Flash-grilled: Gary Usher

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with chef and Elite Bistros founder Gary Usher

Related tags: Gary usher, Restaurant, Chef, crowdfunding

Elite Bistros founder Gary Usher has crowdfunded more than £400,000 to launch restaurants including the recently opened Kala in Manchester. Earlier this week, a documentary charting the chef’s bid to open his Pinion restaurant in Prescot aired on Channel 4.

What was your first job?
A paper round.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Anything from Costa drive through.

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
I thought the Fordwich Arms was incredible.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
Richard Sharples, Elite Bistros’ Executive Chef because he’s the best example of a man I know. He adores his wife, son and dog. He’s talented, level headed and a perfect role model for everyone at Elite Bistros. Calum Franklin for very similar reasons.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do? 
I can’t do anything else.

What is your biggest regret?
Not telling more people to fuck off!

Pet hate in the kitchen?
C**ts that walk around pointing at prep saying “that’s two star that is”.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Someone once told me I remind them of Ainsley Harriot.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?

Describe your cooking style in three words
Basic bistro grub.

Most overrated food?
All of it.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
The word soigné.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Someone gave Sticky Walnut a one-star Google review because they said it didn’t look very nice when they drove past.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
I don’t want to cook for anyone, let alone someone I look up to.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Only work for people you respect. Then respect them and do every fucking thing you can to make them proud of you.

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

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Chicken! If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already have known that.

What’s your earliest food memory? 
Honestly, not a clue.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
As above.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
There have been quite a few, but the two most memorable that I can share are once a guy tried to kill himself by driving head on into me; the second was a speedboat crash where the boat I was on drove straight into another.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I started snowboarding last year. It’s the first interest other than food that I’ve ever had, and I quite like it.

Tipple of choice?
Stella but I’m not a LAD. I just like it, but I don’t have 10, just one or two.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Stop nicking my questions.

Related topics: Chef, People, Profiles, Restaurant

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