What was your first job?
My first job was a kitchen porter in a local pub at the age of 15. After six months I was promoted to the chef’s assistant. I was tasked with peeling & chopping vegetables, passing sauces & plating up the starters on busy nights, it was great. I couldn’t believe my luck I got to do all those jobs and got paid £2.50 an hour, result!
What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
All things MEATliquor with Monkey fingers taking the top spot, infamous crispy chicken, hot sauce & blue cheese dressing... awesome!
What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
It was April 2011, a restaurant called Les Pres d’Eugenie, south west, France. The restaurant has held 3 Michelin stars since 1977, it’s a very special place. An experience and meal I will never forget.
What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Danny Meyer. He’s been one of the most successful and important restaurateurs in America’s dining scene over the last 30 years. He’s a true pioneer of all things hospitality.
If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Either an F1 driver or a wakeboarding instructor.
What is your biggest regret?
It’s my only regret; not following through with my initial career choice of being an architect, although I’m sure 7 years of further education would have broken me.
Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs with a lack of discipline, cutting corners and not following recipes.
What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Fancy coming to a crayfish party.
What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
It was a dish served during my time at Hibiscus (in its original location) Pain d’epice Emulsion with Foie Gras ice-cream. Pure genius.
Describe your cooking style in three words
Seasonal, bold and intelligent.
Most overrated food?
Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
I would ban hierarchy in the kitchen for the day and give the underdogs and juniors the chance to run the show. Its good to mix things up every now and then.
What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
The first kitchen I ever ran I received a brutal review from Fay Maschler. You can imagine (as a young 26-year-old cook) I was pretty devastated.
If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
I’d cook for Noel Gallagher with the hope that I could trade in the dinner for a few guitar lessons.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Work hard, enjoy what you do and travel the world.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
In my home kitchen we couldn’t live without a spice grinder, it’s such a versatile piece of equipment. It can also be used for small batches of pesto’s, gremolata, herb oils and of course grounding spices.
What do you cook at home on your days off?
Sadly, I don’t cook enough at home.