Flash-grilled: Gary Foulkes

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Angler restaurant executive chef Gary Foulkes

Related tags: Chef, Restaurant, Hotel, London, Fine dining

Gary Foulkes is executive chef at the Michelin-starred Angler restaurant, at the top of the South Place Hotel.

What was your first job?
I was a commis chef on the weekends at the Chester Grosvenor.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
I love instant noodles.

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
El Bulli, it was just outstanding.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Jason Atherton; I think what he has achieved is remarkable.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Play more tennis.

What is your biggest regret?
I should have bought a villa that I found in Ibiza a few years ago, but decided against it at the time.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs with blunt knives; it drives me crazy.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
A woman told me that food that was in front of her was the worst plate of food she had ever had put in front of her, as she collapsed into it drunk.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Knickerbocker glory, for the name alone!

Describe your cooking style in three words
Clean, light, and precise.

Most overrated food?
Risotto. It’s essentially either undercooked or overcooked rice, depending on who’s cooking.

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

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I haven’t really had a really bad one (yet) apart from the drunk lady that I just mentioned.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
It would be my grandparents. I never got around to doing it before they passed away.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Go into the best kitchen that you can; somewhere you will learn. Always listen and keep your eyes open.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A Rational combi oven or a Vitaprep blender.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I try to avoid it to be honest, although pasta or a Sunday roast is probably what I do most frequently.

What’s your earliest food memory?
My grandad making minced beef and boiled potatoes

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never eat or drink anything fluorescent!

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Caving in the Philippines a few years back in a pair flip flops; it was closer than I ever want to experience again without actually dying!

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The Golden Heart on Commercial Street.

Tipple of choice?
Fresh orange juice or Beer Laos.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Thai food; I love it!

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