June 17, 2024 • • 5 min read

Pride 2024: Celebrating Every Flavour - Smashing Plates

We caught up with Smashing Plates founder Neofytos Christodoulou to talk about what Pride means to him.

Tell us about yourself and Smashing Plates!

I was born and raised in Cyprus and have lived in the UK for the past 20 years!  Growing up, food has always been a key family moment for me and one of the things I missed the most about being away from home. Witnessing the food revolution unfold in London’s bustling markets made me want to put Greek food on the ever-growing food map as a quality alternative to mainstream grab & go offerings.

That’s why I founded Smashing Plates, to celebrate Greek food while making noise about three things that I really care about: People, the community and the planet - with food being the common denominator!  Whilst we’re giving a nod to our heritage with souvlaki and gyros, everything’s made with the best ingredients we can get hold of, and a super fresh take. We offer an all-inclusive menu with rotating seasonal specials.


Neofytos and his London events team

What does Pride mean to you, and how do you celebrate Pride? 

Pride is a celebration of self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride in one’s own identity. It’s also a time to remember the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, not only the progress made, but how much more can still be done in terms of human rights especially in some parts of the world.

This year is a special one as we've got a stall at London pride, so I can celebrate with members of my team and the crowd joining!

How can companies create inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ employees?

Companies can create inclusive environments by implementing non-discrimination policies, supporting LGBTQ+ employee resource groups, providing diversity and sensitivity training, and ensuring equitable benefits for all employees. 

How can people be the best allies for the LGBTQ+ community, both in and outside of the workplace?

Allies can support the LGBTQ+ community by educating themselves on LGBTQ+ issues, speaking up against discrimination, participating in events, and respecting people’s pronouns and identities. A lot of times, non-queer people don’t realise that being silent or ignorant can have such a big impact in someone’s life but that comes with having more representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media.

Do you have advice for other LGBTQ+ people that want to start their own company?

Be true to your vision and values. Seek out mentors and networks that support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, and don’t be afraid to highlight your unique perspective as a strength in your business plan. Growing up feeling different can be detrimental for someone’s confidence as they can sometimes justify or overcompensate for things at work. Embrace your uniqueness and learn as you go - everyone makes a LOT of mistakes along the way.

A lot has already been done to make workplaces more inclusive, but there’s still a long way to go. Are there any specific changes you would like to see? 

Workplaces can continue to improve by regularly reviewing their policies, listening to LGBTQ+ employees, providing ongoing education and training, and fostering a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves. I think hospitality attracts a very wide demographic, a lot of immigrants with very diverse backgrounds and experiences. It would be amazing to see more happening at the frontline and not just at the corporate level.

Are there any organisations, charities or groups that you would recommend getting involved in?

There are many organizations that do great work for the LGBTQ+ community. Stonewall being the largest LGBTQ+ in the UK and even Europe has great reach but I would also recommend Akt who does great work with LGBTQ+ young people who are experiencing homelessness - we partnered with them last year during Pride.

Although we have come such a long way, research from Stonewall Housing shows that almost one in five LGBTQ people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Rates are even higher amongst trans people, with 25% having experienced homelessness at some point.