What was your first industry job?
I was a bar back at the London Academy of Bartending – a legendary bar with an incredible team on Old Compton Street in Soho.
If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I’d be in bars. Drinks are my second love, just slightly behind food!
What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se. His technique and attention is second to none and I love the way he remains light-hearted and playful with his cooking. His restaurants manage to be approachable, yet without compromising on taste and quality.
What's your pet hate in the kitchen?
I hate mess. Organisation is key. Also cleaning as you go. I also don’t like when I’m not busy. I thrive under pressure. I want to feel it.
What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
‘Take me to the toilets or lose me forever!’
Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Intrepid Mexicana. Tigre Tacos is all about celebrating the Mexican influence on Southern California’s food culture. We want to capture the same free spirit culture and sun-kissed flavours of SC in the 70s, which you’ll see in dishes like our Camarones taco, made with grilled king prawns, habanero, and roasted pineapple salsa. It’s full of bold, exciting flavours that, with any luck, tastes nothing like you’ve tried before.
What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
‘That heat is dangerous.’ Which I guess means that they found the food too spicy.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
If, like me, you’re moving to another country, make sure to sort out your visa before applying for a job. Also just to be consistently excellent and put your all in when you’re in the kitchen.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A black sharpie and my fish grills!
What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Pescado Zarandeado (fish taco), with fish fresh from the Pacific, seasoned with a few charred serrano chillies.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Scrambled eggs with ketchup. I still make it when my family get together.
Twitter or Instagram?
The ‘gram for sure. We’re trying to build some momentum behind @tigretacos at the moment. Twitter has never really enticed me.
What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I used to be a pro taekwondo fighter, so I’ve been kicked in the head way more times than is good for me. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever actually come close to death though. Maybe when I tenderly massaged my first live Octopus.
Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
To a karaoke bar – give me anything by Tracy Chapman and I’ll bring the house down.
Tipple of choice?
Tigre’s ‘Tegroni’ - a tequila-based Negroni.
What's your favourite food and drink pairing?
It doesn’t get any better than our Baja fish taco with a mezcal-based Paloma. The flavours work really great together; the grapefruit in the Paloma cuts through the fattiness in the fish perfectly.