Flash-grilled: Luke French

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled: Luke French

Related tags: Luke French, Jöro, Chef, Great british menu

The chef behind Jöro in Sheffield, who recently triumphed in the Great British Menu's North East and Yorkshire heat, on childhood memories of eating profiteroles and an unusual dessert-related customer request.

What was your first industry job?
I worked as a kitchen porter washing dishes and peeling spuds at The White Pheasant in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I’d be an artist! Traveling the world, never standing still.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
My wife, Stacey. She is mental - in the best possible way! I don’t know how she has the ability to manage as many things at once as she does. She inspires me and pushes me all day, every day to be better and better.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs being unorganised, messy and untidy.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Can I put magic mushrooms in their pudding. They genuinely had them ready for me to put in it too…

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Delicious - I cook what I love to eat, 100% ingredient and flavour driven, modern cooking inspired by East Asian flavours.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I had a guest sat on the kitchen bench a couple of years back. We were plating up some food for a table and he reached over and grabbed some food from one of the plates, so naturally I politely asked him not to do it again. He then began to angrily tell me his dad was a Michelin inspector and that I had just fu*ked up and he was going to report me, and that he was never going to come to our restaurant ever again! Probably why we haven’t got a star now I guess…

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A Thermomix.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Sunday roast - rib of beef and all the trimmings.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Ynyshir in Wales. Nowhere else comes close.

Favourite fast food joint?
McDonald’s.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Crispy shredded chilli beef.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu! 

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Dietary requirements, allergies and preferences… and miserable guests.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating profiteroles and drinking John Smiths Bitter under the table at my aunt and uncles wedding when I was a young kid.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I got swept out to sea by a riptide in Mexico a few years ago with my wife and we both almost drowned.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I go hiking in the hills of the Peak District. 

Tipple of choice?
Haha - I don’t drink alcohol anymore! But I do love a chamomile tea these days. It used to be an old fashioned, though.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Listen! And be willing to do the rubbish jobs before the fun ones… You have to start somewhere.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Chef

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