It’s a place where I can literally get every meal of the day and have over 1 million variations of dish, all without worrying if the food is fresh or not.
Who is your typical clientele?
Literally anyone who wants to stay healthy, or start being healthy. We have a gym upstairs and the guys all come down after their workouts and get their food for the day.
What is the next step for you?
I’m going to open 2 new premises. I can’t say where exactly but one in the city centre and one outside Dublin. We’re looking into franchising. And there might be a top Irish athlete involved too.
We know you’re a health guy, what does your training consist of?
I normally train 6 days a week. Sometimes 2-a-days. So I’d do aerobic and anaerobic. Strength and conditioning, maybe technique in the evening. I still train in MMA. I might be competing in an amateur fight in the next month or two.
What would you tell a 15 year old who wanted to be like you?
Stay in school. Get your leaving cert. If you’re entrepreneurial then start young. You won’t have anything to lose. You won’t have a mortgage and kids. You can make mistakes and bounce back.
What books do you recommend the most?
I recommend people to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I read that when I was 16. I used to get 20k loans and just let the money sit there and then pay it back. My credit rating shot up and I bought my first house at 19. I learned that from the book.
What are you reading at the moment?
I love autobiographies. I recently read Anyone Can Do It by Duncan Bannatyne. I also really like Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson and What You See Is What You Get by Sir Alan Sugar.
What is your favourite TV program at the moment?
It’s got to be Game of Thrones!
Finally, McGregor or Jose Aldo?
Haha, McGregor… 3rd Round Knockout!
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