Flash-grilled: Tommy Heaney

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tommy Heaney Heaney’s

Related tags: Chefs, Cardiff

The Irish chef left The Great House in Laleston earlier this year to focus on his eponymous restaurant in Cardiff.

What was your first job?
Kitchen porter.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Curry chips

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
Cornerstone. Tom Brown and I actually went to Hedone in Chiswick last year and had an amazing meal. I also have to give a mention to Lee Westcott at The Typing Room, I’m so happy to have eaten there before it closed.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do? 
That’s a tough one… I would probably be a jockey.

What is your biggest regret?
Changing my dessert in the finals of Great British Menu. Stick to what you believe in...

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs who think they’re too good to wash dishes and chefs that poke a hole in the clingfilm to get into a container. 

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
I once had an elderly women tell me the cured monkfish I made her was like an orgasm. She then went into detail about her orgasm. 

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Ellis Barrie’s mackerel fish course. That dish hit every spot of the brief and tasted incredible.

Describe your cooking style in three words?
Simple, tasty, humble.

Most overrated food?
I’m probably going to upset a lot of chefs here but I think truffle is massively overrated. I like it but it’s overrated for the price.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Tablecloths.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I had a shocker of a review on my first day at The Great House, it wasn’t even my menu and they had booked three months prior to me arriving.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
The Trotters at Nelson Mandela’s house… I would have loved to sit around that table.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Think of it as something you love doing not a job and learn from your mistakes. Don’t rush to get up the ladder and do as many stages as possible.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
That’s a tough one as you learn to adapt in any situation but I do love my Big Green Egg.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I don’t normally cook on my days off but I need to start! It’s never a simple dinner with me, an example being when I cooked the turkey last year in the rain on my Big Green Egg. 

What’s your earliest food memory? 
My granny used to make the best Irish stew, never used to unwrap the stock cubes though so you were always in for a surprise.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never be afraid to ask a question, no matter stupid you think it may sound.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I’ve had my fair share of motorbike accidents.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The pub, or like to play football.

Tipple of choice?
I’m a lager drinker but I do enjoy a vodka and lemonade or Southern Comfort.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
My granny’s Irish stew, with plenty of bread, brown sauce and stock cube wrappers.

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