Chef of the Week: Alexandre Nicolas, Executive Chef at The Ivy in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I joined the team at The Ivy, West Street and The Club at The Ivy in August this year (2021) as Executive Chef.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I developed a passion for cooking and food in general after working alongside my father on a fruit and vegetable stall in the heart of Paris where I grew up.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love sharing my experiences and knowledge with my brigade, as well as discovering new recipes and produce. As a chef, you are constantly discovering new flavours, recipes and food trends.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Garlic, olive oil and fleur de sel.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My knife.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Veganism is still very much the trend of the moment.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
They grow too quickly. You need to learn, train and practice. It helps to have passionate mentors whilst learning and developing as a chef.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
It would have to be spring. I love the feeling of a new year starting; flowers are blooming and trees are growing.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Roasted wild sea bass, minestrone broth and basil.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Mostly from talking with people and gaining inspiration from that, but also from books, TV, markets and the food store.

Who was your greatest influence?
My mother.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Alain Ducasse, Alain Passard, Paul Bocuse.

What is your favourite cookbook?
There are too many of them to mention!

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Will Murray and Tom Booton.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
It would have to be Fallow Restaurant in Mayfair.