The Weekender Interview: Ross Gibbens

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ross Gibbens Wellbourne
Ross Gibbens oversees the food at Wellbourne restaurants in Bristol, London and the Alpine resort of Salardú. Prior to Wellborune he was the head chef of Dabbous and his CV also includes Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, The Square and Launceston Place.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
The kids. Standard.

What was your first job?
Helping my dad on Sundays in his sandwich bar. He introduced me to mandolins at an early age. I don’t think he liked me much.

Gordon or Marco? 
I’ve only ever met Gordon. When he ate at Dabbous he was really nice. He was huge around the time I started in kitchens. The face of the industry, I suppose. So I guess it’s got to be him. 
What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
Rouge One. Caught me off guard how good it was. 

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Pizza. It’s the go to for a night off with the mrs. 

Where are you going on your next holiday? 
Probably Spain. 

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
John Lawson from, Food by John Lawson, Leigh-on-sea. Go on his website, read his blog. The journey he’s been on and more importantly, the way he’s used it as his motivation to make a real change is really inspirational. We’ve known each other since we were 16 when we met at Westminster college. we worked at Le Manoir together. He’s a good man and a good friend. 

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do? 
I'd probably be in pubs. 

Biggest regret?
Not learning a second language when my brain was still able to absorb new information.  

Pet hate?
People that cut you off when you’re explaining something to them.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Have you got a younger more attractive brother?

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Love it. And if you ever get the chance, try ‘Sanitarium Marmite’ from New Zealand. 

Describe your cooking style in three words
Restrained, seasonal and light. 

What country do you next want to visit?
Japan, properly. I was 20 and broke when I went for a few days last time.

Most overrated food?
Crayfish. 

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
Finding a way of making our industry a recognised career path, not something you ‘end up in’. We need to do something as the outlook is pretty dire at the moment.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
The Guardian, after we opened in Clifton. It was hard as everyone had worked very hard and given their all, but if you can’t take criticism and learn from it, then you’re in the wrong game.

What made you want to become a chef?
My dad used being a chef as a tool to travel around the world when it was not as accessible and affordable, so I used to hear all these fun stories from him and thought, ‘I’ll have some of that”. I took a different route to him in the end, but I’ve certainly had fun along the way. 

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I don’t cook much at the moment as we tend to try and eat with the little ones, so it’s simple stuff with no, or very little,added seasoning. But if my girlfriend gets to pick, she’d have me cooking chicken tortillas every time, she’s a fiend.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Find someone who will give you as much of their time as you give them yours. I was very lucky to have two amazing head chefs in my early years and it sets you on your way. Work clean, work tidy, keep your head down, take notes and learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s a lot less damaging to your reputation than making them yourself.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My kitchen timer. 

iPhone or Android?
iPhone

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t finish your pint until the next one is in front of you.

What’s your earliest memory? 
Margate in the summer holidays with mum, dad my sister and my first taste of jellied eels. 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Bar Bavette in Bristol. Heaven 

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram. There's less reading. 

Tipple of choice?
Kaleidoscope pale ale by Wiper and True or chilled Brouilly. 

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A feast laid on by Andrew Wong. He’s a genius.  

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