Chef of the Week: Alex Waldron, Sous Chef at The George Hotel in Lichfield

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been a Sous Chef for 5 months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I learnt my skills as a chef at college and on the job, where I believe you learn more. My passion for cooking came from watching my grandma cook Sunday dinner but on a Saturday to avoid any stress on Sunday when the family arrived!

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I enjoy the fast pace and adrenaline from serving customers and the feedback when you cook something people like and want to eat. It make you brim confidence.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
That’s a hard one to answer but I think every chef agrees flavour is key, so I’m going to say butter, salt and fresh thyme.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Every piece of equipment is necessary in the kitchen, but I can’t live without my knifes, they’ve been with me since day one and definitely got my monies worth.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I don’t tend to spot food trends as I like to make my own trends and I think the crazier the flavour combinations the better.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Common mistake I believe is confidence, a lot of chefs get knocked down but it takes a real man to get back up and show the world what they are made of .

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Favourite time of year is August, the colours of leaves and the warmth of different ingredients.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The dish I am most proud of is my vegetarian dish we have on the menu at the moment – sweet potato, pickled grapes, leeks and smoked paprika granola.

How do you come up with new dishes?
To create a new dish I do a spider diagram with the protein, and then we worked on starch dish, vegetables, and a sauce.

Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence is my old Head Chef Matt Davies. He believed in me when I was at my lowest point in a kitchen.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Michael O’Hare, Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White.

What is your favourite cookbook?
 Gordon Ramsay 3 stars.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Tom Brown at The Cornerstone.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Favourite restaurant has to be Cornerstone, which I can’t wait to visit.