Flash-grilled: Dorian Janmaat

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled Dorian Janmaat head chef at The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel in Cornwall

Related tags: Chef

The head chef at The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel in Cornwall on his admiration of Raymond Blanc, the importance of chef development, and pairing oysters with Bloody Marys.

What was your first industry job?
I was lucky enough to get my first job working in a pizza restaurant – I started off washing dishes, then rolling out the dough, and eventually perfecting oven baking.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Being a bit of a petrol head, I’ve always loved motorsport, so in another world I’d most likely be rally driver or involved in motocross.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Raymond Blanc, purely because of his incredible work ethic and what he has done for our industry in pushing the boundaries of taste and food combinations. To hold two Michelin stars for over 35 years is a staggering achievement.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Unnecessary food wastage is definitely my pet hate, and when stock isn’t rotated properly that’s when it happens the most. I was always taught to use up all the ingredients you have first and then use the newer stuff later – it’s always worked for me and massively reduces wastage which can be a huge problem in the hospitality industry.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
The customer: "Excuse me was there a reason I didn’t have Christmas pudding for lunch today."
Me: "Yes madam, because you had the ‘Yule log’ and no one really likes Christmas pudding."

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
My cooking style is simple; it is produce driven and I use ingredients only when they’re in season and at their peak to ensure that every single dish I make has the optimum intensity and flair.  

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
It has to be the steak, although it was a complaint about quality rather than my cooking. But we learn from the negatives and focus on the many positives!

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
I like a large thick chopping board, once you’ve had the big ones you can’t go back! Also leaves room for your coffee.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
‘Spaghetti alle vongole’ - beautiful fresh clams with loads of garlic, chilli and parsley. And a glass of viognier!

À la carte or tasting menu?
I prefer an à la carte menu, you might have to think a bit harder but it’s a small joy in life going to a restaurant and choosing exactly what you want – it also means you can try other people’s dishes so you get a taste of everything.

Favourite fast food joint?
Wimpy’s… nah only joking. It’s a tough one. If I'm in American then it has to be In-N-Out.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
GBM of course… much more imaginative with the stories and props.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Ibiza – but not the party side. I love it for its beauty and unreal beaches.

Favourite food and drink pairing (the more obscure, the better)?
It’s got to be the classic jumbo oysters and a really spicy Bloody Mary, while hungover of course.

What do you consider your signature dish?
Has to be my brill with parsley farfalle, pickled girolles, bacon, sea herbs and aged parmesan velouté - so simple, but very very tasty.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Although working in a busy kitchen can often be a seen as a team profession, I think as a young chef it’s so important to focus on your own development, to always listen to your colleagues and learn, reflect and react well to feedback regardless of whether it’s good or bad. It’s also so important to work somewhere which values you and shares your work ethic. If you invest your time in them, they’ll invest their time in you.

Related topics: Chef, People, Restaurant

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