Stem + Glory’s Head Chef Gemma Doherty

Stem + Glory’s Head Chef Gemma Doherty

By Louise Palmer-Masterton, Founder of Stem + Glory

My business has grown alongside my children so, for me, the two have always been inseparable. In fact, the children have played a huge part in how the business has grown and developed.

Running my own business has allowed me to be there for my children and, more importantly, has allowed our family to be much more whole. We are all involved in all of it. There is no ‘mummy going to work’ scenario.

The children have been very involved in the business through their entire lives, and my eldest, now 13, works on Saturdays in one of our cafes as does her best friend. Creating opportunities for them to develop and grow is fantastic. I consider it my greatest gift to my children if they can enter the adult world knowing how to conduct themselves - in employment, with people, in public.

Believe it or not, I also involve my children in my business decisions and have done from an early age. Children are very good at seeing things clearly, so they are as much my advisors as the rest of my team. As they are 40 years younger than me, their life experience is quite different. I love hearing how they talk, how they do social media, seeing the things they like and listening to them talk with their friends.

It can get a bit hectic on the home front sometimes, but we have rules; I am always there for my children when they come home from school and we always have a family day on Sundays when we all put our electronics away and do normal stuff.

People often ask me how I manage to do so much - family, multiple businesses, cooking (I am always in the kitchen). One of my biggest tools is meditation. I honestly believe that we all have enormous capacity for achieving all of it, but the secret lies in concentration.

If you concentrate on the thing you are doing right now rather than frittering away your brain power flitting around then it is really kind of easy.

For example; now I am with my children so I give them my focus. Then I am doing the shopping, so I give that my full focus. And so on. It is basically a day-to-day meditation technique. Just focus on what you are doing in any given moment. Taking this approach also immediately highlights when you are going too fast, or if stress creeps in. I can literally feel my brain starting to flit around. So I rein it back in using the same simple meditation technique.

Just focus on what you are doing in any given moment. If you get distracted, just bring your attention back. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

For me everything is about passion. The businesses I have run I have been compelled to do. My current business, Stem + Glory, is a vegan restaurant brand, coming from my own 35 year personal story with plant based cuisine. So if you are thinking about business - always follow your passion.

With Stem + Glory, I had spent 35 years trying to find a decent vegan restaurant so it became increasingly obvious there was a huge gap in the market and, as the movement grew, the opportunity arose to test this out, so I did. But it was the passion to share plant based eating with the rest of the world that compelled me to take my ideas to trial.

With any business you need a USP. With Stem + Glory it is ‘delicious’ and is based on my experience of trying to find decent vegan food. I knew that it was all too often rather bland and boring so we could provide exciting and delicious plant based foods, we kind of knew we would be on to a winner!

Looking back at my life, what has always motivated me in business is kindness and community. One kind word can change an entire day. So yes, you get delicious food, but also kindness and community are in evidence at Stem + Glory and an important part of our offering. Community is of course hugely important in Crowdfunding terms. Taking a ‘product’ and turning it into a lifestyle trend is what works best in Crowdfunding terms. Of course it helps if your product is already a lifestyle trend as it was in our case.

Even if you don’t have a pre-existing Crowd, before you launch a campaign, you can build one if you:

  • Identify your passion

  • Find your USP and

  • Identify what it has that IS a lifestyle trend and then do your marketing

Do not launch a Crowdfund without building traction first. Build a Crowd, excite them and then launch your Crowdfund.

Stem + Glory have two restaurant locations in Cambridge and are currently Crowdfunding for a third in London at

About The Author

Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurant Stem + Glory; a hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurant, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredient 100% made on site. Stem + Glory offers all day casual fine dining, fast breakfast, brunch and lunch, juices, smoothies and great coffee. All available to eat in or take away. Stem + Glory also offers mouth-watering and hugely popular tasting menu evenings and special event menus. The restaurants have an extensive vegan bar, offering the best craft beers and fine wines, alongside cocktails, mocktails and smart drinks.

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