Chef of the Week – Andrew Minto, Head Chef at Gin & Bake in Cardiff

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been at Gin & Bake at Gin & Bake for two years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I have always loved cooking for as long as I can remember and wanted to be a chef from around 11 years old. I went to what’s now known as Coleg Y Cymoedd.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love the creativity, it’s like being an artist and the food is my paint.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Sugar, chocolate and butter! The different things you can make with those 3 ingredients are endless.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Thermomix, it does everything! It’s like having another chef in the kitchen.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Street food has become so popular in the last few years, with Covid forcing people to eat outside it has become the norm, and with chefs who want to go it alone without a big restaurant it’s the best place to find amazing food.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Definitely summer, fresh British berries are incredible and make such great desserts.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Probably one of the dishes we made for the Bake Off: The Professionals final. And if I had to pick one it would be the lychee, raspberry and pistachio petit gateau.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I look everywhere for inspiration, at how I can use different ingredients in new and exciting ways, to art for plating inspiration.

Who was your greatest influence?
Probably one of my greatest influences is my Bake-Off team mate Michael Coggan, he taught me so much and even though we don’t work together any more he’s still my go to guy for any questions I have.

Tell us three chefs you admire

  1. Amaury Guichon, his pastry creations are out of this world!
  2. Gordon Ramsay has always been my favourite chef, I love going to London to visit his different restaurants.
  3. Gareth Ward from Ynyshir, his food was the best I’ve ever eaten.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Harold McGee Food and Cooking, it’s more of the science behind cooking which I find so interesting.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I think it’s a little over a year but SY23, I’ve eaten there twice and the food both times has been incredible.