The Weekender Interview: Adam Reid

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Adam Reid The French interview

Related tags: Restaurants


Adam Reid took over from his former boss Simon Rogan at The French at the Midland Hotel in 2016. Since then he has pursued his own brand of modern British cooking. Reid appeared in the 2016 BBC2 Great British Menu series, and won a coveted place at a banquet at Westminster Palace to celebrate Great Britons of HM The Queen’s reign with his spectacular dessert – The Golden Empire.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
My son pulling a face.

What was your first job?
Working in a doughnut stall in the local shopping centre. I was 13 years old.

Gordon or Marco? 
Gordon. I’m not old enough for Marco.

What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
Sing. I was with my son. Honest…

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Bovril or spam. I’m not sure which is worse. 

Where are you going on your next holiday? 
Don’t know. We used to borrow a villa on the Algarve but they’ve rudely sold it now.

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
Simon Radley (executive chef at The Chester Grosvenor). He’s a very rare sight nowadays; someone who is not interested in fame or hype and is just happy to cook the food he wants to.

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do? 
Probably be a bin man or something… I wanted to be a footballer (obviously) but I was a keeper who grew to only 5’10, and couldn’t catch so there was no hope there.

Biggest regret?
I don’t have real regrets as there’s a positive to draw from 99% of situations. But I do wish I’d spent more time with my family when my son was born instead of working 18 hour days

Pet hate?
Dreamers.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
“That’s a nice carpet”.

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Never tried it. I love Bovril though.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Northern, hearty, simple.

What country do you next want to visit?
France.

Most overrated food?
Anything foraged.

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
A plan to support independent restaurants on the high street from ruthless and greedy landlords.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Just read the rubbish on TripAdvisor.

What made you want to become a chef?
I love food.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Tater ‘ash.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Persevere at what you want to do and don’t be tempted to flit from job to job because it’s the easier option. At some point in your life you’ll hit the wall and your future will be determined by how you react so don’t just give up.

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

iPhone or Android?
iPhone

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A French Congolese chef I worked with on my apprenticeship used to shout “organisation” in French constantly. He taught me that if you’re not organised you wouldn’t get anywhere.

What’s your earliest memory? 
Eating cheese and tomato quiche at nursery and then throwing up in the toy box.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I go running in the hills around my house.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram.

Tipple of choice?
Gin. Or an amaretto sour if I’m feeling flashy.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A roast chicken dinner (with a Yorkshire pudding!).

In conjunction with Alaska Seafood, Adam Reid will be doing a Q&A and cooking demo at our Restaurant Congress on 11 June. If you have a question for him about seafood sustainability and sourcing ask it here​.  

Related topics: People

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