By Deirdre Huston
Brighton’s loss is Hassocks’ gain. I’m not in The Purple Carrot for long before I realise just how much there is going on. Many years ago when Chris went travelling he was fascinated by the cafe culture he saw. The mixing of the generations (not just families going out) and the general feeling of bonhomie. Back in the late 80s, inspired by his travels around Israel, Chris made tentative attempts to start a Mediterranean style café in Brighton, but loans were not readily available and, sadly, Chris had to shelve his plans.
He put in a good few years working for the council but when redundancy created an opportunity for him to make a change, he was eager to rekindle his earlier ambitions. He accepted that he’d become rooted in Hassocks and found his first premises on the west side of the station where many of you will have sampled the excellent cheeseboards at book club or card evenings. When the lease at No 6 became available, Chris recognised its potential and the prominent corner location between high street and station is well suited to his vision for The Purple Carrot’s future.
The interior is light filled and relaxed. Customers wander in and out and Chris is quick to put people at their ease. As he talks to me, although he is diffident and self deprecating, his motivations soon shine through. Rather than bean counting, it’s a wish to create a community which is at the heart of his business plans. He elaborates: “I’ve always been drawn to dealing with a range of people of varying ages and backgrounds. I want them to be allowed to be able to take their time and enjoy their food and drink.” Chris has a real passion for the food side of things; the invention and experimentation, the getting people to try out new things.