Flash-grilled: Meg Greenacre

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Meg Greenacre group head chef at vegan restaurant group Erpingham House

Related tags: Meg Greenacre, Erpingham House, Restaurant, Vegan, Plant-based

The group head chef at vegan restaurant group Erpingham House on her respect for Michel Roux Jr, a disastrous dessert incident, and why she'd ban animal products.

What was your first industry job?
Relish, a fine dining restaurant in Norfolk, with the brilliant head chef Jeremy Parke as my mentor.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I can’t imagine not working around food. I love photography and capturing special moments, so I think it would have to be a food photographer.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Michel Roux Jr. I grew up watching his programs on the TV and especially loved his passion to mentor young chefs into the industry.

What's your pet hate in the kitchen?
Wastage. I hate to see items get thrown away that can be used.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
“I want to book a table, but my girlfriend is allergic to vegan food…”

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Vibrant dishes showcasing texture and flavour with local, seasonal produce.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
We had an affogato dessert on the menu with a hot coffee syrup poured onto a chocolate dome at the table. During service one day a bottle of BBQ sauce split, so one of my chefs put it in a container that looked the same as the ones we used for the coffee syrup (I’m sure you can see where this is going!). The two containers got mixed up and a customer ended up getting hot BBQ sauce poured over their dessert.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Ask questions to know why you are doing certain things to understand, watch, listen, and learn as much as possible.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A spoon. Taste, taste, taste.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Lasagne.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
I like them both for different reasons. The finesse and creativity on the Great British Menu is inspiring, but I love to see people on MasterChef who aren’t in this industry take an interest in food and have encouragement to learn.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Animal products, to allow people to give vegan food the chance it deserves.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Standing on a stool from the age of three, to reach the kitchen counter, baking with my mum and nanny.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Using king oyster mushroom to represent scallops. Genius.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram – I love how the photos are the focus.

What do you consider your signature dish?
My ‘Celebration of Cauliflower’ dish. Especially as it represents my minimal wastage ethic and use of local produce. Its made with roasted florets, shallot and cauliflower puree, shaved florets, crispy capers, chimichurri, braised leaves, charred shallot petals, and parsley oil

Related topics: Chef, People, Profiles

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