Flash-grilled: Shay Cooper

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Shay Cooper chef-patron of Julie’s in London's Holland Park

Related tags: Chef

The chef-patron of Julie’s in London's Holland Park on his admiration for Joël Robuchon, being reviewed by Jan Moir, and nearly choking to death on a piece of bacon.

What was your first industry job?
Glass collecting part time after school in a local pub.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Preferably something in the field of design.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Joël Robuchon, an absolute class act who stayed at the very top of his profession right up until his death.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Refined neighbourhood comfort food.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Jan Moir once reviewed me for The Telegraph ​- she stated that the menu looked as though it had been put together by a slacked jawed, bandana sporting chef with a vacant look in his eyes staring at the dry stores for inspiration.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Blast chiller.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Fresh scallops and langoustines cooked in garlic butter.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte.

Favourite fast food joint?

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
French onion soup.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
I would impose fines on and blacklist 'no shows'.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?

What’s your earliest food memory?
I remember eating banana sandwiches on a sunny day at Chester zoo when I was two or three years old.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I once almost choked to death on a piece of bacon. My wife saved my life in front of my son who was one year old at the time. We often talk about it.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Work hard, don’t blame, don’t complain, bring a 'can do' attitude and your managers/ employers will really value you.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Profiles, Chef

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