Flash-grilled: Will Devlin

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

©Food Story Media
©Food Story Media

Related tags: Will Devlin, The Small Holding, The Curlew, Chefs, Tripadvisor

The chef owner of The Small Holding in Kildown, Kent, and The Curlew in Bodiam, East Sussex, on dodgy Tripadvisor reviews, tasting menus and avocados.

What was your first industry job?
Washing up in a pub called The Star in Matfield.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I'd be a mechanic.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Dan Barber for what he’s doing at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
So many! Lack of communication, blunt knives, dirty floor. I could go on...

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Someone had lunch and at the end said, ‘I love it, but I don’t get it’. I didn’t know what to say!

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
The one-acre farm we have at The Small Holding dictates everything we serve and cook.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Tripadvisor review which complained about "£170 for peas and carrots" and that we had delusions of grandeur.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Keep your head down, work hard and listen.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Knives and a timer.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Pork ramen and dumplings.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu. Some people say tasting menus are dead, but I disagree.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Kadeau in Copenhagen.

Most overrated food?
Avocados. Without salt or vinaigrette, they’re just tasteless mush.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
"Are you okay there?". It means nothing to a guest and really winds me up.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I nearly died from a heart infection.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Profiles, Chef

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