Flash-grilled: Liam Dillon

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Liam Dillon chef-owner of The Boat Inn restaurant in Litchfield.

Related tags: Chef

Liam Dillon, who has previously worked for the likes of Marcus Wareing and Tom Sellers, is chef-owner of The Boat Inn in Litchfield.

What was your first job?
I had a paper round at an early age then, worked on a Go-kart track and stepped into a kitchen when I was 15/16 pot washing.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
A lot of Taramasalata & Crusty Tiger Bread - The worst thing to eat when I get home late at night or after a few beers!

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
When Staging in New York I ate at Momofuku Ko. My First experience of chefs serving while sat at a counter. I managed to get a seat at one of 14 spaces. Very intimate and i can remember every little part of it! 

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
So many people for different reasons but anyone that is grafting away behind the scenes with their head down, making their dreams come true. It’s a tough business to be in. If it was to be a name, most probably Heston. Taking the Fat Duck from a village pub to where it is today is incredible. In some ways a little similar to what I am trying to build here.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Racing driver.

What is your biggest regret?
Not spending more time with my family when I had the chance to.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Clumsiness or whistling.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
"You've ruined our Christmas!" - From what I can remember, the menu on the day was different to the website.

What’s the dish you wish you’d though of?
Snow Egg by Peter Gilmore (Quay Restaurant, Australia). I worked here and this dessert is ace, may have over indulged a few times!

Describe your cooking style in three words
British, modern and honest.

Most overrated food?
Avocado!

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Food bloggers!

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
A hand full of Trip Adviser reviews when I first bought the restaurant, from people that didn't want change, no matter what it was going to be.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
Past: my nana, she never got chance to see the restaurant.
Present: Anthony Joshua, he's an inspiration for anyone that wants to succeed. Surrounds himself with good people & comes across as very down to earth.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Learn the basics well, under someone that cares & put the hours in.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Cling film.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I rarely cook at home. Usually something simple like a stir fry or chilli etc.

What’s your earliest food memory?
My mum blended me and my sister's chicken dinner as we said we didn't want it, and she re-presented it as chicken soup. So bad!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don't give up. Cheesy, but it is so true. If it was easy everyone would do it. 

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
To me, not too close. I've wrote a couple of cars off at the same time, which wasn't the best. Strangest time was sitting next to my nana when she passed away. Anyone that has had the same experience will know its a very strange moment in time.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Head space is the hardest thing to get. Usually taking the dog for a late night walk.

Tipple of choice?
Takamaka & Coke (Rum distilled in the Seychelles, famous for their Vanilla plantations.)

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Roast aged sirloin of beef & all the trimmings, around the table with all my family.

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