Flash-grilled: James Toth

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The head chef of Cornerstone restaurant James Toth

Related tags: James Toth, Cornerstone, Restaurant, Fine dining

The head chef of Cornerstone in Hackney Wick on liking the limelight, hating negativity and a memorable meal at The Ledbury.

What was your first industry job?
I was 14 and I worked as a Kitchen Porter at Woodside conference centre where my Dad was the operations director.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I'd like to think I'd be performing in the West End, front and centre with the spotlight on me.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
There are so many amazing chefs to admire it's hard to choose one. But if I had to, it’d probably be Marco Pierre White, who is a legend.

What's your pet hate in the kitchen?
Negativity. Always work with a smile on your face.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Can I have your number? Well actually, its not that odd! Lol.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Seasonal classics with a contemporary style

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I haven’t had any yet. Fingers crossed!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Make sure you are 100% dedicated to making it a career as it's hard work and the days are very long. You really have to be committed.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A spoon for tasting.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Chicken liver parfait with red onion marmalade on a slice of toasted brioche followed by my dad's spab Bol with extra parmesan and a steamed sponge pudding with Ambrosia custard for dessert.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
The meal I had The Ledbury. An unforgettable course was suckling pig cheek, hen of the woods, potato emulsion and rosemary. It was unreal.

What's your favourite fast food joint?
McDonald’s without a doubt.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
David Attenborough, Peter Crouch, Dave Chappelle, Whitney Houston and Sir Ian McKellen dressed as Gandalf.

Twitter or Instagram?


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