“It’s about looking for what’s wrong, as well as what’s right. Trying to catch the thing that everyone else has missed,” says Jonny Glass, head chef at the two Michelin starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge.
And it’s perhaps this level of attention to detail that has seen the young chef climb the ranks within UK kitchens, becoming the right-hand man for executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts – and, of course, the eponymous and legendary Blumenthal ‒ and establishing himself as key to the London site’s ongoing success.
Dinner – which is six years old and undergoing “subtle” updates as part of the Mandarin Oriental’s wider refurbishment programme ‒ functions as a standalone operation, with an open kitchen, and impressive views over the famous park.
The site retained its two-star rating in the 2016 Michelin Guide for the UK & Ireland, and it’s clear that its consistency lies in large part to its brigade’s meticulous approach.
“It’s about trying to embrace repetition,” Glass explains. “It’s not about, ‘Argh, I’ve gotta do this job again’, it’s about, ‘Brilliant, I’ve done this job 10 times; this eleventh time, it’s going to be just a bit quicker, a little bit more exact, a little bit more precise.”
With famous dishes such as Blumenthal’s meat fruit parfait and liquid nitrogen ice cream still drawing crowds in, it’s this continual driving for standards, even among the classic recipes, that helps to keep Dinner’s reputation intact.
In our interview at The Restaurant Show late last year – where he appeared with Palmer Watts in a dish demonstration ‒ Glass shares his tips for success, and reveals the best bit of advice he ever received as a young chef.