Flash-grilled: Gareth Stevenson

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled Gareth Stevenson head chef at Palé Hall Hotel & Restaurant in Wales

Related tags: Chef

The head chef at Palé Hall Hotel & Restaurant in Wales on his first industry job, his signature dish, and why Michael Caines is the industry figure he most admires.

What was your first industry job?
Does McDonald’s count? I worked there in high school. If not, a little hotel by the border with England called Northop Hall. The head chef got on with my uncle who was a gardener there and gave me a chance.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Not something office based. I like animals so maybe a zoo keeper.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Michael Caines. A phenomenal chef, and great mentor. He has had to overcome a lot of adversity, and his achievements speak for themselves. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Clock watching. It won’t make your day go any quicker. So just concentrate on your job.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
A customer once complained that the crème brûlée was “just like a set custard”.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Flavourful, seasonal and ingredient led.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Someone accused me of trying to kill her child once as I had seasoned the mashed potato she had ordered (which I was completely unaware was for a child).

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t try and race up the ladder. Take your time, get the best grounding possible. It takes longer, but it pays off in the long run.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without? 
Aside from my knives, probably the vita prep.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
It would either be a dry aged steak, pont neuf, onion rings and bernaise, or something simple, like my mum’s lamb shank, mashed potato and cabbage.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay sets the standard for me.

Most overrated food?
Fillet steak.

Twitter or Instagram?
Depends on usage. For interaction, Twitter, for inspiration and keeping an eye on what’s current, Instagram.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I've had several car crashes.

Tipple of choice?
Either a good Belgian Trappist witbier like St Bernardus, or a whisky.

What do you consider your signature dish?
Welsh Black beef sirloin, pommel Anna, hen of the woods, spinach and parmesan puree and an ox cheek Bordelaise sauce.

Related topics: Chef

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