Chef of the Week: Andy Brooks – Head Chef at Backwell House, Nr Bristol

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been at Backwell House for 6 months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came from childhood, from a very young age I was drawn to the kitchen. I served my apprenticeship between a family owned French restaurant in my local village and Weston College.

What do you enjoy most being a chef?
I love the buzz you get from a busy service and that feel good factor when all has gone well, and your food is well received.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without?
Maldon sea salt, Butter and Garlic.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Thermomix, also love my portable induction hob.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Using less elements on our plates, refining classical dishes.

What you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Over complicating dishes and not investing enough time and energy in the development of our young chefs of the future

What is your favourite time of the year for food, and why?
Autumn-Winter. Because of my love of game, mushroom and hearty vegetables.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I take immense pride in every dish I produce, but if I have to single something out, I would say my Thai food, working alongside an amazing Thai chef in Asia was absolutely mind blowing.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Using seasonal ingredients and inspiration from many services. I love reading books, dining out in good restaurants and most of all I’d like to get my team involved. Sometimes ill just write things down that pop up in my head and will use three months later.

Who was your greatest influence?
My first ever Head Chef Alain, starting out in catering industry can be make or break, but this guy always put his arms around your shoulder and will tell you how good you are.

Tell us three chefs you admire?
Michael Caines, Nathan Outlaw, and Sat Bains

What is your favourite cookbook?
Too many to choose from, I take something out of every cookbook that I read.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Root in Bristol.