What was your first job?
Commis chef at The Goring Hotel when I was 17. Long hours for next to no pay, but I loved every minute.
What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Kebabs. My favourites are Best Mangal and Kebab Kid.
What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
The Square when Philip Howard was there in 2002 - everything about the restaurant was amazing - service, food, ambience: the whole experience. It was the best cooking in London at that time.
What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Marco Pierre White. He made being a chef cool.
If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I'd be a gardener. I love my kitchen garden.
What is your biggest regret?
Not getting a job when I was about 21 at The Waterside Inn. I would have loved to have worked with Michel Roux. I was working at Quo Vadis at the time…
Pet hate in the kitchen?
What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Victoria Beckham asked me to cook her sashimi grade tuna well done.
What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
The roast dinner.
Describe your cooking style in three words
Classical, unfussy, instinctive.
Most overrated food?
Deconstructed anything - it's a load of bollocks.
Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Unfair comments on social media - a grumpy diner can break a restaurant with untrue and unkind words, based on their mood rather than their experience.
What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Michael Winner once said the orange juice he received wasn't freshly squeezed. It was: I squeezed the bloody oranges myself.
If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
Abramovich and Marco Pierre White. They are two of my heroes, and the conversation would be brilliant.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don't chase the money. Be prepared to listen.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
What do you cook at home on your days off?
Whatever takes my fancy: roast dinners, a lovely steak, anything grilled on my Big Green Egg. I cook hearty portions, but my wife normally eats all of it. We never have leftovers!
What’s your earliest food memory?
Making jam tarts with my mum's leftover pastry.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don't chase money. Hard work will be rewarded.
What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
When I was travelling in South Africa, I nearly drowned while body surfing on the Wild Coast. I was smashed up against rocks and thought my time was up.
Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Tipple of choice?
Pints of beer.
What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A roast chicken dinner.