Chef of the Week: Adam Ashley, Head Chef at The Wife of Bath in Kent

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been working at The Wife of Bath for about 2 ½ years now.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I always liked cooking from an early age and cooking with family when I was younger. I took an apprenticeship and learnt my skills on the job, starting in a 3AA rosette restaurant near London.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The creativity and being able to create new dishes. Especially when a new ingredient has just come into season, you want to get it on your menu as soon as possible.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Onions, garlic and salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My knives, I use Wusthofs at the moment, they are a favourite of mine.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Veganism, the amount of people that are now vegan has risen dramatically. We have a vegan menu available too, so we can cater for them.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Normally over complicating dishes. More complicated dishes sometimes aren’t better than the simplest ones.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring, it when all the new ingredients start after a long winter. Wild garlic, asparagus and Jersey Royals are some of my favourite ingredients.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The rabbit and chorizo dish, it is one that has been on our menu since we opened and has became a staple. It looks simple on presentation but has amazing flavour combinations.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I always look at the seasons and see what new fruit, vegetables, fish or meats are coming into season and I would start planning my new dish ideas from there.

Who was your greatest influence?
My fiancée she inspires me on a daily basis.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Mark Sargeant, Jason Atherton amd Claude Bosi.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Midsummer House by Daniel Clifford and Pollen Street by Jason Atherton.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Lucas Selby, Adam Handling and Tommy Banks.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Cornerstone by Tom Brown.