The Weekender Interview: Will Bowlby

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Will Bowlby Kricket

Related tags: Restaurants, Indian cuisine

Will Bowlby is the co-founder of two (soon to be three) strong modern Indian restaurant group Kricket. His cooking CV includes Le Café Anglais and the Cinnamon Kitchen.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
A selfie of my friend, who realised I’m clueless when it comes to technologically so uploaded a picture of his face - it now stares at me every time I open my phone.

What was your first job?
Other than being a waiter, my first proper job was in my local pub. I started as a KP before working my way up to the bar and then pastry section. 

Gordon or Marco? 
Marco.

What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
I can’t remember I’m afraid. I rarely have time to go to the cinema.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure? 
Chip sandwiches. 

Where are you going on your next holiday? 
Ibiza, for my sister’s wedding.

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
I admire Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. Whenever I’m in any of their restaurants at least one of them is there. Chef-wise, Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann.

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do? 
Maybe in art… certainly not in an office.

Biggest regret?
Not making more of my time in India, which may sound odd. One can get complacent living abroad.

Pet hate?
People standing on the wrong side of the escalator.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Probably the first time I was asked to cook off-menu at my restaurant in Mumbai. The order was for a mushroom risotto, but with no mushrooms, and pink sauce with veg. I genuinely had no idea what that meant.

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Love it.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Simple, seasonal and tasty.

What country do you next want to visit?
Mexico.

Most overrated food?
Greek.

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
Customer role reversal. Swap the staff with the customers and let them experience what exactly goes into every dish that is served. From first thing in the morning until close.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Probably something from TripAdvisor, or Google. There’s always someone out to get you.

What made you want to become a chef?
Seeing Jamie Oliver on the TV when I was about 10.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Usually pasta or steak. Something substantial and easy that gives me energy.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Throw yourself at everything, say yes to everything put in front of you. At least to begin with. The right attitude can get you a long way.

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

iPhone or Android?
iPhone. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
In terms of work, my first boss Rowley Leigh told me how to maintain respect from those below me when I went to him for advice before moving to India. I was a 24-year old about to manage a kitchen of 20. He taught me about the line between fairness and respect and having fun with your staff.

What’s your earliest memory? 
A family holiday in Kenya when I was about five.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
To properly relax, the countryside. To chill, at home in Sussex. For fun, my friend's house in Norfolk. 

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram. I don’t bother with twitter. Twitter, it seems to me, is just another platform for people to moan from.

Tipple of choice?
Gin & tonic.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
The best rib of beef you can buy. With strong horseradish, potatoes and greens.

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