Training cafe and kitchen on TKE Studio site in Margate to give Thanet’s young people route to employment

Anistasia, Lee and Harry Photo Parri Thomas (with thanks to Margate Mercury)

A training  café and  kitchen aimed at giving 18-24 year olds a path into employment is expected to open in Margate this October.

The Perfect Place To Grow is being created at the former Edwardian morgue building within Tracey Emin’s TKE Studio site in Victoria Road/Dane Road, and is the creation of Lee Coad, of seafood restaurants Angela’s and Dory’s, with  Harry Ryder from Bottega Caruso and Thanet youth worker Anistasia James.

The premises has been renovated and give over to the trio for free by artist and project patron Tracey Emin.

The ambition is not just to give experience on-site but also at farms, dairies, fishing boats and other parts of the supplier chain.

Lee, who first opened Angela’s in 2017 with Dory’s following two years later, said: “The idea is to come and work in the café but also get the opportunity to work on farms, fishing boats, breweries, dairies, all places you might not have access to working in as a young person but with the ability to inspire you into a career or employment.”

The Perfect Place to Grown will open in October Photo Frank Leppard

It’s a path that could help to combat the high youth unemployment rates in Thanet. Youth unemployment in Kent (18 to 24 year-olds) stood at 5.0%, just above the national rate of 4.8%, in May this year. However, Thanet has the second highest rate of youth unemployment in the South East at 9.4%, – equating to 865 young people- just below Hasting at 9.5%.

Lee said for young people who have been let down by traditional education and employment opportunities, it could be the project that fills the gap between “ no work and full-time employment.”

He added: “The focus is not on creating the next talented chef, the focus is using the food chain to inspire young people into employment. It is called The Perfect  Place to Grow because there is no set time limit. It could take four months to do the programme with us but if it takes eight months, then that’s fine.”

Learning will be through experience in hospitality and the food chain services, which are also both vital strands of Thanet’s tourism industry. That industry is one of the isle’s larger employment sources with figures for 2021 showing it accounted for 5,831 jobs or 14% of total employment in Thanet despite the impact of the covid pandemic. Tourism job numbers in pre-covid 2019 amounted to 8,664 roles.

Initially The Perfect Place To Grow will take on between 12-16 young people with the hope being they would gain employment within 12 months. An induction period of eight weeks will be followed by trainees receiving the Real Living Wage – currently £10.90 per hour.

Lee said: “Paying people to learn gives them the space to grow and find out what it is they want.”

Lee, Harry and Anistasia say one of the biggest challenges to staying in long-term employment, especially for young people, is the low pay offered by both apprenticeship schemes and some businesses.

The training café and kitchen will  have a team, including a head chef and personal development staff, and there will be available support helping with money management and improving basic Maths and English if needed.

The Perfect Place to Grow will be funded by the cafe which will be open to the public as well as private donations, trusts, charities and private donors.

Takeaway dishes and drinks will also be available and frozen meals will be created on site for low-income families in Thanet.

Lee says without the patronage from Tracey Emin the project could not have happened. He hopes it is a scheme that will be replicated by other businesses.


Tracey Emin said: “Always alongside good art there is good food. The regeneration of Margate isn’t just about the creative industries, but also the new restaurants and food providers, whether it’s homemade ice cream or Michelin star sustainable restaurants and new hotels.

“Margate is starting to prove itself with food and hospitality. ‘The perfect place to grow’ is hopefully going to facilitate lots of young people’s careers in that field. I have happily donated the building, and now it’s up to Lee from Dory’s and Harry from Bottega Caruso to work their magic.”

Planning permission is now granted for change of use of the former morgue building meaning preparation for the project can get underway.

Find The Perfect Place Place to Grow can be found online here

To make a donation for the scheme CLICK HERE.

If you would like to volunteer to help run the cafe email [email protected]

Artist Tracey Emin officially opens TKE Studios and residency project – and reveals plans to buy Westbrook Loggia



  1. Great initiative. As they say, the traditional local education suppliers in this sector aren’t solving the skills shortages we have in hospitality / catering so an innovative new approach is needed.

  2. Again Tracey Emin 👏 . I think she is now a 21st century Philanthropist. How fantastic for Margate . 👏👏👏

  3. Though I have little time for her art, that’s a personal choice ,well done to Tracey Emin,on this point

    • “An induction period of eight weeks will be followed by trainees receiving the Real Living Wage – currently £10.90 per hour.”
      Sounds a lot like free labour for an eight week period whilst picking up quite basic skills

  4. Good to hear. There is a shortage of catering staff so this is genuinely needed. Be good if they could set up a way to train the many part time cafe staff around the island who have no idea of: what the specials are, if they do non dairy, can I get the neal with or without certain things, where the tomato sauce is etc etc. painful at times and I know it’s the proprietors fault but a quick 2 hour training video or lesson would make a difference

  5. Fantastic project … will you be having a kitchen garden too… growing produce is so rewarding in so many ways.

  6. Great train the staff, the owners need training most cafes are a mess with no customer care, don’t blame the workers blame the so called management who think it’s easy money to be made and pay peanuts. And while we are at it why is the cafe near Bethesda being run through a hatch surely someone with a bit of get up and go could turn it into a proper cafe.

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